With the apprenticeship levy coming into play in in just a few days’ time, many organisations that might traditionally not have considered using apprentices are now trying to understand how to put an apprenticeship programme in place. And if you’re one of those organisations, it probably seems like a daunting task. Where do you start? How do you know what apprenticeships are available? What’s it all going to cost? How do you recover your apprenticeship levy? These are just some of the many questions asked by organisations as they attempt to begin the process. With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick guide to help you get your apprenticeship programme up and running.
Step 1 – Research and planning
The first step in the process is to estimate how much funding you will have available to you through the apprenticeship levy. Also at this stage, if you’re in HR – you may want to meet with other senior members of the leadership team to develop the organisation’s strategic objectives for the years in the context of apprenticeships. This will give you an idea of the kind of skills you need to be developing within the business. It’s also worth talking to department managers to discover skills and headcount gaps.
Step 2 – Building your programme
So now you have an idea of the budget available to you and the needs of the organisation, you can begin to research and choose the apprenticeship training to match those needs. Choosing an approved apprenticeship training provider is one of the steps you’ll need to take at this stage in the process. It’s always a good idea to choose an approved apprenticeship training provider that has a broad range of apprenticeships on offer rather than multiple, smaller, niche apprenticeship training providers. In doing so, you’ll have a single point of contact for all your apprenticeship needs and a partnership which offers your business greater flexibility as your apprenticeship programme grows. The provider must be on the new Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers.
Step 3 – Manage your levy finances
Your chosen apprenticeship training provider will help you ‘build out’ your apprenticeship programme. This is also the time to agree the fees you will pay your apprenticeship training provider. Once everything is ready on paper, you’ll need the funding to put it into action. Make sure your organisation is registered for a Digital Service Account. This is the account where your apprenticeship levy is paid into and it’s the account you’ll need to pay your approved apprenticeship training provider from. Once you’ve registered, you’ll be able to log in and view your current balance and forecast the funding which will be available to you in the future.
Step 4 – Recruit your apprentices
Now you have your apprenticeship programme ready and your funding in place, you’ll need to advertise your apprenticeship opportunities. Opportunities don’t just have to be for new, external candidates. You can offer apprenticeships up to your existing workforce as well. A good apprenticeship training provider will be able to help you promote these opportunities and be able to source potential apprenticeship candidates on your behalf.
Step 5 – Start your new apprenticeship contract
You’ve now done all of the hard work and your apprenticeship programme is set up. Your apprenticeship training partner should now, not only provide the training, but also provide you with progress reports and assessments of your new recruits. You’ll want to meet with your apprenticeship training partner regularly to discuss the progress of your programme and continue to plan for the organisation’s future apprenticeship requirements using the budget available in your apprenticeship levy digital service account.
Why use LCoAT?
The London College of Apprenticeship Training is a leading apprenticeship training provider. We offer a unique service and we’re able to provide you with the most comprehensive apprenticeship service available. We’ll work with you to provide an apprenticeship blueprint. A plan specially tailored to help you maximise the value you get from the apprenticeship levy. To learn more and to have your questions about the apprenticeship levy answered, contact us today on 020 3651 4747 or fill in this contact form and we’ll be in touch shortly.