I had the opportunity the other day of talking to the Head of Talent Management of a large PLC with in the region of 19,000 employees in the UK. So, a pretty big Levy pot!
They currently have around 200 Apprentices at any one time on a combination of Technical and Management standards spread around the country.
Here are just a few points from the discussion which will be useful for providers wanting to engage more with Levy payers, and let’s face it we should all be working to do just that!
- Rather than striving to recoup all of their Levy pot they view it as a tax and have taken the decision that the talent development requirements of the Business, their “strategic need”, will be the driver of Apprentice recruitment and placement.
- They currently use a mixture of Colleges, Universities and private providers; the selection being based on who most readily fits the business, “strategic”, need.
- Provision from Colleges may be good, often in up to date facilities, but they are still “frustrating” to deal with and often “commercially poor”.
- There is still a focus on September starts in the College sector, something I thought we had sorted some time ago;
- Not always the expected understanding of the new rules;
- A poor understanding of employer contract agreements and often an inability to respond to legal agreements. They have basically had to draw up their own for Colleges to sign up to.
- It is recognised that they had a difficult start to the Levy based funding approach which in large part was as a result of poor guidance from the Government. Help is required.
- Universities can come across as arrogant and do not always understand or comply with the new contracting rules.
I know there are many out there who are working hard to address these issues and have the solutions in place but for any provider wishing to expand their business with this sector there are some clear messages:
- Focus on what the business needs rather that what you have to “sell”, how can you help them deliver their employee development strategy?
- Make sure you are providing a truly year-round “service”, and remember the “service” is as important as the facilities;
- Get commercial, understand contracting arrangements and be in a position to respond quickly to what are seen as fairly standard legal documents; and,
- Become an expert in the rules, compliance requirements and documentation surrounding the Levy.
To your success!
Chester, CH3 7AG
07802 883466 (mobile)