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Another levy – will it be a tax or an opportunity?

On 6th April 2017, the government’s apprenticeship levy will come into effect. This affects all businesses with an annual pay bill of over £3 million and the levy is charged at 0.5% of the annual pay bill. Construction firms pay this levy in addition to our industry-wide training levy arrangement with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). The purpose of the levy is to help deliver new apprenticeships and support quality training by putting employers in the driving seat.

Traditional apprenticeships have been set up on frameworks which are designed by awarding bodies, and are very much a one-size-fits-all approach. The new apprenticeship standards are employer-led and are flexible to allow the apprenticeships to directly fit with business needs and requirements whilst still ensuring a set measure of outcomes. Apprenticeships under the new standards now include an end-point assessment which ensures all apprentices that qualify have reached the same standard and level of attainment.

Some businesses might chose to ignore the levy, or simply convert their graduate schemes into degree apprenticeship programmes to offset the levy. We plan to use the levy as an opportunity, firstly, to up-skill our existing work force. For example, apprenticeships in management under the new standards can be tailored to fit our business needs and culture. The end-point assessment approach will ensure that our managers have all achieved the same standard of training and understand our business values and expectations. This will enable us to deliver the high standards across our business, and manage our teams in a consistent way to achieve good performance and efficiencies.

Secondly, the levy will be used as intended, which is to attract new talent into the business. We are aiming to achieve an approach where all roles can be considered for an apprenticeship progression route. This will become a vital part of our succession planning strategy.

Morgan Sindall has always been a firm advocate of apprenticeships, particularly for trades. However, the development of new standards enables us to use the degree apprenticeship route to offer new apprenticeship roles such as site managers and quantity surveyors. We understand the benefits to our apprentices to be able to earn as they learn, and it also fast-tracks them within the business. We can identify apprentices who would make great future leaders and on completion of apprenticeships, we can progress them onto our internal Passport to Lead programme where they will be involved in helping to further develop and shape the business.

We welcome fresh talent from all backgrounds, whether you are looking to retrain or are graduating from school or college. Find out more about our exciting apprenticeship opportunities by visiting our Careers page.

Amy Ross, Community Gateway Manager