eLearning Business Sees Benefits of Apprenticeships
While the focus this week is on the large employers that will make their first levy payments, SMEs around the county can also benefit from the apprenticeship funding reforms.
SMEs, or those with a wage bill under the £3m threshold, will not pay into the apprenticeship online account to fund their apprenticeships, but will instead make only a 10% contribution for any apprenticeship training they have delivered. The remaining 90% will be paid for by the Government.
In addition, they will also receive £1,000 incentive payments for recruiting 16-18 year old apprentices and if they employ less than 50 people will have their contribution costs for this age group waivered.
One Gloucestershire business that is already benefitting from apprentices ahead of the levy launch, is Learning Nexus, an organisation that provides the latest in eLearning technology.
Currently employing two apprentices within their front line support operations, Learning Nexus were initially only looking to cover a period of maternity leave. They now use their apprentices to support other areas of the business too, including marketing and production, such is their desire to learn new skills and help where possible. Both apprentices are currently planning on enhancing their mobile application skills to help develop a new app for the business.
Both apprentices are working towards an advanced apprenticeship in ICT Professional Competence, Level 3 qualification and work at the centre of Learning Nexus’ support desk, providing customers with help and support with their eLearning services. This front line role provides varying challenges for the apprentices and forces them to think logically and use the resources and knowledge of staff around them to help solve queries and technical issues.
The apprentices were recruited with the support of Gloucestershire College, who advertised the vacancies, and shortlisted and screened the applicants before supplying candidates for interview. The College now trains the apprentices through a combination of work-based delivery and three weeks college-based theory to teach the latest technical IT elements. In work they are supported by members of staff to help them understand internal systems and processes and are mentored by colleagues to help them enhance their skills.
Bev Hares, Implementation and Training Manager, Learning Nexus, said, “The apprentices are great at offering fresh perspectives to current practices or challenges within the business and over time are becoming more confident in offering ideas and thoughts to business discussions. They are so willing to learn and can be moulded into the business as valuable members of staff, helping us to improve productivity and flexibility.
“What has been most impressive is the speed at which the apprentices were able to get to grips with the business and the processes of which they had to adopt. They have a strong desire to learn and get involved with any project they can .This has allowed us to test their abilities and include them in a range of different projects and tasks.
“The apprentices attended the Learning Technologies event (January 2017) in London with the team – they were inquisitive and were able to provide deep insight and thoughts around what they thought about the Learning and Development industry.
“Despite Learning Nexus running for almost 30 years, with the growth of businesses now turning to eLearning as a development tool for staff, we are continuing to expand and evolve. This growth means we have ongoing requirements and new opportunities that will almost always involve a technological solution. This provides our apprentices with great career prospects and huge opportunities to grow with the business. "
For more information visit www.gloscol.ac.uk/levy or call the GC Business Hub on 01452 563403.