We’re six months on from the launch of the Levy and some employers are still on the back-foot when it comes to deciding how to deploy their funds.
With the risk of losing out to the sunsetting process ever present, pressure is mounting from stakeholders who are keen to ensure funds don’t go to waste.
In this guide, we’ll explore some cost-effective ways to use your Levy funds on relevant, high-value apprenticeship standards for existing senior-level staff.
A brief introduction to standards and funding bands
Under the sweeping reforms to apprenticeships that accompanied the launch of the Levy, training frameworks are in the process of being phased out, with a view to being replaced by new standards by 2020.
These new courses have been designed with direct input from working groups of employers, known as Trailblazers, to ensure the training is tailored to the specific needs of roles in their sectors.
Standards are categorised into levels, which can range from NVQ to degree-level and beyond. They’re also grouped into 15 bands for funding purposes, which range from a minimum level of £1,500 to a maximum of £27,000.
A few factors are taken into consideration by the government when deciding what an apprenticeship standard should cost, including:
- Evidence offered by Trailblazer groups on the proposed costs for training and assessment
- Equivalent funding bands for equivalent apprenticeship frameworks
- The level of the standard and the type of training involved
- Statistics on standards that are already being carried out
- Data from the Trailblazer pilot for standards.
High-value apprenticeship standards for existing staff
While some of the most costly standards are industry, or even role-specific, there’s a range of apprenticeship training that can be applied across a wide range of businesses and industries.
Reforms to apprenticeship training mean there’s a great deal of flexibility in how standards can be delivered, allowing employers leeway to customise course content to suit the needs of specific niches within their organisation.
So without further ado, let’s leap into some of the most versatile and popular apprenticeship standards that are approved for delivery:
Level 3 and 5 HR apprenticeship standards
Every organisation requires some type of HR function and these long-awaited standards have been in the development pipeline for years. The Trailblazer groups behind them featured big-name businesses, including:
- Barclays Bank
- Marks and Spencer
- The NHS
- Mc Donalds
The level 5 standard is equivalent to a foundation degree and is designed for HR professionals operating at either partner or consultant levels across a wide range of disciplines and within a variety of settings.
It aims to give a broad grounding in core HR areas, such as:
- HR functions
- Market insight
- Business acumen
- Technical HR expertise.
Apprentices undertaking the standard can also opt to tackle specialisms, such as resourcing, rewards, organisational development and HR operations.
The level 3 standard is suitable for HR managers in SMEs or support professionals in larger organisations. It seeks to develop core skills around the function of HR, as well as wide-ranging issues like process improvement, service delivery and problem solving.
Both offer apprentices the chance to complete a relevant CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) qualification, as well as allowing them to apply for associate CIPD membership after completion.
The level 5 standard costs £9,000 and typically takes between two and three years to complete, while its level 3 counterpart is capped at £5,000 and tends to take between 18 and 24 months.
Level 4 project management apprenticeship standard
Every business undertakes projects in one form or another, and the popular level 4 project management standard offers an unparalleled diversity of application.
Sitting in funding band 9, with a maximum cap of £9,000 per apprentice, this higher-level standard takes up to two years to complete and covers a wealth of topics, such as:
Its scope is a lot broader than equivalent leadership and management standards, making it a great option for organisations looking to engage with apprenticeships for the first time.
Level 6 digital technology & solutions professional
In the 21st century, digital expertise is a must-have for business of all shapes and sizes and this degree apprenticeship can be tailored for a wide range of roles.
It covers areas like systems and data analysis, software, cyber security and network infrastructure. Key skills around systems development, varied uses of data modelling and IT project management will be built, along with a whole host of holistic ICT-related issues.
By the end of the course, your apprentice will be au fait with:
- Building business cases for new technology investments
- Contemporary techniques for deploying and documenting software systems
- How to protect systems from common vulnerabilities
- Aligning technology solutions with business needs
- IT project management.
Apprentices can also opt to specialise as a software engineer, IT consultant , business analyst, cyber security specialist or network engineer.
Sitting in funding band 15, the standard costs £27,000 and typically takes 36 months to complete.
Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship
This wide-ranging degree apprenticeship is ideal for upskilling managers in private, public or third sector organisations and is ideal for people in roles such as:
- Senior manager
- Head of department
- Operations manager.
It’s aimed at those who want to seek to bolster a broad range of management and leadership skills, including strategic decision making, building teams, fostering inclusive and ethical cultures and developing stakeholder relationships.
Core topic areas include:
- Organisational performance
- Interpersonal skills
- Personal effectiveness
The chartered manager degree apprenticeship usually takes four years to complete, however, previous experience may necessitate a shorter length. Upon completion, apprentices will gain a degree in management and business and can apply for membership with the Chartered Management Institute and/or the Institute of Leadership & Management.
It’s another band 15 standard and as such, costs £27,000.
Level 6 senior compliance/risk specialist
This degree-level apprenticeship also sits in funding band 15 and over the course of three years, will give apprentices a firm grounding in a wide variety of compliance and risk-related topics.
While primarily aimed at financial services organisations, the role can be tailored to specific functions within a variety of businesses. Upon completion, apprentices will be able to offer high quality input and advice to their organisations on issues like financial crime, compliance, modelling and risk.
Core knowledge requirements include:
- Systems and process
- Risk and compliance frameworks
- Industry and company understanding
- Customers and products
- Specialist risk (such as liquidity, capital and conduct)
On top of the core requirements, apprentices will choose a specialism, such as financial crime, compliance, specialist risk or a focus on compliance and risk for smaller organisations.
Your apprentice will be able to gain a relevant, degree-level qualification from a professional body, as well as being able to apply for professional membership with their awarding body.
And if you’re looking for bespoke advice on setting up your first apprenticeship programme, book an obligation-free chat with our Levy Team or download our complimentary eBook guide on the Apprenticeship Levy and associated reforms right now: