Many organisations have been vocal in their opposition of the apprenticeship levy. They perceive it as a tax that will be difficult to recoup and say they do not yet have enough information to understand what will happen on day one.
However, if you take a big step back from the technicalities of the implementation and look at the long term, the apprenticeship levy actually represents a great opportunity for large organisations to re-shape their workforce. That’s because the ring fenced funds are now an incentive for them to take a hard look at themselves and identify where apprenticeships can be used to fill skills gaps and attract a broader and more diverse group of employees to their organisation.
Have you reviewed your intake strategy?
If you are a company that employs a lot of graduates, then reviewing your intake strategy is a good starting point. That’s because higher level apprenticeships make recruiting talented individuals directly from school a credible option for supplementing your graduate intake.
Already, forward thinking companies are looking at ways to rebalance their graduate recruitment programs, to provide additional entry points for young and ambitious people who may prefer not to go to university.
Apprentices at KPMG
At KPMG, we’ve already started this process. Our apprentice programme (KPMG360º) has more than 100 apprentices, with a further 100 joining us in October. And we see the benefits that they bring to the organisation. They are resilient, they have different perspectives and they are hungry for success. We are also seeing low levels of attrition on the programme to date. Because these young people are getting real world experience in tandem with their learning, we are seeing graduate entry levels of productivity after about 12 months.
With the introduction of the levy, we are now investigating how we can fund further education for this group and complement this program with more targeted ones.
Expand your talent pool
These new entry points are a good deal for young people hungry to get into the workforce. When you consider the cost of university both from a financial and an opportunity perspective, a quality high level apprenticeship (which can even be a degree or a masters) makes sense. You don’t have the debt, you don’t have to travel away from home, you get a similar qualification and you can get between four and six years of work experience. All of a sudden, high level apprenticeships begin to look like a viable alternative to going to university.
With the levy in place, I believe that more and more organisations should and will provide higher level apprenticeship programmes targeted at school leavers. Those that do will be successful in recruiting the best, brightest and most diverse talent into their firms. Those that don’t may find that their pool of graduate talent has shrunk as the best and brightest are already working and learning in a company that offers a custom designed higher level apprenticeship program.
So, if your company has a large apprenticeship pot, and a reliance on graduates, you should be thinking seriously about the prospect of introducing a higher level apprenticeship program.
As a parent, I know I’ll be looking very seriously at apprenticeships for my children when the time comes.
Future Talent Conference 2017
We're proud to have KPMG as our headline sponsor at this year's Changeboard Future Talent Conference 2017.