Apprenticeships guide for employers launched by Open University and KPMG


The Open University has launched a new guide for employers aimed at getting the best out of apprenticeships in anticipation of the levy coming in next April.

Maximising apprenticeships for improved performance and results explains how the changes to the apprenticeship system will benefit employers and provides advice on establishing programmes under the new regime.

The guide has been produced in association with the Open University and consulting firm KPMG, and suggests employers follow five key steps to maximise their apprenticeship funding:

  • Align apprenticeships with business strategy: this includes mapping the content of apprenticeships to organisational goals, considering the roles workers will be doing in four or five years’ time.
  • Conduct a skills audit: Doing this will reveal any skills gaps and give you a view of the skills base of existing staff and requirements for the future.
  • Take an integrated approach: Think about whether or not existing in-house training can be substituted or augmented by apprenticeships to avoid duplication of training spend.
  • Be diligent when choosing a training provider: All training providers under the new regime have to be government-approved, but look for companies that can add value and offer a package of support.
  • Support and engage employees: How will your culture be impacted by offering apprenticeships, for example introducing higher or degree apprenticeships? Employees’ expectations of career progression may change as more apprenticeships are introduced, and it will also be important to support line managers to support apprentices.

Mark Williamson, a partner at KPMG UK said: “With the introduction of new higher and degree-level apprenticeship standards and the levy fast approaching, we produced this guide to provide organisations with expert advice about how to establish and deliver work-based apprenticeship programmes that deliver results.”

Last month the CIPD produced research suggesting a skills mismatch in vocational education, with graduates occupying more jobs that previously would have been occupied by non-graduates.

Chief executive Peter Cheese said there had been a “conveyor belt” approach to university education, and called for a stronger focus on alternative pathways into the workplace such as higher-level apprenticeships, creating a “parity of esteem” between the two routes.

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