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What’s in a Name – Would you do a Higher Level Apprenticeship?

Anyone over the age of 50 will have a pretty good idea of what they believe an apprenticeship should be. It’s that hands on practical skill development at the knee of a master craftsman, be that an engineer, painter or bricklayer.

Then in the 1990’s the waters got all muddied as the ‘Modern Apprenticeship’ hit the workplace, and 16- 18 year olds could be apprentices to become almost anything from an administrator or customer service advisor to estate agent and window fitter. Very heavily government funded, they lost credibility as the quality of delivery and the impact of the qualification came under scrutiny.

NVQ’s (National Vocational Qualifications), were the new qualifications for people to gain in the workplace rather than at night school and they became massive paper exercises with people lugging round portfolios of every piece of paper they touched. Somehow, they never carried the weight (apart from the hefty portfolio …) that they were meant to. Fast forward to 2017 and the Apprenticeship Levy started to be bandied about – well it is here now and has confused many organisations and certainly many individuals.

Never heard of it? Let me enlighten you with a whistle stop explanation. Employers who have a salary bill exceeding £3m must put money into the levy pot. This money can only be used to fund apprenticeships; companies with a salary bill below this can still engage in apprenticeships and have to pay a % of the total cost.

Now the problem of what’s in a name becomes a bit clearer. Not everyone wants to employ lots of new young people in order to spend the pot (which incidentally they lose if it is not spent within 2 years). So, to address this, ‘Higher-Level Apprenticeships’ have been developed and they are for the more experienced team members to undertake.

There are some great qualifications out there from supervisory managers up to post-graduate level management studies, from project management programmes to consultancy programmes. The question is whether as an adult you would want to do anything that is associated with having ‘apprenticeship’ in its title? The take up is low at the moment but there are some great opportunities for personal development if that is something that you would like.

The Higher Level Apprenticeships give access to a range of professional bodies with some being delivered by universities and colleges. The assessment process is pretty rigorous and anyone getting through that will feel that they have earned their stripes.

An open mind is needed here and who knows maybe the name will be changed to attract a greater response?

Penny Whitelock FinsILM

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