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Garnering value from levy funds

Steve Barker

As the government confirm a further £90 million levy funding for businesses, leading education and training specialist, Seetec, implore businesses to use their extra funds wisely. Contributor Director Steve Barker, Director – Seetec.

With an estimated 92 percent* of total levy funds remaining unspent across UK businesses, Chancellor Philip Hammond recently announced that there will be a further £90 million injected in to apprenticeship levy funding, and they will also be allowing employers to transfer up to 25 percent of their annual training fund to another business in their supply chain from April 2019.

The Chancellor also announced a further £5 million would be given to the Institute for Apprenticeships to help introduce new standards in apprenticeships and update existing ones in order to offer more courses to potential learners.

While a large portion of the government’s levy fund has remained unspent, companies who are using the levy are spending their funds on training, and are shown to be spending higher on certain programmes, such as Leadership and Management courses over a long period, as opposed to funding other learner courses with less demand. As a result, Seetec plan to look to the future to help businesses when it comes to spending their levy allowance.

Whilst the levy may not have been utilised up to this point, Seetec want to stress the value of apprenticeships in the workplace, with some businesses seeing huge profits for the company long term. Employers want to see value for money. It’s not a case of spending funds on a scheme for the sake of it, businesses are wanting to spend more in order to get the most they can from the levy. Employers wanting to maximise their use of funding need to do their due diligence when it comes to finding a process that works for them’.

I’ve previously worked with a business who took on several apprentices. One of their projects as part of their course was to take part in an efficiency programme. By gaining knowledge and skills on the job, the team were able to look at the business model and spot ideas other employees didn’t have the time or resources to manage. Within one year of this programme, the company had profited an extra £300,000 simply from this one initiative brought in by the apprentices on the job. It goes to show the value this can bring to a business – a value some companies may not even realise they need in the first instance.”

Our three-pronged approach system has proven effective, but that there is no one size fits all for these schemes. It’s about finding what works for individual businesses and keeping an open mind: Firstly, Retention is a long-term advantage for existing talent. The levy encourages businesses to look at their development strategy, and keeping what you’ve got is always a good place to start over spending time and resources on recruitment. Replacing good quality people is detrimental to business, and a waste of valuable time that could be spent developing existing staff.

Secondly, we look at attraction – a company who takes time to develop and train their staff is ultimately more desirable than one who doesn’t to a candidate. Results are often lower staff turnover and more people wanting to be hired. Investing in people by offering better benefits and opportunities allows progression, for candidates and the business.

Finally,it’s opportunity. . When you’re paying bottom dollar, you get what you pay for. Instead of always employing minimum wage staff and replacing them, think of the marketplace. Good employers and employees are born out of development, fair benefits, training and giving the opportunity to grow.

Innovation, technology and creativity are key for apprenticeships, especially some of the newer ones on the market. For example, a digital marketing apprenticeship will need to be engaging and technology led, so they will have different requirements compared to a business admin course and other types of schemes on offer, so employers need to know what their learners need. At Seetec we want to know from employers where are they now, what do they understand about apprenticeships and how can we work together.

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