6 March 2017 | Lori Douglas
The government's new apprenticeship levy, which comes into force next month, requires all employers in England with a pay bill of over £3 million each year to invest in apprenticeships, enabling UK investment in apprenticeships to double by 2020 from 2010 levels, to £2.5 billion.
Employers that pay the levy will be able to access funds for training in England through a new digital account.
The new training fund presents employers with a significant opportunity to create greater career potential for employees through lifelong learning, as it can be used to upskill existing workforces as well as to bring new apprentices into the business. However, the location of approved training providers and the inevitable productivity losses while employees are undertaking training could present challenges to FM businesses.
To overcome these challenges, the government should allow businesses to have greater flexibility in spending the available funds, using a small percentage for the various administration and management requirements and potentially employing additional apprentices to offset the productivity losses that will occur while employees are undergoing training.
A key requirement of the new fund is that each participant is 'upskilled', meaning that the training received must offer additional skills or qualifications to those that are already held, offering genuine lifelong learning opportunities for employees.
In addition, employers are required to focus on the skills necessary for the specific job role, concentrating on task-oriented knowledge and behaviour training, alongside more traditional academic or vocational qualifications
Lori Douglas is learning and development manager at Landmarc Support Services