Future Proof Your Business. Close Your Skill Gaps with an Apprenticeship.
Posted: August 21, 2018
Without a pool of top-quality talent to draw from, businesses of all sizes and across most sectors will struggle to expand, partly due to not being able to find the right talent to progress.
According to City & Guilds, 9/10 employers say that they struggle with skills gaps1. Major companies and unions have claimed that talent gaps across various sectors have been caused by a decline in apprenticeships. What’s more, with the very real possibility of the free movement of labour coming to an end through the UK’s exit from the EU, it’s never been more important to consider the benefits of investing in apprentices.
Apprenticeships are a great way to develop in-house talent to fill these gaps. Here’s just some of the reasons why:
How can the Apprenticeship Levy Help with Skills Gaps?
In April 2017, the government introduced the apprenticeship levy that requires employers with a payroll in excess of £3m per annum to spend 0.5% of their total wage bill on apprenticeship training. This has been put in place to improve both the quantity and quality of UK apprenticeships.
The levy is not just for a new apprentice hire. It can be used to close any skills gaps with your existing staff.
Whilst this won’t solve every problem, an influx of thousands more apprentices and upskilled talent each year will have a positive impact on most industries.
The key is for managers and other decision makers to make the most of the levy, by taking advantage of the funding available to boost skills, which will ultimately support businesses’ bottom line and improve their competitive position.
For Non-Levy Paying Businesses
Apprenticeships aren’t only open to those businesses with a £3m+ payroll. For businesses who fall under the levy paying cut off Government funding of up to 100% for the cost of the apprenticeship training may be available depending on the size of your organisation and the age of the individual undertaking the apprenticeship programme.
As a bare minimum the programme of training will be funded 90% by the Government meaning that the investment would be a contribution of 10% from you as an employer.
Additional incentives are in place for employers that work with apprentices in the 16-18 ag bracket. This incentive is £1000 to support the apprentice.
Traditionally apprenticeships were assumed to be for school leavers, weighted heavily towards the trades.
However, with the truly modern approach to apprenticeship and the extended reach both in delivery of apprenticeship standards and the removal of age restrictions this is no longer the case.
Adding to and improving on existing skill-sets can enable staff to work more quickly and accurately, so saving you money. Upskilling can see an increase in retained customers due to increased customer service delivered by your staff, which goes hand in hand with improved communication between staff and customers.
Giving staff better communication tools through training will encourage more participation which leads to them contributing more effectively.
Boost Staff Morale and Improve Retention
An area not to forget about when we talk about upskilling your existing workforce is motivation. If they feel that you are investing in them then they will naturally be more motivated. This can have a knock on effect with the existing team.
This feeling of accomplishment will feed into another benefit of upskilling; improved retention and engagement.
In fact, according to research engagement topped the list of topics causing the most concern for HR decision makers for the year ahead, with 44% saying it was their biggest hurdle. ²
With staff staying with you for longer, you also have the added benefit that your recruitment costs may be greatly diminished.
Don’t delay, take action today.
Ready to get started? Upskilling can add so much to your business, so don’t missing out.
To find out more, contact us and we can guide you through the process of using the apprentice levy strategically and add further value to your business.
2. Cascade Software: 2018 HR Landscape: What’s In Store?-->
Posted: August 15, 2018
It’s the morning of my birthday and I’m getting ready to go to Hathersage for a few days with my wife Tracey and 10-year-old son Isaac. Ping goes my phone and it’s a text message from the Director of Systems, Scott ‘give me a call mate – OFSTEDs coming Wednesday’.
PANIC! No. Luckily, we’re always good to go and after a little tidying & decluttering of the base room we are as ready as we’ll ever be.
We have a lead whose schedule is centre based and 3 inspectors who are centre based for half a day and out with learners for the remaining 2 days.
Day 1 started with management interviews and investigation of the main themes to clarify Eden’s perspective. These weren’t overly challenging as the lead kept to the themes and didn’t look to check across all of the common inspection framework – this being the main difference of the short inspection. Interestingly, the inspectors didn’t recognise the QAR data published in June by the ESFA stating that it was unvalidated. However, our in-year data supported these figures therefore we were confident in the data presented.
At the end of day 1 the team had pulled together tremendously well, and confidence was high.
