In April 2017 a new apprenticeship levy was introduced by the government requiring all large employers with a wage bill in excess of £3m to pay 0.5% of their total salary expenditure into a Digital Apprenticeship account.
Apprenticeships have changed and this is great news for anyone who wants to kick start their career, develop or enhance their existing skills, or completely retrain. The main benefits of the levy reforms are; the wider range of higher level apprenticeships available; apprenticeships are now open to all from the age of 16 upwards; and prior qualifications are no longer a barrier to achieving the next level or re-training entirely.
To help you understand the changes and how the council can access levy funding to support new apprentices and develop existing staff, we have produced a new Apprenticeship Policy and Apprenticeship Guidance. The policy and guidance set out our approach, advice on how to access structured development under an apprenticeship, and give details on our two current programmes “Apprenticeships First” and “Developing Careers”.
Apprenticeships First Programme – for new staff into the Council and Schools
Council Management Team agreed that vacancies within Grades 1 to 5 should be advertised as an apprenticeship opportunity first, unless there is a service specific reason not to.
Developing Careers Programme – for existing staff
With over 40 apprenticeship opportunities relevant to the development of staff at the Council and qualifications from Level 2 (intermediate) to Level 7 (Master’s), apprenticeships could help to develop skills and next level career steps.
The Developing Careers programme can be accessed for existing staff via the appraisal/performance management process that you have implemented within your school. Development needs should be identified during the appraisal and will form the basis of the Personal Development Plan for the staff member. If there is an apprenticeship opportunity that matches the job and career development plans the school may be able to access the Apprenticeship Levy to pay for the training. Any apprenticeship will need to be supported and approved by the line manager and Headteacher in order to understand the 20% training requirements and ensure that the school can manage this time commitment.
To ensure we are able to comply with all the Apprenticeship Levy regulations all new apprentices recruited must be issued with an Apprenticeship Agreement, this is the written statement of employment particulars and forms their contract of employment with the School. Any existing members of staff who take up an apprenticeship as part of their learning and development will need to be issued with a Developing Careers Apprenticeship Agreement, this is a contract variation letter that details the terms of their apprenticeship training and forms an additional part of their normal contract of employment – there are no other changes to salary or job title for an existing member of staff who takes an apprenticeship. Contracts can be found below.
If you are a SCC maintained or voluntary controlled school and would like more information on how your school can benefit from the Apprenticeship Levy, please contact Southampton apprenticeship team (details below).
- Apprenticeship directory and guidance for schools
- Apprenticeships - policy
- Apprenticeships - policy guidance
- Apprenticeships - developing careers
For further information, please contact the Southampton apprenticeship team: