Hire a new apprentice with Coventry University
Businesses can claim up to £3000 for hiring a new apprentice until 30th September 2021.
Friday 16 July 2021
With businesses currently able to claim financial incentives of up to £3,000 from the Government to take on apprentices, Aidan Friend, Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor at Coventry University with a focus on Strategic Developments and Apprenticeships, looks at how partnering with universities can deliver a high-quality workforce now and in the future.
Since the rebirth of apprenticeships with the introduction of the levy in 2017, universities have established themselves as leading players in the delivery of a wide variety of vocational education and training programmes that can offer an equivalent pathway for those who do not want to follow the traditional academic route.
Rather than being told ‘you must go to university if you’re going to be anything’, there are people who much prefer to be in the workplace, learning about the work environment and getting the skills with the added bonus of ending up with a recognised qualification or high level of on-the-job training.
There have been a whole host of reviews around vocational education since the 1990s, culminating in the Richard Review of Apprenticeships in 2012 that identified the need to equalise the marketplace by having a strategy to allow those people who prefer a vocational education to have credible equivalents to those on an academic route.
Let’s be clear, apprenticeships are nothing new, they have been around for hundreds of years. Historically they were seen not only as a way of developing practical skills in a structured and measured way, but also a wider sense of what was required to be a good citizen.
But things have certainly moved on. The old apprenticeship frameworks were designed by training providers until 2012 when programmes were redefined by standards designed by employer groups, then contextualised by providers to ensure they fit an individual’s job rather than a broader industry role.
We are now working with over 600 employers all over England on more than 40 programmes across a wide range of employer standards.
In 2018, five Coventry University Chartered Management degree apprentices became the first in the country to complete the new qualification, which was developed in conjunction with the Chartered Management Institute, after being trained in partnership with GE Aviation where they were all offered contracts. One of our newest partnerships is with Amey Consulting to provide degree level Civil Engineering, and Environmental & Sustainability programmes that will help to bring new and more diverse talent into their industry.
If it’s a new recruit, you can think of the process as a really long interview, because you get to bring individuals in, learn about them, help them develop and understand your business. And at the end of it, you are in a hugely advantageous position where you know them extremely well, they know your business, you’ve established a relationship with a high-quality training provider, and you’ve got a running graduate who can continue to deliver for you and your organisation.
If you’re an Apprenticeship Levy-payer it allows you to get the best value from money that you’re going to be paying out anyway, by re-investing that back into your teams in a much more formal way and through high-quality university teaching. For businesses who want to take on apprentices but who are not Levy-payers, there are schemes such as the one run by the West Midlands Combined Authority that can support any costs to you.
The Levy is not without its drawbacks, but it’s also a heavy incentive to look differently at ways to talent-manage an existing workforce by keeping hold of the right set of people and to start to create a pipeline of suitably skilled employees who can help to future-proof a business.
In the same way, employees themselves can plot their own career pathway and identify what knowledge and skills they need and would get through an apprenticeship. Most of our apprentices are over 25, with some in their 50s, so this is not only a route for young people.
Universities have a wealth of teaching expertise that can absolutely translate into the apprenticeship market. This is why we have become leading providers.
Coventry University was born out of a school of design that was established by entrepreneurs, and the thread that runs through our organisation is to work with business to provide employment-ready graduates and world-leading research. When designing programmes we can use all of that historical expertise and our gold standard in teaching to make programmes interesting for apprentices and to ensure they fit with individual business needs, but perhaps more importantly we help employers get the best possible result for their money.
Find out more about Coventry University’s apprenticeship programmes by contacting Aidan and his team.