Day 2 followed with additional interviews, employer visits and joint learner observations. That afternoon we received the feedback that we continue to be Good. Our report is available in full on their website but here are some of the highlights;
- Senior leaders and managers have sustained the good quality of education and training for learners and apprentices.
- You and your team have ensured a clear strategy and direction for the business. You work successfully with employers to meet their priorities and demands for an effective workforce.
- Learners and apprentices benefit from useful and helpful resources. These encourage and help apprentices improve their English and mathematics skills, and consequently, they gain the skills, values, attitudes and behaviours required by employers.
- An increasing number of learners and apprentices complete their programmes successfully and achieve their qualifications.
- Safeguarding is effective. Leaders and managers ensure that safeguarding arrangements are effective. Staff are aware of their responsibility to protect learners and apprentices from possible radicalisation and the risks associated with extremist views. Learners and apprentices demonstrate high levels of awareness of health and safety issues and carry out their work in a safe manner. They say that they are safe and know how to keep themselves safe.
- Managers responsible for safeguarding have good relationships with employers and external agencies to ensure that all learners and apprentices are safe. They work well with partners to ensure that safeguarding processes and procedures are followed effectively, and any issues are followed through to a successful conclusion.
And for those of you interested to know – we stayed at The Little Johns Hotel and had a great time at the local Lido – a few beverages were needed that night!
All the best
John Hirst – Head of Quality
Eden Training Solutions
Apprenticeship vs University?
Posted: July 26, 2018
Jon O’Boyle Director of Operations for Eden Training Solutions shares his views on Apprenticeships vs University.
Deciding what to do after you finish your studies is a big decision. You might be asking yourself, ‘do I enter the world of work with an Apprenticeship, or should I go to University?’
The “Uni” versus Apprenticeship debate is long-running one and of course choosing your next move does require careful consideration.
Recent attitudes towards Apprenticeships have evolved and are they are now recognised as at least an equal alternative to going to University. Since 2014, 56,200 workers have enrolled onto higher and Degree Apprenticeships, studying a range of qualifications from foundation Degree levels to a full Master’s Degree.
The main benefits of each option:
Going to University
You’ll be able to pick from thousands of courses, a university degree will leave your career more open-ended in terms of future opportunities and you’ll acquire a whole range of soft skills, transferrable to any job role.
University study is primarily focused on education and research. You’ll follow a theory-based approach and learn about your chosen subject through lectures, seminars and workshops. If successful, you’ll graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree. The next step is heading out into the big wide world of work to test your knowledge and put into practice what you’ve learned.
Completing an Apprenticeship
You’ll be gaining valuable on-the-job experience and earning money as you study. You’ll also be exempt from paying any tuition fees.
Apprenticeships appeal to those looking for alternatives to University; they take a much more practical approach to learning. You’ll focus on training for a specific career (Examples: Nursery Nurse, Retail Manager, Team Leader, Personal Trainer) and learn your trade by actually doing the job and working towards an Apprenticeship Standard qualification which will be independently judged through a range of practical and theoretical assessments at the end of the programme.
You’ll gain invaluable hands-on experience and then have the opportunity to apply your skills immediately whilst at work which in time will create opportunities for career advancement.
Albert Einstein once said: “Your imagination is a preview of coming attractions.” When we consider education, does this mean that we will eventually live in a world where learning feels more like play and everyone has equal access? Absolutely, the reality of this is now much more obvious as opportunities to learn have become more accessible; the generation theory is now more important than ever before.
My 12-year-old son has a dream to one day become an F1 Engineer. He knows he needs to do well at school and in particular across the subjects of English, Mathematics and Science. In the past, his only option following GCSE’s would have been to go to college, study A-Levels and then go on to University. Thankfully, this is no longer the only choice for him so when the time comes over the next 5 years, options open to him will include Aerospace Engineering, Civil Engineering and Electrical Engineering Degrees which would take up to 4 years to complete. His options will certainly be more expansive than they were for me as a 16-year-old leaving school in 1988 with my O’Levels. I went on to become a trainee Commis Chef, progressing through my Apprenticeship and in time becoming Head Chef at the age of 24.
