Rishi Sunak’s latest plans for boosting Britain’s productivity with infrastructure investment have consisted of numerous schemes to help businesses cope with the pandemic. Following the unprecedented financial measures and support for businesses with the likes of the furlough scheme, comes a short-term stimulus measure to lay the groundwork for long-term economic success. But what does this really mean?
Improving technical education to boost your employees’ skills may just be the answer. The Chancellor is under pressure to make sure that jobs in the UK are safeguarded amid concerns of redundancies, and in response to this he has launched (among other things) financial support for apprenticeships to help employers hire new staff.
When you hire a new member of staff and place them on to an apprenticeship, you can apply for funding to give your organisation a boost; potentially up to £3,000 depending on the age of your employee. What’s the best thing about this financial incentive? You can spend the payment on anything to support your organisation’s costs, from facilities and travel to uniforms and salaries – and you won’t need to pay it back.
In addition to the incentive scheme, the Government has also launched the Redundancy Support Service; this means that the new member of staff that you hire to take advantage of the incentive scheme does not even have to be fresh to the job role. Redundancies are regarded as an inevitable consequence of the pandemic’s impact on our economy, but what is one organisation’s loss could be another’s gain. When experienced, work-ready apprentices find themselves without an employer, they can register with the Redundancy Support Service. From this, employers can visit the Vacancy Sharing Service to find readily equipped people with the skills that they need to boost their business and access the incentives.
Lisa Blakey, managing director, of Encompass, said: “This scheme has the potential to really positively impact businesses who have skills gaps in certain professional areas like leadership and management. A strong leadership team and supporting areas like project management and procurement will be key to making sure that a business can thrive in the ‘new normal’. As a managing director, I want to know that I will see a return on investment from a development programme, and I believe that these incentives will give an organisation an opportunity to fill these skills gaps, without financial burden during this difficult period.
“Apprenticeship schemes help employers ensure that they get exactly the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need while growing a talented and engaged workforce. They can be tailored to specific job roles, making them flexible to the needs of your business. The added advantage is that you will effectively train a new employee or upskill and existing employee to think and act in the interests of your business from day one. If your company is already paying a levy you should be utilising these funds to do this, opposed to spending even more on external training courses.”
Cheryl Hogger, head of compliance at Encompass, said: “The new incentives are to act as additional help to increase skills development of the workforce, decrease the number of unemployed, and sustain our future workplace making sure we are equipped with all the skills needed to support each business and employee regardless of sector. This can be entry through to degree-level job roles.”
Creating more high-quality roles with development opportunities will be key to ensuring that people have the right skills to support businesses in a post-pandemic society, and the fact is that many businesses have still had to pay the apprenticeship levy throughout the past six months. Regardless of levy status, businesses will need to consider if they have the necessary infrastructure and staffing capabilities to carry them forwards. Whether you take advantage of the incentive scheme and the redundancy service and take on a new employee, or whether you use apprenticeships to upskill your existing workforce, it is worth considering them as a mechanism to propel your business through the post-pandemic recession.
Encompass offers training from apprenticeships, to standalone awards/certificates/diplomas, to bespoke short courses in:
· Project management
· Leadership and management
· Procurement and supply chain
· Finance and accountancy
· Recruitment and selection
· Change management
· Conflict management
All our programmes can be delivered online and virtually, so take control and make sure that your business is in the best position to return safely and with impact. To find out more about recruiting an apprentice who has been made redundant, click here.