Annual apprenticeships return

The report for the year 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 with the following data:

Employees
Employees who work in EnglandNumber
Number of employees who were working in England on 31 March 2017 3,404
Number of employees who were working in England on 31 March 2018 3,239
Number of new employees who starting working in England between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018 2,622
Number of new employees who starting working in England between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018 385
Apprentices
Apprentices who work in EnglandNumber
Number of apprentices who were working in England on 31 March 2017 24
Number of apprentices who were working in England on 31 March 2018 21
Number of apprentices in England between 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 (includes both new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship 21

Actions that have been taken help progress towards meeting the public sector target

  • Recruitment processes have been amended to take account of new apprenticeship starts
  • A cross council working group was set up to support implementation and promotion of apprenticeships
  • Sponsorship in place from senior leaders
  • All approved recruitment is considered as a possible opportunity for an apprenticeship by the council's corporate leadership team
  • Apprenticeships from part of the corporate learning and development offer and are promoted accordingly
  • Conversion of existing employees to an apprenticeship to achieve a qualification that would otherwise have been funded by the service through a different route

Factors that impacted ability to meet target

  • £142.7 million has been reduced from the council's budget up to the end of 2018/19. As a result there are very strict controls on recruitment which limits the opportunities to create new apprenticeship starts
  • Converting existing employees to apprenticeships results in a 20% reduction in capacity due to the required time away from the job. Budget pressures there have led to almost 1000 redundancies since 2011 and therefore capacity is already extremely limited
  • Apprenticeship funding is clawed back if not spent within 24 months and if this could be used to fund apprenticeship salaries the number of new apprenticeship starts could be increased
  • Capacity to manage the work associated with this given that the levy cannot be used to fund any administrative time
  • We have a high % of part time workers in the workforce
  • Due to lack of timely national guidance and support it took time to get up and running
  • The complexity of procurement processes for training providers and agreement of contracts was a significant piece of work which has contributed to a slow start
  • The complexity of sharing our digital apprenticeship system with all maintained schools is very time consuming and bureaucratic
  • Training providers have taken time to decide/confirm their offer due to the complexity of standards versus frameworks
  • The reporting rules only allow the inclusion of apprenticeships in the year they have begun and many apprenticeships last 18 months and up to 4 years and these reduce the council’s capacity to offer additional apprenticeship starts

How are we planning to ensure we meet the target in future?

  • All approved recruitment will continue to be considered as a possible opportunity for an apprenticeship by the council's corporate leadership team
  • Apprenticeships will remain part of the corporate learning and development offer and will be continually promoted 
  • Conversion of existing employees to an apprenticeship will continue where capacity allows and this makes sound business sense
  • Unfortunately despite the above the council may not meet the target as a result of continuing budget pressures, the requirement for existing employees to have 20% ‘off the job’ training and the inability to use our levy funding for salaries for new apprenticeship starts