What do apprenticeships mean for us?

Happy Apprenticeship Week! It may seem unusual for an End-Point Assessment Organisation to want to talk about “what apprenticeships mean for them”, considering our interaction with apprentices is minimal in comparison to training providers and employers. However, we’d like to elaborate on how apprenticeships are the key to improving and supporting the logistics sector we care so much about!

The sector is undergoing unprecedented change globally and there are a number of challenges that lie ahead. With the talent pool diminishing, an over reliance on EU labour – not to mention the problems Brexit poses. The apprenticeship levy can act as a structured and incentivised toolkit for the sector. There has never been a more prominent time to upskill our workforce in a way employer’s actually need in order to help mitigate some of these issues. Apprenticeships offer the logistics industry a dynamic and lean way to plug the vital skills gap and present a rich and viable career path within a sector that still isn’t really acknowledged in its own right.

It’s not all about the sector specialist apprenticeships though. It’s evident that emerging technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are making waves in the sector. It is these technologies that are modernising the sector, with the likes of self-driving vehicles and automated warehouses. The sector should be looking to the technology and engineering based apprenticeships to leverage across emerging talent and best practices that would be fundamentally sector agnostic.

How do we fit in?

Our mission is to raise awareness and promote career opportunities in the logistics, supply chain and distribution industries. We want to help build a pipeline of talented, subject matter experts to enter the sector and increase the attractiveness of careers within. We are working to achieve this through our interactive and immersive EPA portal that helps facilitate the apprentices learning experience. We’re also shouting proudly about the fantastic career opportunities the sector presents and utilising our consultancy expertise to work in a collaborative partnership with employers and training providers.

So it’s time to take action, invest in future talent, take on an apprentice! Not sure how to best utilise your levy pot? or which apprenticeship would best suit your organisations requirements? Talk to one of our customer focused team members for your very own innovative solution!

Sarah Gunston 6th March 2019
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IFA Transport and Logistics Route Panel.

David Coombes: Managing Director of Skills for Logistics

The Route Panel is a carefully selected team of sector specialists with the occupational experience and capability to review and advise on new Apprenticeship Standards, assessment plans and funding levels. Together, we are the employer voice of the Transport and Logistics sector, bringing our expertise and knowledge to the work of the Institute.

Working with the Institute, its board and committees, the Panel supports the creation of new apprenticeship opportunities and promotes occupations in transport and logistics – addressing the challenges and identifying both current and future skills gaps. It’s really about the flow of accurate, specialist information. We represent the needs of employers and ensure Apprenticeship Standards are fit for purpose. Meeting the needs of employers and being clear, accessible, affordable and achievable for apprentices, training providers and End-Point Assessors (EPA).

We take this responsibility very seriously at Skills for Logistics (SFL). If the logistics industry is to rise to the endemic recruitment and retention challenges, it needs top quality apprentices.  We have in-depth knowledge of the industry, working closely at the coal face of recruitment, training and skill issues. We therefore have a comprehensive understanding of skills and training which should be made available to the logistics industry.

Personally, this is an opportunity for me to give something back to an industry that has supported me throughout my career. I’m passionate about the skills agenda – so being part of the Institute for Apprenticeships allows me to take responsibility and truly promote and increase opportunities in logistics for the next generation.

If you’d like to get in touch to discuss any thoughts, ideas or concerns you have about apprenticeship standards or the levy then please get in touch. It would be great to hear from you.

contact@skillsforlogistics.co.uk
@Davidcoombessfl @Skill_Logistics
David Coombes 25th February

Apprenticeship fees halve for small businesses

David Coombes: Managing Director of Skills for Logistics

If you weren’t already aware, on Monday 29th October, the Treasury announced that the 10% fee small businesses must pay when taking on apprentices will be halved. The news was received positively by the logistics sector. I spoke to our Managing Director, David Coombes, to get his thoughts on the news.

What impact do you think this reduction in fees will have on apprenticeships?

Firstly, we are delighted that the chancellor has chosen to reduce the cost of apprenticeship training for non-levy payers, with the government now committing to paying a contribution of 95% of the apprenticeship fee and the employer paying the remaining 5%. This is a major and positive shift which the industry has been pushing hard for since the levy has been introduced. This should enable training providers to work closely with smaller businesses to increase the number of apprenticeships on offer.

What impact will this have for the logistics sector?

Well, we have seen less than 10% of logistics businesses take on apprentices since the levy was introduced, it’s certainly going to encourage non-levy payers to start thinking about the real value they can gain from apprenticeships. I’m sure there will be a big change in encouraging smaller business to take on apprentices now.

What are your thoughts on the Treasury backtracking on the start date for the apprenticeship fee cut which was set to be April 2019?

I don’t understand why this has happened, the change should really be made at the start of a new financial year. April 2019 is the best possible time and with that being the mark of two years into the levy, it sends the right message. By talking about the reduction and subsequently not giving an actual date of when this will take effect, it sends mixed messages. Spreading uncertainty in this way is bad for development.

Do you think a consequence of a rumoured later start would incentivise employers to delay their apprenticeship recruitment?

By April 2019 it will be two years since the levy started. The incentive is very much to use up the pot before the end of the two years. Providing it isn’t later than the new financial year, I’m hopeful it won’t have a major impact.

As you’ve mentioned, by April 2019, it’ll be two years since the levy came into effect, do you think that this is too soon to make changes whilst it’s still very much in its infancy?

That’s been a large part of the argument to not make the change, but actually I think two years is within a good time frame. We can’t wait any longer for this change, otherwise, all the government’s targets will be missed, and the opportunity will pass. We’ve seen the slow take-up – there needs to be other incentives to improve apprenticeship starts.

What else do you think the government could be doing to incentivise people to be taking up the apprenticeships?

The apprenticeship levy is a blunt tool. Within the pot, there should be a budget for attraction or the option to spend on advice and support as there is still a lot of confusion around what the best apprenticeships are for different businesses.

Any other thoughts?

I think in the current economic climate, any additional cost to businesses is tough, but the value an organisation receives from well-trained employees can be a life-saver. It reduces staff turnover and increases productivity, meaning less waste and an improvement in job efficiency.

It was great to hear David’s thoughts, but what about you? We’d love to hear your views on this. What does this reduction in fee mean for you? Whatever your thoughts, we’d love to have a chat – Email or Tweet us now!

Sarah Gunston 5th November 2018

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