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Growing your own is good for business

02 February 2018

Apprenticeships are a cornerstone of this Government’s education and skills policy. It aims to have three million apprentices signed up Nationally by 2020, with young people viewing apprenticeships as ‘a high quality and prestigious path to successful careers’.

To ensure the reality matched the rhetoric, the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced last year, designed to secure adequate funding of and commitment to training the workforce of the future.

Under the Levy, every business – public and private sector - with a paybill of more than £3m contributes the equivalent of 0.5 per cent of its bill to a digital account – the Digital Apprenticeship Service - and this account is then used to pay for apprentice training.

And this element is what creates a ‘win-win’ for those organisations - like Livewell Southwest CIC - which appreciate that with the right training and support, today’s apprentices who will become tomorrow’s motivated, dedicated and loyal employees with skills perfectly matched to achieve business goals.

Employers who pay the levy and are committed to apprenticeship training will be able to get more out of the fund than they pay in. Employers who choose not to use the funds they contribute will see their money made available to others. Essentially it’s a ring-fenced training and development budget. Use it or lose it.

As a Social Enterprise and major employer in the region, Livewell Southwest CIC has developed a reputation for innovating services and developing our workforce to meet the future needs of our communities, true to our purpose to support people to be safe, well and at home.
We were determined to optimise the Levy to build on our award-winning apprenticeship scheme - since the levy started in May 2017 we have had 39 apprenticeship starts – and to be identified as an exemplary apprentice employer.

To that end, we have increased the rate of pay for apprentices. And we are expanding the range of apprenticeships we offer. It already includes our pioneering Nursing Associate programme, assistant practitioner roles and a wide range of non-clinical posts such as finance, estates management and hotel services.

Now we are using the Levy fund to develop apprentice roles and career pathways in business administration, management, adult social care and business intelligence, with all the benefits to the business of retaining colleagues we have trained and nurtured. Close collaboration with our education providers ensures all our apprentices get the training they need to succeed and we get the employees we need.

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