Whichever side of the fence that you sit on, it’s important to look at the facts. Past government studies have published statistics to show that graduates will earn more over a lifetime than non-graduates. Graduates may start behind, but their pay levels do eventually catch up and then overtake non-graduates, and this is one of the key points used by those arguing in defence of the University route.
However, here are some stats and facts taken from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which may help when making such an important decision:
- The proportion of graduates in the UK workforce is now 38% (up from 17% in 1992). If you don’t have a Degree you are competing with lots who do
- Average debt for University graduates is £44,000 – ouch!
- At age 21, graduates earn on average £14,000 per annum (p.a) while Apprentices earn on average £17,000 p.a
- On average, earnings for those educated to GCSE level will plateau at age 32 at £19,000 p.a., for those educated to A Level at age 34 at £22,000 p.a., for graduates at age 38 at £35,000 p.a.
- More than a quarter of University graduates in 2013 were paid less than the £11.10 an hour average.
- More recently, the Sutton Trust found that people who had completed Level 5 Apprenticeships (equivalent to a foundation Degree) were expected to earn £52,000 more over their lifetimes than graduates from non-elite universities – interesting!
- Degree level Apprenticeships are expanding in number every year as employers strengthen their vocational offering and work much more closely with independent training providers
Part of the government’s long term economic plan is to create 3 million Apprenticeships by 2020 and to secure a better future for Britain; Giving us the skills to compete with the rest of the world.
The ex-Higher Education Minister, Jo Johnson, speaking back in July 2017 said: “Apprenticeships are valued by employers and we want to make sure they have the same esteem in society the classic honours Degree has had.”
In 2018 the possibilities are endless, and the choices are much more varied than they ever have been in the past. Let’s stay true to Albert Einstein’s suggestion, so that in the future, what we imagine can actually happen and become reality.
Good luck for the future in which ever route you decide to take.
By Jon O’Boyle-->
The 5 Top Apprenticeship Myths Busted
Posted: July 26, 2018
Apprenticeships have been around a long time and for good reason. They’re a fantastic way for your company to add talent to the existing team, close skills gaps, retain great staff and increase productivity.
In recent years the Government has changed the way in which Apprenticeships are funded with the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy.
The Government now aim to create 3 million more Apprentices by 20201 and form over 200 trailblazer groups to design Apprenticeship standards in line with industry needs.
We all have an idea about what an Apprenticeship is. Ask the average person in the street to name what they think, and the likelihood is you will get several consistent answers; Plumber, Joiner, Electrician and Builder to name but a few.
This understandable, given that much of the UK’s industry was built on trades throughout the 20th century. In fact, Apprenticeships in Britain can be traced back to medieval times, to the guild system and skilled artisanal trades.²
Now things have changed. Here, we bust some of the most common myths, surrounding Apprenticeships and why it matters.
1. Apprenticeships Are Just for Young People
The mindset still exists a typical Apprentice is 16-19. However, following the introduction of the Apprenticeship levy, when it comes to undertaking an Apprenticeship there is no real age limit. If someone is over 16, living in England and not in full-time education then they are eligible to become an Apprentice.
You can include staff in management roles who have never received any formal training and Apprenticeship standards are currently available up to Level 7 Masters level.
2. Employers Don’t Have A Say In Apprenticeships
You, the employer, can choose the education provider that offers the solutions you require to make sure you aren’t losing staff members on training days that will affect the running of your business.
You can also control the way in which you pay your preferred apprenticeship supplier. This can either be done through the Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS), or directly (SMEs). Remember that through the introduction of the Levy, you may already be paying funds into a Levy pot.
The standards that your Apprentices will be trained to are specific to industry roles, so you can select the Apprenticeship training that is relevant and makes the most impact on your business.
3. There Are No Real Benefits To An Apprenticeship
Workforce growth, the chance to mould members of staff, and the opportunity to invest in existing staff, which in-turn supports an increase staff retention, are just a few of the many benefits offered by Apprenticeships.
It is highly likely, therefore that the knowledge that your staff will acquire through their Apprenticeship will give you the competitive edge over businesses that aren’t investing in their staff.
For the person undertaking the Apprenticeship there is the opportunity to earn, learn and gain transferable qualifications. All without the cost of tuition fees and let’s not ignore the wider benefit of economic growth and increased productivity rates too. In fact, the average Apprentice has been shown to increase productivity by £214!³ a week.
