A couple of weeks ago, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking published a new report with EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation – Lifting the lid on the Levy: Making the Apprenticeship Levy work for industry.
While the report found that there are clearly some major challenges with the Apprenticeship Levy it also revealed that many employers will seek to embrace the Levy where possible and use it to train the next generation of engineers.
I’ve always been impressed by the manufacturing industry’s commitment to invest in, and train, its people. Long before apprenticeships were the buzzword of the hour, manufacturers were offering high-quality training, and that’s true today.
These are apprenticeships which, on average, last four years, they are programmes of training that combine the right balance of practical and classroom based learning.
They are rarely an end point. In the majority of cases, one apprenticeship then leads onto another higher-level apprenticeship, with many manufacturing employers now sponsoring students to degree level.
What better way to achieve a degree level qualification than earning while you learn?
And what’s in it for the learner at the end? A genuine, well-paid job.
What our report with EEF found was that almost half (46%) of manufacturers will increase engineering apprenticeship numbers in response to the Levy.
This is fantastic news. Yes, the Levy is viewed by many as a tax, but if we can use it to train the next generation of engineers, then surely it’s a talent generator too.
What’s also great to see is the numbers of manufacturers (35%) that will also use the Levy to recruit apprentices in other parts of the business. We have said for a long time, you don’t have to be an engineer to work in an engineering company – the job roles are extensive!
When it comes to delivering apprenticeships the manufacturing sector punches above its weight. While it represents 10% of the workforce, in terms of apprenticeships, the 78,480 manufacturing and engineering starts from last year equated to 15% of all starts. That’s something to not just be proud of but to really shout about.
Our report also found that a quarter of manufacturers believe one of the benefits of the Levy will be that it may attract more young people into an apprenticeship.
EEF and Lloyds Banking Group share a common desire to train the next generation of engineers and we want to do all we can to encourage young people to consider an apprenticeship as a route into manufacturing.
A combination of young people choosing apprenticeships and more manufacturing employers offering apprenticeships is the perfect mix to make this happen.