With just over a month to go, it seems that many soon-to-be Apprenticeship Levy payers are still unaware of its existence, let alone the benefits of using it to fund apprenticeships.
Encouragingly, those who do know the score are positive about the Levy.
Results of a City & Guilds survey published this week reveal that a third (33%) of UK employers who will be eligible to pay the new Apprenticeship Levy from this April still don’t know it is going to happen.
On the other hand, 31% of business leaders are intending to increase the number of apprentices that they recruit thanks to the Levy, 47% felt that the Levy was a great way to get employers to pay for training, 43% felt that it gave employers more control over the system and 34% felt that it would increase quality.
The survey asked 500 senior decision makers from a range of organisations about their skills and recruitment needs, as well as their opinions about the impending changes to the apprenticeship system and the likely impact on their organisations.
Despite lack of awareness about the Levy, 59% of respondents said they intend to recruit apprentices in the coming year – while only 44% intend to recruit graduates.
However universities are still used for recruitment by most (46%), compared with 22% from colleges and only 9% from schools.
The survey also found that 87% of employers are struggling to recruit the staff they need. 29% find it hard to fill apprenticeship places – and competition for talent is likely to increase when the Levy begins.
Management and leadership jobs were seen as the most difficult to fill – yet only 19% of those surveyed knew that apprenticeships could be used to train managers and leaders – meaning they are unaware that they can use their Levy payment to train existing staff who show management potential.
The survey shows that action is clearly needed from the government and skills sector to make sure all Levy payers are aware of their options. However non-Levy payers too need to understand how it can benefit them, with 90% of the cost of apprenticeship training to be paid for via the Levy.
Schools and careers advisers need to be encouraged to offer Higher and Degree apprenticeships as post-A Level options on a par with more academic options.
And employers looking to take on non-graduates need to think about how and where they recruit – for instance building relationships with local schools and colleges to demonstrate to potential apprentices the advantages of a career in their organisation.
Read more about why employers are still in the dark about the upcoming apprenticeship changes on the City & Guilds website.
For more information about Higher and Degree apprenticeships and the Apprenticeship Levy, contact us.