If your company already runs an apprenticeship scheme, it’s tempting to assume you have a head start with the new apprenticeship levy. Perhaps you’re planning simply to scale up your existing programme, so you can draw down the maximum amount from the new national fund.
The danger with this approach is that you’ll be expanding a programme that works for your business now. It fails to take account of the type of business you’ll need or want to be, in five years’ time.
A simple expansion of an existing early years programme could also create more immediate practical problems. For some big organisations, expansion could bring hundreds of new apprentices into the workplace. Few businesses are set up to recruit in these numbers, and many have not considered the need to scale their operations to provide the additional support services such as pastoral care and peer mentoring that have been shown to maximise the benefits of apprenticeships for the learner and the organisation.
Now is the moment to step back and consider the bigger picture. Apprenticeships now offer a new toolset for addressing strategic workforce challenges. So, if you want to spend your levy fund wisely, you should be thinking more laterally about how you can use apprenticeships to solve your current and future skills challenges.
To start that process, consider the following questions: