The Lounge - General Chat

Do Companies Already Hold the Key to their Economic Recovery?

With companies across the UK cautiously planning how they could possibly recover from the financial impact of Covid-19, upskilling via apprenticeships could prove a shrewd and innovative solution to future success.

Managing Director of 1st for EPA, Helen Shinner, believes many are overlooking the option, solely associating apprenticeships with younger generations and first-time jobs. Current employees hold vital knowledge about the organisations for which they work, their key markets and competitors. Upskilling existing staff could prove to be the simplest way to maximise resources and future-proof businesses moving into an undoubtedly tricky trading period. 

Helen said: “Many employers do not realise that apprenticeships can be used to upskill current staff to senior positions. HMRC reporting a £2bn levy underspend in 2019, and with levy funds expiring after 24 months, the horse could bolt from the stable if employers don’t act quickly. As an end point assessment organisation, we assess apprentices at the final stage of their apprenticeship. We see their commitment to their organisation and their drive to achieve more.

“The assessment itself often involves a project focused on making real, measurable improvements to the apprentice’s organisation. Imagine using apprentices in all areas of your business: HR, management, marketing as well as occupational trades – all those committed employees working to drive your company forward. Suddenly you find your business boosted in key areas, with staff who feel invested in the business and motivated to grow, all with no additional outlay.”

Boris Johnson’s apprenticeship guarantee earlier this month shows the government’s confidence in the apprenticeship style of learning. The Prime Minister announced that all young people in Britain would be guaranteed an apprenticeship, in an effort to tackle anticipated job losses following Covid-19.

“Apprenticeships train people in the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to be successful in their role.” continued Helen. “Apprentices learn valuable skills they will use throughout their career, and there’s really no substitute for the hands-on experience they gain. It’s like the old adage says, ‘Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I will understand.’”

1st for EPA offers end point assessment (EPA) to apprentices throughout England. The company supports apprentices to succeed in their apprenticeship, offering full support to make the process easy.

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Apprenticeships are open to both levy payers and SMEs. With no age limit, apprenticeships can be used to upskill existing employees as well as to hire new talent. Employers who do not pay the levy will generally pay 5% of the cost of training with the government contributing the remaining 95%.

More information on 1st for EPA can be found at www.1stforepa.co.uk

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