Halfords is a great example of a company that has been a strong and consistent supporter of ours, providing employment for young people nurtured by the RugbyWorks programme. In January 2015, Halfords Autocentres made its first staff appointment as a result of its partnership with Dallaglio RugbyWorks. Of course, this has been fantastic for the young person involved but also, I hope, beneficial to the company that now has a talented new addition to the team.
With success stories such as these, we are very keen to continue raising awareness about the importance of apprenticeship schemes. Particularly ahead of the launch of the apprenticeship levy at the beginning of April. The levy will require all employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill over £3million each year, to invest in apprenticeships. For this reason, apprenticeships are becoming somewhat tainted and seen as an unmanageable expense. There’s no doubt that the increase to investment in apprenticeships will be challenging to businesses of a certain size but it will mean that they have more reason to take advantage of the investment, embrace apprenticeship schemes and train new talent.
In truth, the longer it takes to get the levy off the ground, and the less businesses understand about the advantages of it, the more our most successful pathway is blocked, which could be a disaster for many young people, whether they are in mainstream education or not.