Funding is available to help North Yorkshire businesses invest in staff development through the delivery of apprenticeships within their workforce for new and existing staff.
As a large employer, North Yorkshire County Council and schools are required to pay an Apprenticeship Levy at the rate of 0.5% of their pay bill under the government’s apprenticeship scheme introduced some years ago. The levy can be spent on apprenticeship training, but it is not possible for the council and schools to fully spend the amount of levy they pay, due to specific features of the scheme such as the need for 20 per cent to involve “off the job” learning; apprenticeship standards not being available for many roles and limitations for part time staff.
In order to reduce the amount of unspent levy funds returned to the treasury, the council has adopted a strategy to transfer up to 25 per cent of its apprenticeship levy fund to other employers in the county. The focus is on supporting employers delivering services in North Yorkshire, or providing community services, by boosting the number of high-quality apprenticeships on offer in key areas of industry and supporting the social and economic needs of the county.
A total of 41 employers have already taken advantage of the County Council’s Levy Transfer offer since 2019, allowing them to train 152 apprenticeships across the county. They include organisations in the care sector, construction, digital and voluntary sector. So far, North Yorkshire County Council has allocated approximately £1m worth of funding.
Justine Brooksbank, Assistant Chief Executive for Business Support:
This week is National Apprenticeship Week and we want to highlight the huge benefits to both organisations and employees through the use of apprenticeships.
By transferring some of our levy to help fund apprenticeship training and learning for other business, we are reinvesting back into the North Yorkshire community and helping organisations meet the social and economic needs of the county.
In partnership with Scarborough District Council, the County Council has supported employers through levy transfer to access training provided by the Coastal Communities Government Grant Funded Project, Scarborough Construction Skills Village. The project aims to support local residents into apprenticeships and jobs within the construction industry, with the ability to access training in Scarborough, helping prevent that drain of local talent.
Graham Ratcliffe, runs the Skills Village, which trains up apprentices for all areas of the construction industry on a full-scale, mock-building site in Scarborough. It trains up people in joinery, brickwork, ground work, plastering, plumbing and electrical work.
Graham Ratcliffe said:
Apprenticeships can be a great opportunity for a young person to earn a salary while they learn, but they also provide opportunity for people wanting to upskill. For instance, if there is an individual who is working as a general labourer and wants to learn a trade such as joinery or plastering, we can support them to get an apprenticeship within that trade.
Apprenticeships are a good way of retaining people and are good for small or medium employers who want to build their business organically.
They also benefit the area as a whole. Young people no longer have to go out of the area to learn.
Receiving apprenticeship levy transfer funding has also helped the County’s care sector in attracting and retaining staff by increasing their skills and progressing their careers.
Joanne Rowntree, manager of Gravers Care Home said:
The levy funding that we received from North Yorkshire County Council has greatly benefited our staff team and our organisation. It has enabled our staff to work towards a qualification needed to help them build a career in health care.
More than 50 per cent of the apprentices funded so far work in care settings across the County and at a time of national crisis in the recruitment of care staff it’s important for the County Council to be able to support local employers to upskill new and existing staff.
The arts centre and outreach charity, Rural Arts, in Thirsk, is one of the community organisations to have benefited from the council’s apprenticeship levy transfer fund which can also be used for management qualifications.
Max May, Director and Chief Executive Officer of Rural Arts, is completing the Senior Leadership Apprenticeship, which includes an MBA in Management after he was awarded money from the levy.
Max was appointed director of the charity in 2019, but had first joined the organisation via a publicly funded internship in 2014. After leaving to work with an award-winning arts charity in London, he then returned to Thirsk to take up his post at the head of the organisation.
Because I have received funding for the apprenticeship, it means I’m able to pursue this qualification while I work and get the skills to support my organisation and the team around me.
If community organisations make use of this resource made available by the county council, we can make sure we’re responding to the changing needs of our communities, particularly after the pandemic.