Apprentices are a way for businesses to improve their skills base, attract diverse talent and encourage new ways of working, writes skills minister Anne Milton.
Last April we introduced the Apprenticeship Levy so employers could plug skills gaps, recruit new talent and improve the abilities of their current and future staff through work-based learning.
Under the levy, large employers – those with a pay bill of more than £3million – will pay 0.5% of their total wage bill to invest in training staff.
Smaller employers do not pay the levy, and government pays for 90% of the costs of apprenticeship training and assessment. The employer only needs to find 10% of the cost. The changes we have introduced to the apprenticeship system mean that employers can invest in quality training for their apprentices.
Working for everyone
Apprenticeships are a great way for people to get a career in the industry – and the chance to earn while they learn. There are now more opportunities than ever before to do apprenticeships in a huge range of creative occupations all the way up to degree level. It gives people a clear route into long-term employment and choice if they do not want to take a purely academic route.
The BBC, Sky, McCann and smaller employers such as Ginger Nut Media are just some of the creative employers using apprenticeships to grow their business, offering jobs with real prospects that enable people to gain the essential skills they need for their career.
We want employers and their apprentices to know that they are getting high quality training. The Institute for Apprenticeships will make sure creative apprenticeships are of a high standard and that quality is maintained across the board. New apprenticeship standards recently introduced range from junior content producer and broadcast production assistant, with many more in development to ensure diverse routes into the sector. We are working closely with employers who lead the developments of these standards to make sure we get the right training for the creative industries.
Investing in quality
We recognise that the last year has been a period of significant change, and it will take time for employers to adjust. But we must not lose sight of why we introduced these reforms in the first place – to put quality at the heart of the apprenticeship programme and put control in the hands of employers.
To help this we are boosting investment in apprenticeships to £2.45 billion by 2019/20 and to reach 3 million quality apprenticeship starts in England by 2020.
Since May 2015 there have been more than 1.2 million people starting an apprenticeship, which will provide each of them with the opportunity to gain the skills they need to get on in life. This is a fantastic achievement but only the start as we want to make sure all creative employers and businesses have the skilled workforce they need.
Anne Milton MP is the minister for Skills and Apprenticeships for the UK government.
Find out how you can take advantage of the Apprenticeship Levy. Go to hireanapprentice.campaign.gov.uk