CATALYST Issue 1 - Page 36

Talent Centric Benefiting from the Apprenticeship Levy How to turn a major social change into a robust talent strategy. 1 5 2 I While businesses should always seek to act as good corporate citizens, they must be driven by the needs of the business itself. This means the number and type of apprenticeships they create cannot be mandated by outside forces or short- term financial gain, but by these specific and individual, long-term needs. Money talks but it also makes people listen. The fact that budget will be moved to the learning and development arena through legislation should allow HR to engage effectively with general and financial management about talent strategy. 3 Apprenticeships are not a ‘magic bullet’, but a key part of a wide- ranging solution to talent challenges. Any move to scrap existing learning and development, without a robust case, must be approached with caution and appreciation of the bigger picture. 4 Old perceptions of apprenticeships are limiting, even potentially damaging. Open-mindedness to their shape and potential is key. “When you think about the debt kids are taking on today, the opportunity to be sponsored through an organisation, with real-life experience and interaction with people, to experience the job on the ground – and be educated at the same time – it’s a phenomenal opportunity” Rosaleen Blair, CEO, Alexander Mann Solutions 36 The new round of apprenticeships has the potential to tap into under-used pools of talent and consequently generate significant workplace diversity benefits. 7 The introduction of the levy has created a marketplace where employers can demand the very best from education suppliers. And if your current supplier is not delivering what you really need, someone else out there is likely to be keen to take their place. ntroduced in England in April, the Apprenticeship Levy is an instrument of social and economic change, helping to provide the next generation of skilled workers in the UK, accelerating social mobility and creating at least three million individual apprenticeships by 2020. In practical terms, it requires all employers with a pay bill of £3m or more a year to contribute the equivalent of 0.5% of total payroll to a central fund, in order to promote the spread and development of apprenticeship programmes. To guide organisations in how to make the best out of the levy, and develop a robust strategy, Alexander Mann Solutions has drawn on expertise from organisations throughout the UK, via polling and data analysis, and by focusing in detail on the experience, plans and opinions of 10 major employers: Atos, BAE Systems, Barclays, BT, CapGemini, GE, HSBC, Jaguar Landrover, New Look and Santander. Our key conclusions are presented here. 6 Line managers need to be shown, in clear and demonstrable ways, that the ‘new ’ apprenticeships will both maintain talent quality and address specific talent challenges within the organisation. Their buy-in to the project is essential. 8 This is a new and potentially vital front in the ‘war for talent’. Employers who can find ways to communicate to candidates that ‘new’ apprenticeships are, not just a viable, but a compelling alternative to conventional career paths stand to gain significant competitive advantage over their rivals. Edited extract from Alexander Mann Solutions’ white paper on the apprenticeship levy.