4. Apprenticeships Are Just For The Trades
As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest myths is that Apprenticeships are just for people who wish to work in one of the trades. You can do an Apprenticeship in jobs as diverse as aerospace engineering, childcare and customer service, to name but a few.
Apprenticeships are a brilliant way to fill any skill or knowledge gaps that may exist in your business which, in turn, can make your business more profitable by being able to offer a wider range of services, more efficiently to your customers.
With an abundance of Apprenticeships now available, there will be one that suits your businesses needs.
5 Apprenticeships Are Just For New Staff
Many employers are not aware that they can use their Apprenticeship Levy funds to fill any skills gaps and develop their existing workforce. After all every department needs effective business functions.
Upskilling your existing workforce has several benefits to your business, including an increase in productivity, improved staff competence and job satisfaction. This has been made even easier through the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy. If your wage bill is £3million or over you are already paying 0.5% into a levy pot to spend on training, add to this a Government allowance of 15k and 10% on the final amount and it makes perfect sense to use this allocation to future proof your business.
Giving your staff better communication tools through training will encourage more participation and allows them to contribute more effectively and it also lessens the need for expensive equipment.
At Eden we’re on a mission to change perceptions and show what it means to have a real, modern apprenticeship. If you want to learn more, get in touch today.
3. The National Apprenticeship Service: Employer Guide To Apprenticeships-->
Why Should I do An Apprenticeship & Other Common FAQs
Posted: June 29, 2018
Deciding what to do after you finish GCSEs, or your A-Levels is a big decision to make. Do you take up an apprenticeship? Do a degree or look to complete an HND/HNC? With lots of higher education options available to suit different learning styles, interests and assessment styles, it can feel a little overwhelming when it comes to what to do next.
In April 2017, the Government introduced the Apprenticeship Levy. Since the start of 2018, figures from the Department of Education show 261,2001 people have started an apprenticeship.
The introduction of the apprenticeship Levy breathed fresh air into apprenticeship schemes and many savvy employers are looking at how they can use the Levy in the best way possible, to attract people just like you to join their team.
With more apprenticeships being taken up, we look at some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding apprenticeships.
Why Do an Apprenticeship Over Going to University?
Deciding on whether to go to university or do an apprenticeship is a personal choice and there are of course, many benefits to both.
One of the beauties of doing an apprenticeship is that you’ll receive on the job training from experienced staff, who will help you pick up specific aspects of the work. Compare this to going to university where there’s perhaps little to no on the job training and you can see why getting an apprenticeship is an attractive option. Quite simply, it provides you with the necessary skills, to kick start your career early and really hit the ground running.
With a university degree, unless you are lucky enough to fall straight into a job, you’ll perhaps still have to go through a rather lengthy recruitment process when you finish your degree.
What is also worth considering is the funding of your degree. You may have to pay up to £92502 per year in tuition fees as well as buying books, equipment or materials you may need for your course and your living costs.
Which leads us to…
How Much Will an Apprenticeship Cost Me?
Unlike going to university, you won’t need to pay to do your apprenticeship. You will learn from experienced professionals and gain qualifications that can really accelerate your earning potential.
The cost of your apprenticeship training is covered by your employer and the government, all whilst you earn a wage, whereas with a degree you can start your working life with anything up to £50k3 of debt.
How Much Will I Earn When Doing an Apprenticeship
Whilst there is no set wage for apprentices, your employer is legally obliged to pay you the National Minimum Wage4, with many paying higher wages.
The amount you’ll earn can vary from company to company. Some companies will pay you more but remember, as your skills and knowledge develop, your wage will go up!
Is an Apprenticeship a Real Job?
Despite the myths you shouldn’t be expected to just do photocopying for days on end (well, unless you have photocopying that needs doing of course) and you should only make the tea when it’s your turn… You’re a valuable part of the business!
