While apprenticeships are not a new thing, their origins can be traced back to medieval times, Degree Apprenticeships in their modern form were only conceived recently by the Government alongside a pledge to create 3 million new apprenticeships in England by 2020. Put simply, these new types of apprenticeships provide learners with an opportunity to gain a degree while being employed in the workplace. The advantages of this new pathway for learners is evident: on-the-job training, earning a wage, gaining relevant skills and up-to-date knowledge and having an employer invest in their education. But the scheme is equally attractive to employers. Here are some of the reasons why.
1. Fill your skills gap
Employers in the North West say the top two reasons they struggle to fill positions are*:
- The low number of applicants with the required skills
- A lack of relevant work experience
If this sounds all too familiar, consider sponsoring a Degree Apprentice and you’ll gain an employee who you can mould to fit your company’s needs. The apprenticeship will equip the learner with the relevant, sector-based skills, applicable experience and importantly, familiarity with the particulars of your business and the sector as a whole, as well as a professional qualification. The apprentice will bring the latest academic, technical and vocational knowledge from uni back to the workplace for the benefit of all staff.
2. Access funding
Training costs can be expensive. The Government has taken this into consideration and co-funds Degree Apprenticeships, so if your company has an annual payroll bill under £3 million you’ll only pay 10% of the training costs, with the Government picking up the other 90%. Businesses who exceed this payroll limit will have to contribute to the Apprenticeship Levy of 0.5% of their paybill, meaning larger employers will be eager to invest in apprenticeships in order to get the best value out of their contributions. Smaller businesses are at an advantage, even more so if they employ an apprentice who is under the age of 19, as they will receive 100% of the training costs if the company has fewer than 50 employees. In addition, there is an extra £1,000 incentive for employers who take on an apprentice aged 16-18.
92% of apprentice employers believe apprenticeships led to a more motivated and satisfied workforce
3. Grow your business
A Degree Apprenticeship provides your business with an employee, or employees, who will be working for you from day one. They’ll spend 80% of their time in the workplace and the remaining 20% studying at university. But an apprentice is not just another number to add to the books. Sure, you’ll be gaining a staff member who will contribute to the productivity and performance of your organisation but you’ll be influencing their development to ensure a quality employee is produced and not just someone to fill an empty seat. Not only that but apprentices tend to be loyal and motivated to learn in acknowledgement of their employer’s investment in their future, making the investment worthwhile in the long term.
4. Tailor the learning to your sector
With research and innovation at the heart of LJMU, we provide learners with the cutting-edge skills and knowledge relevant to your sector. We understand it’s important for your company to inform the curriculum in relation to your business needs. That’s why we work alongside you to ensure you contribute to the design and delivery of the programme.
5. Enhance your reputation
Showing your customers, the sector and the wider community that you’re an employer keen to invest in people will give your company’s reputation a boost. And by working alongside an education provider to inform the learners’ curriculum, as is the case at LJMU, your sector as a whole will stand to benefit as training becomes tailored to it. Word will be out that your company is an innovator within your sector.
81% of consumers favour using a company which takes on apprentices
6. Develop existing talent
Contrary to popular belief, apprenticeships are not just for school leavers. Plenty of employers are taking advantage of Degree Apprenticeships to upskill their existing staff. So, if taking on a new recruit isn’t a part of your workforce strategy, training up a staff member who’s familiar with your business but lacking the professional qualifications will make a lot of sense. Plus whether you hire a new recruit or train current staff, giving experienced employees in your business the opportunity to act as mentors to the apprentice will help their own development too. Overall, morale in your workplace will improve as not only will the provision of training increase motivation in the individuals being trained but every employee will appreciate a company that has the development and interests of its workers at heart.
7. Future-proof your business
As we approach an uncertain economic future it’s vital that businesses consider their workforce in terms of sustainability. Companies need to adapt to the pressures and changes that are facing most industries in the UK. Working with an educational partner, like LJMU, that has a responsive and flexible approach when it comes to the development of courses will help in this. A university that provides learners with the latest innovative techniques and methodologies and works alongside industry, means organisations can face these challenges with greater confidence.
Benefits to partnering with LJMU
LJMU has a proven track record in successfully developing Degree Apprenticeships to meet industry needs. Since 2016, the University has welcomed 160 Degree Apprentices from over 100 employers across a broad range of sectors. This experience puts LJMU in an excellent position to help employers that are keen to get on board with the new scheme. There are plenty of reasons to work with us, visit our Degree Apprenticeships: information for employers section to find out how we can help your company.
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*UKCES Employer Skills Survey 2015