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Can Chester-based businesses really afford to ignore apprenticeships?

Are apprenticeships and work-based training the answer to help address the skills shortage and reduce the amount of money organisations are forking out for recruitment?

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The UK is currently suffering from a skills shortage across a range of industries, but while that might sound like bad news for employers, it’s great news for savvy businesses who are prepared to take advantage of apprenticeships.

According to a recent report commissioned by The Open University. the majority of organisations in the UK (91%) struggled to find workers with the right skills over the past 12 months – costing organisations £6.3 billion in longer recruitment costs and processes.


Is Apprenticeships and Work-based training the answer to the skills shortage?

Apprenticeships and work-based training could well be the answer to help to increase the skills available in the workforce. According to the Learners and Apprentices Survey 2018 the benefits that businesses who have taken on an apprentice cannot be underestimated.

  • 78% of employers that hired an apprentice reported improved productivity
  • 65% recognise the new ideas apprentices bring to their organisation
  • 83% would also recommend apprentices to other businesses


The changing face of apprenticeships

Apprenticeships have evolved significantly over the last few years. They are not just for school leavers or those in labour-intensive roles. Today, an apprentice can be any age and there are hundreds of apprenticeships to choose from across a huge range of sectors, from digital marketing and customer service through to textile care. Courses also start from Level 2 and go right up to Level 7 which is degree level.


Apprenticeship affordability

If your business has an annual wage bill of less than £3m then you do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy. The government have recently increased their ‘co-investment’ with smaller businesses to 95%, making apprenticeships an affordable way to upskill staff and stand out from the competition.  This means, for example that an apprenticeship course (Business Administration Level 2) costing £2000 will cost employers just £100.

The apprenticeship levy applies to both public and private employers across all sectors with a payroll bill in excess of £3 million a year, and set at a rate of 0.5 per cent of the total payroll. Each employer receives £15,000 to offset their levy payment.  It is important for levy paying organisations to take advantage of these funds they are already paying. That’s why we work closely with levy-paying companies to help maximise their levy and tailor an apprenticeship programme that will utilise these funds and develop and upskill your workforce.


It is crucial that organisations take a more sustainable approach, using training to address their skills gaps from within and reducing their recruitment spend in the long-term. Contact our expert Apprenticeship team today to find out how we can implement a cost-effective apprenticeship training package for your business.

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