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Reforms, Levy, Apprenticeships, Funding, Mentoring & Benefits

Site: Hampshire Skills and Participation
Course: Background Information
Book: Reforms, Levy, Apprenticeships, Funding, Mentoring & Benefits
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Date: Friday, 3 July 2020, 7:54 PM

1. Apprenticeship Reforms

During 2017 we have seen the implementation of the Government’s apprenticeship reforms which seek to place employers at the heart of apprenticeships in terms of the content, the payment and commissioning high quality training support.  Apprenticeships are now available for hundreds of job roles and can either be an Apprenticeship Framework or an Apprenticeship Standard (all frameworks will change to standards by 2020).  These detail the knowledge, skills, behaviours and competence that are required in order that an apprentice can be considered to have achieved the national standard for the apprenticeship. 

The Standards have been written by employer groups (Trailblazers), consulted on widely by the sectors and are being rolled out to replace Frameworks over the next few years.  An overview of the types of frameworks and standards available to access.

The Government ambition is to increase the number of apprenticeship starts, with a target of 3 million by 2020, as well as ensuring that employers are in the driving seat.  So, with the development of the standards being driven by employers and the funding being placed directly with us as employers we are in the strongest position to make high quality buying decisions about how apprenticeships can support our business and develop our people.

In addition to ensuring that we reclaim our levy contribution to support staff development, as a public sector body we also have a national target for apprenticeships.  This target is for all public sector bodies with more than 250 employees in England to employ an average of at least 2.3% of their staff as new apprentices from 2017-2021.  We will be monitoring our progress and reporting to central Government year on year during this time.

From April 2017 Hampshire County Council pays into the Government levy for apprenticeships at 0.5% of payroll.  Our aim over the coming years is to recoup this levy by investing in appropriate apprenticeships to support our business development and invest in our people.  We are seeking to consider all job roles and assess the potential for apprenticeships to add value to the learning and development pathways provided for the skills we require now and in the future in support of our ability to best support the lives of the Hampshire communities we serve.

2. The Apprenticeship Levy

All organisations with a pay bill in excess of £3million are required to pay 0.5% of their payroll value into an apprenticeship levy account.  Funds remain available within this online Digital Apprenticeship Account for 24-months and can be used for specific purposes:

Levy funds can be used for:
• apprenticeship training and assessment
• against an approved framework or standard
• with an approved training provider and assessment organisation
• up to the funding band maximum for that apprenticeship

Levy funds cannot be used for:
• wages
• travel and subsistence costs
• managerial costs
• traineeships, work placement programmes or in house training programmes
• the costs of setting up an apprenticeship programme

Each apprenticeship framework or standard is placed within one of 15 funding bands.  These bands denote the maximum level of Government funding that can be accessed to support the training and assessment costs.
For more detailed information on how the apprenticeship levy will work please go to:
Apprenticeship Levy - How will it work?

3. What is an Apprenticeship?

An Apprenticeship is a combination of employment and training available to anyone entitled to work in the UK. We at Hampshire County Council are able to train individuals within our existing staff or new recruits to enable those apprentices to develop their skills while contributing to the productivity of the Council. Background information about apprenticeships is available from the National Apprenticeship Service

Key features of Apprenticeships
Apprenticeships are first and foremost a job, but with the addition of formalised training.  Apprentices are:

  • Paid a salary and have a contract of employment with the usual staff benefits
  • Offered training and development for a minimum of 12 months to gain qualifications and certifications as well as workplace skills
  • An opportunity to support staff to learn their role, increase their skills and add value to the organisation and communities we support.

Who can be an apprentice?
Apprenticeships are available to anyone aged 16 (there is no upper age limit) and over who is not in full-time education and is eligible to work in the UK.  Apprenticeships are for existing staff as well as new recruits. 

