In this article we explain why local government should engage in apprenticeships and how Damar can support you to develop an effective apprenticeship programme.
Why should councils engage with apprenticeships?
Significant changes to the way apprenticeships work have taken place over the last couple of years that make them far more valuable to local authority councils.
Firstly, the move from frameworks to standards has seen a shift from an apprenticeship as an assessment tool to a method for developing real knowledge, skills and behaviours that are applied in the workplace. This means that apprenticeships can now more effectively fill skills gaps within the public sector and deliver real return on investment. It also means that there is far more flexibility in terms of who can undertake apprenticeship training. They are not just for entry level roles, but can support the development of even the most senior staff of any age, including, in many cases, those who already hold degrees.
Secondly, all local authorities pay the Apprenticeship Levy. There is, therefore, an existing pot of funding that cannot be used for anything other than apprenticeship training, making apprenticeships a far more cost effective training solution than other types of courses.
Thirdly, the government set a target for public sector organisations to consistently have 2.3% of their workforce in apprenticeship training. Demonstrating that you are meeting or even exceeding this target shows your support and engagement with wider government strategy.
How should councils engage with apprenticeships?
Virtually all councils are engaging with apprenticeships in some form but the extent to which this is planned and linked to existing organisational strategy varies considerably. Some councils engage with apprenticeships on an ad hoc basis, only utilising the training when they get a request from a particular team or department. Others put plans in place at the time of the launch of the levy, but have not had the opportunity to revisit these plans and ensure that they are still fit for purpose.
So if you don’t have an effectively apprenticeship strategy in place, what are the factors to consider?
- Use data: Review existing strategy documents, workforce data and organisational objectives.
- Consult: Get feedback and ideas from the people in your council who have had apprentices or want to start. Finding out what works and doesn’t work for them can inform your strategy and also help you get buy-in across different teams.
- Set targets: Give yourself some really quantifiable ROI targets. This helps to drive momentum and once again, can increase buy-in by demonstrating what you could or have achieved.
- Review: Treat your strategy as a live document, which needs regular reviews as new evidence emerges.
- Align: Make sure that your apprenticeship strategy links to other workforce, change or organisational development strategies and plans.
How can we support you?
We understand the challenges that local authorities face, as well as the most effective ways to manage apprenticeship programmes in government settings. We are able to successfully partner with councils to deliver training across a variety of business and professional roles in:
- Business administration
- Customer service
As an early adopter of many of these apprenticeship standards, and with established long-term relationships with local authorities, Damar Training have been able to adapt our programmes to best fit the council environment. We offer:
- Flexible modules shaped around the specific needs of councils
- The ability to mould content to meet individual developmental needs and set learning within the context of individual’s roles
- Workshops that are engaging, accessible and relevant to council employees.
We are able to support local authorities nationally with a blended delivery model which combines teacher-led activity with personal study and peer collaboration via a range of media including virtual classrooms, online resources and tele/videoconferencing.
We have account managers who specialise in the public sector and we are currently delivering apprenticeships in over 15 local councils.
We’d love to hear from any local authorities who would like to benefit from the apprenticeship advice and training we can offer. Get in touch today to find out more about how we can work together to achieve your goals.