Major changes are due to take place this year in apprenticeships, with new levy funding arrangements for employers and the introduction of apprenticeship "standards". Waterside is happy to help with queries, and some frequently asked questions are outlined below.
How will these changes affect employers?
Starting in May 2017, any employer paying an annual wage bill of more than £3m will automatically have to pay a levy which can then be used for training apprentices. The levy will be charged at 0.5% on the portion of the paybill above £3m.
Employers will have to pay the levy monthly, and will have 24 months to use it before it expires. They will be able to spend it on programmes via a new Digital Apprenticeship Service, which will hold details of training providers and what programmes are available. Waterside is currently updating its details ready for when this new service is introduced.
For smaller employers who won't pay the levy, the government will pay 90% of the training costs of an apprenticeship, with the employer contributing 10%. Businesses with less than 50 employees may get 100% funding if taking on a 16-18 year old apprentice.
The cost of an apprenticeship will be negotiable with the training provider, and will be capped at a maximum depending on the funding band for the apprenticeship.
For more information regarding the levy, take a look at the government website at:
What are apprenticeship standards?
These are the new format for apprenticeships and have been developed by groups of employers to be more focussed on occupational roles that suit the needs of their sectors. A major difference to the current programmes is that they include an "End Point Assessment" which is carried out at the end of the apprenticeship. These will be run by independent organisations and may be graded. Apprentices will have to successfully pass this assessment to complete their programmes.
Within the standards that apply to engineering and manufacturing, assessments typically include job observations, professional interviews, knowledge exams and scenario-based tests. Waterside is currently finalising the set of standards it will be offering to industrial firms, and each standard will have different assessment requirements.
How will apprentices be affected?
Students looking to apply for an apprenticeship need not worry - the programmes at Waterside will still contain in-depth practical and academic training just like current programmes. The End Point Assessments are a new feature, but students will be trained up to a high standard and be well-prepared before being put forward for the final tests. Waterside has always included extra personal development and technical training in its programmes, and this will continue within the delivery of the new standards.
For more information about Waterside's apprenticeship schemes, take a look at the following pages: