New research undertaken by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP suggests that the introduction of the apprenticeship levy will lead to some large Berkshire employers increasing their investment in training and development, which should, in turn, improve productivity.
Thirty-two of Berkshire’s largest employers were interviewed for the research which sought to establish the potential impact of the apprenticeship levy on their recruitment and workforce development practices.
In 2015/16, around 5,400 apprenticeships were started by Berkshire residents, a seven percent drop from 2014/15. This was at odds with the national trend (a three percent increase).
The research suggests that most large companies will seek to increase the number of new apprentices they take on (albeit in relatively small numbers) and will use their levy to upskill their existing employees in areas such as management and leadership and IT. The research also found that a number of large employers are planning to offer degree apprenticeships, and believe that more needs to be done to promote apprenticeships as a valid alternative to the traditional university route.
It is currently unclear how smaller, non-levy paying employers will be affected by the introduction of levy and wider apprenticeship reforms. Thames Valley Berkshire LEP is monitoring recent funding developments and remains committed to supporting SMEs who wish to employ apprentices.
Peter Read, Chairman of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP, comments, “We believe our report will be of great interest to both levy and non-levy paying employers in providing a clear understanding of how employers across Berkshire intend to use their levy and how it could add value to the local economy. The LEP will use the report to raise awareness, showcase good practice, and signpost employers to good quality advice."
Click here to download the report.
The approaches being taken by three of the employers interviewed can be viewed as case studies here.