Most apprenticeships are full-time just like a regular job. The ESFA (The Education and Skills Funding Agency) states that the number of hours worked must be at least 30 per week, just seven-and-a-half hours less than the 37.5 worked on regular contracts. This can be reduced but only in exceptional circumstances. Apprenticeships must also last for a minimum of 12 months, and normally last between one and four years.5
One thing to be aware of it that you are signing up for an approved apprenticeship scheme. There have been cases reported in the headlines, where some large companies have been offering apprenticeships which do not meet the standards that have been set out by the Skills Council, to claim Levy fees. If in doubt, talk to a respected apprenticeship provider, such as Eden Training Solutions. We are happy to provide advice if you are unsure.
Another common misconception is that apprenticeships are just for trade jobs. That’s not correct, apprenticeships cover a huge range of different industries, from childcare to the media, so you are sure to find something that aligns with your own career aspirations.
What Will I Get from Doing an Apprenticeship?
Over the course of your apprenticeship, you’ll work towards gaining respected qualifications, this may be an NVQ or an HND, for instance. The job market is competitive, and qualifications are what most modern and respected employers are looking for.
Again, NVQs aren’t just restricted to industries such as engineering or for people who want to be a chef. NVQs are available in Business Administration, Fitness and IT Skills, to name but a few. In fact, in some industries these specific certificates can be more relevant and valuable than gaining a degree.
In short, if you want to build transferable skills, gain meaningful qualifications and build a strong CV that will attract future employers, then an apprenticeship is an excellent choice.
Want to find out more about apprenticeships and what they can offer you? At Eden Training Solutions we have lots of information to help you get started on your journey and kick start your career. Get in touch today.
How To Get Started With The Levy (5 Minute Read)
Posted: June 1, 2018
Apprenticeships aren’t a new thing, they’ve been around for a long time but they’re still the best way of securing the longevity of your business: providing your employees with skills, knowhow and the motivation to succeed.
The Government promised to create 3 million new apprentices by 2020. In fact, they have now made it easier, especially for larger businesses to access funding for training, by introducing the Apprenticeship Levy from. This came into force from April 2017.
The government Levy gives you the opportunity to use the Levy pot to upskill existing employees through apprenticeships or graduate schemes, in addition to hiring new apprentices into the organisation.
Here’s a brief run down of the Apprenticeship Levy, to help get you started.
What Is The Levy & Does It Apply To Your Business?
The Apprenticeships Levy is a payment that will be collected from large employers in both the public and the private sectors. The payment is paid to the HMRC via PAYE returns. The purpose of the levy is to encourage employers to invest in apprenticeship programmes and to raise additional funds to improve the quality and quantity of apprenticeships.
So, You Are A Levy Paying Company, But How Much Are You Going To Have To Pay?
The levy threshold is calculated by the size of your company’s payroll and so if you have a wage bill of over £3 million, you’re already paying 0.5% into a levy pot to spend on apprenticeship training.
So, if your business does fall into this category, here’s how it works out for you:
£3M payroll x 0.5% (levy amount) = £15,000 (amount owing pre-allowance) – £15,000 (levy allowance) = £0 (levy payable)
If you have a payroll of £6 Million, then it works out a little like this:
£6 Million payroll x 0.5% (levy amount) = £30,000 (amount owing pre-allowance) – £15,000 (levy allowance) = £15,000 (levy payable).
This money will be paid monthly and will go into the companies digital account.
Good To Know
As the money goes into your digital account it gains a 10% top up from the government. This means that for every pound that you pay in, the Government add 10p – good to know! Take the £6 Million model for example, this would equate to an extra £1500 and £16,500 in total, to go towards training and assessments.
Is There A Time Limit To Use Levy The Funds?
Yes, it is worth remembering that there is a time limit to use these funds. If you haven’t used the money within 24 months of them appearing in your digital account, you’ll lose them to the government.
What About Employees Who Started After April 2017?
For those apprentices who started with you before April 2017, their funding will continue being funded in the same way it has since the start of their course.
So, What About Non-Levy Paying Businesses?
There is also been a new funding system for businesses that fall under the levy paying cut off. To start off you will choose the apprenticeship and training provider that you want to deliver it and agree a cost for that training with the provider.
The Government will ask you to contribute to the cost of that training, providing that you agree to a payment schedule, which can be spread over the lifetime of the apprenticeship. The Government will pay their part of the training cost directly to the training provider.
The Government is also offering three additional incentives to employers. These inceptives can be claimed when the following criteria has been met:
* If an apprentice is aged 16-18 when they start.
