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How non-levy paying businesses can benefit from the new hospitality apprenticeships – and how to get started

Annette Allmark, director of strategic policy, People 1st

With so much focus in the media on the apprenticeship levy, it may often feel like small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) who are not in scope of the levy are overlooked, yet the new apprenticeships present a significant opportunity for businesses of all sizes. Annette Allmark answers the critical questions regularly asked by SMEs.

So how can apprenticeships benefit your business?

The new apprenticeship standards are a great way to build the talent and skills in your business. They've recently been developed by employers, so you can be assured they're relevant to today's industry.  

The clear progression pathways that the new apprenticeships offer not only enable apprentices to excel in their role, but also take on new and exciting challenges and progress into future management and leadership positions. Importantly, they help staff feel valued, invested in, and ultimately more likely to stay with your business.

Apprenticeships have been around for years, what's different now?

The new apprenticeships are based on short and concise professional standards that have been set by employers. The standards clearly define the knowledge, skills and behaviours apprentices need to be fully competent in their occupation and they give businesses the flexibility and control to choose how best to train their apprentices, meaning employers can use programmes of their choice. Apprentices will prove they meet the standard through an independent end assessment, meaning outcomes across the board will be more consistent.

How much do apprenticeships cost?

The maximum cost of a hospitality apprenticeship ranges from £5000 to £9000, depending on which standard you are looking at – however, as a non-levy paying business, you will only pay 10% of this cost.

What support is available to SMEs from government to help fund apprenticeships?

  • 90% of training costs for businesses with a pay bill of less than £3 million
  • 100% of training costs for small businesses that employ apprentices aged 16-18 (small businesses are defined as those with less than 50 employees)
  • £1,000 extra to both the employer and training provider when employing an apprentice aged 16-18

Are there any other funds available?

The great news for SMEs is that from April 2018, employers who pay the apprenticeship levy will be able to transfer apprenticeship funds to other organisations, for example to businesses in their supply chain or industry.

Where do we start?

The most successful apprenticeships are those that are an integral part of an employer’s overall business strategy. You should consider:

  • What the business is trying to achieve from apprenticeships. You need to have in place a clear vision and goals.
  • What the business priorities are. Consider recruitment, retention, succession plans, skills development needs, future skills needs and business expansion.

What are the key things to consider in getting your business ready to offer apprenticeships?

  1. Identify the potential roles in your business that are applicable for an apprentice.
  2. Think about whether you need to recruit a new apprentice or develop an existing employee.
  3. Identify possible training providers. Our network of gold standard apprenticeship providers is a great place to start. When buying apprenticeship training from a provider, you should:
    • Negotiate the price – the ‘maximum price’ is the upper limit, it’s not the price you have to pay
    • When negotiating however it’s also important that it’s not a race to the bottom – quality is critical for businesses and apprentices
    • Make sure you tell potential providers if you already do any in-house training as you may not have to pay to do it again
    • Don’t necessarily settle for the first provider that comes along - try to meet with two or three to decide which is the best fit for your business

Where can you find out more?

We recently ran a webinar in association with the British Hospitality Association and ALMR, which provides a greater level of detail about the new apprenticeships and how to get started. It also features Adam Rowledge, general manager of the Georgian House Hotel - a 60 bedroom B&B located in London with 46 employees, 25% of which are undertaking apprenticeships - who shares his views on how SMEs can get the best from apprenticeships.

You can view the webinar and access the presentation slides used with the webinar here.

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