What training and development support can be offered?
Apprenticeships are supported by a training provider who is an expert in delivering and supporting the apprenticeship journey. To be an apprentice training provider and to be able to draw down Government funds for the service an organisation must be on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP). Our own Hampshire Futures is one such provider and their offer to our organisation will be augmented by a number of other local training providers that may have different sector specialisms.

Our role as an organisation is to consider the roles where apprenticeships can provide additional benefit, and secure an appropriate training provider to help us to engage our existing departmental experts to pass on their skills and knowledge to new or existing members of the team.

The provider will enhance the offer by providing off-the job opportunities for apprentices to gain wider skills and bring these back to further add value to the team as a whole. Apprenticeship will need to have about 20% of their learning off-the-job during the lifetime of their apprenticeship. Such off-the-job learning could include college or provider based days or part days, mentoring or coaching sessions, e-learning modules, projects, mock assessments, self-study and so forth.

Once the manager and the training provider agree that the apprentice has met all of the criteria that their training plan requires they will be considered ready for external assessment. This stage is called the gateway.; At this time the apprentice will be fully trained and ready for assessment. Under standards the assessment takes place at the end of the journey and is carried out by a specialist organisation called an Apprenticeship Assessment Organisation (AAO). To be an AAO the organisation must be registered on the national Register of Apprenticeship Assessment Organisations (RoAAO).

How long does an Apprenticeship take to complete?
In terms of level, apprenticeships can be from Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) to Level 7 (post-graduate degree level) and so it would follow that the duration is likely to be longer at the higher level, perhaps around 4 years. The time spent on an apprenticeship will depend on the apprentice and the level in question. However, the minimum duration is 12 months to ensure that there is an opportunity to gain the skills required and demonstrate competence.  In terms of the apprentice their prior knowledge, their experience and how quickly they learn will also be factors.

4. Apprenticeship Funding Bands

All apprenticeships, whether frameworks or standards, are placed in one of 15 funding bands.  The decision as to the maximum level of funding that each framework or standard attracts is largely based on the level and type of apprenticeship. The upper limit will cap the maximum amount of levy funds that government will allow to be spent on that apprenticeship from the levy account.  These is no lower limit. Hampshire County Council have a policy of not paying over the maximum cap value in order to ensure value for money. In order to find out which band applies to apprenticeships you are interested in please speak to the apprenticeship team.

The Funding Bands and maximum values are:

Band Funding Band Max
1 £1,500
2 £2,000
3 £2,500
4 £3,000
5 £3,500
6 £4,000
7 £5,000
8 £6,000
9 £9,000
10 £12,000
11 £15,000
12 £18,000
13 £21,000
14 £24,000
 15 £27,000

5. Mentoring and Coaching Support and Benefits of an Apprentice

Hampshire Futures is able to provide training and development to your supervisors or mentors to enable them to provide the best possible support for apprentices.  This will ensure that apprentices have access to additional support over and above their normal supervision to access practical advice and guidance on all aspects of their apprenticeship.  In addition, the trained mentors will develop their own peer community and links across departments and schools to broaden wider organisational understanding and links.

What are the benefits of employing apprentices?
Apprenticeships are an effective workforce development tool for all ages. They can support future workforce requirements through the recruitment of new talent and by providing professional development and progression opportunities for existing staff.
Apprentices provide new talent and ideas to enable us to grow as an organisation. They are cost effective as apprentices learn while contributing to the productivity of the department and organisation.  Our apprenticeship investment in skills development is recouped from our levy contribution which would otherwise be lost.

The development of our apprentices can also provide wider value by developing existing members of our teams by offering opportunities for them to support the learning of apprentices.  Such opportunities may contribute to the development of management, coaching, supervisory, mentoring or tutoring skills which bring additional personal as well as business benefits.

As an organisation we are committed to developing apprenticeships and feel sure that this commitment will further develop our reputation as a high quality local employer.
To find out how other employers have benefitted from recruiting and training apprentices, please see the case studies at:

If you are keen to find out more or wish to register your interest in developing a particular apprenticeship idea please complete the expression of interest and we will be delighted to support you further.