* When the employer is an SME (Less than 50 staff).
* When an apprentice completes their training, the employers will receive a bonus payment.
With these incentives, it is possible that 100% of training costs could be covered by the Government.
What About The Unused Funds?
You have only 24 months in which to use your unused levy funds before they are transferred into a general apprenticeship funding pot for other companies to access.
Upskilling Your Staff
Apprenticeships don’t just have to be used to train a school leaver, they can also be used as a great way to upskill existing staff.
Upskilling has several benefits to your business, including an increase in productivity as new skills can enable staff to work more quickly and accurately, so saving you money. Again, more customers are retained through improved customer service delivered by your staff, which goes hand in hand with better communication between staff and your customers. Giving your staff better communication tools through training will encourage more participation which leads to them contributing more effectively.
Don’t forget that an area of upskilling your current workforce that shouldn’t be ignored is motivation. If they feel you are investing in them then they will be naturally more motivated, and this is likely to have a knock-on effect on the existing team. This need to feel more accomplished will feed into another benefit from upskilling; improved retention. With staff staying with you for longer, potentially their entire career, then your costs on recruitment will be greatly diminished.
Ready to Start?
The Apprenticeship Levy is a great and simple way to fund apprenticeships and gain valuable skills for your business, be sure not to miss out!
To find out more, contact us and we can help to guide you through the process and adding value to your business.
The Myths About Ofsted
Posted: May 14, 2018
OFSTED, just their name is enough to make your blood run cold if you’re managing a childcare setting, I mean, you’ve got enough on without Ofsted coming and poking their nose in, disrupting your children and scaring your staff to tears, right? Well maybe it isn’t all that bad.
Okay, joking aside, inspectors often encounter a lot of myths about inspection, so we thought we’d help out and dispel some of these myths to help if you’re hosting Ofsted.
Myths make it harder on everybody and impact on those they inspect. So we’ve launched a guide that features the top 10 myths and facts that should be read alongside the Early years inspection handbook.
Ofsted aren’t in the game of tricking people or catching them out, even if you feel like it sometimes, they’re looking to see settings as they are. They don’t want people worrying about what they think they require, when that may not be the case. So, what are those commons myths? Download our free PDF guide here
This myth busting guide is just an overview and more information can be found at Gov.uk. I would encourage everybody to get in touch with Ofsted directly if they come across other frequent misunderstandings.-->
Employer of the year
Posted: March 14, 2018
Congratulations Derwent stepping stones, you have been announced as Eden Training Solutions’ Apprentice Employer of the Year 2018.
Why Derwent Stepping Stones?
Here’s what Abigail Wigmore, Head of Operations at Eden Training Solutions had to say:
“Eden-ts have been working with Derwent Stepping Stones since 2017 and have developed a fantastic working relationship with them. Janet (CEO of Derwent Stepping Stones), Paul Taylor (Qube) and I work together tirelessly to build training packages that meet the needs of the Derwent Stepping Stones team. Janet explained that equal opportunity and helping support the local community is at the heart of their ethos which struck a chord with me as I feel we have the same ethos here at Eden-ts.”
Apprentice of the year
Posted: March 14, 2018
Congratulations Casey Hanlan, you have been announced as Eden Training Solutions’ Apprentice of the Year 2018.
Here’s what Ryan Ward, Director at Office Monster, the service-led, online office supplier that Casey works for had to say:
“Casey completed her apprenticeship with us in January 2018 and is a credit to our company.
“If it wasn’t for Casey being so fantastic, we may not have continued with our apprenticeship programme here at Office Monster.
“As such, we feel that Casey deserves to be recognised as a positive role model for others. She has proven that when you apply yourself and work hard, you can learn and develop your career as an apprentice.
“Since starting, Casey has consistently performed and met all of her targets. Furthermore, she has given us the confidence to invest in two further apprentices.”
£10 off your first Amazon order for Eden Apprentices!
Posted: September 27, 2017
NUS card holders are able to claim £10 off their first Amazon order over £40 for a limited time only!
This Offer is only available to customers who are a member of Prime Student at the time of purchase. This Offer ends at 23:59 BST on Sunday November 12 2017.
For more information on this offer, click here to see the full terms and conditions-->