In a matter of weeks, the way the government funds apprenticeships in England will change. The apprenticeship levy is going to be a game-changer because the funding pot will give employers a further incentive to look at their training provision across a range of areas, including existing learning and development programmes and graduate schemes. The levy should go some way to help the government achieve its target to fund three million places for apprentices by 2020.
At Servest, this is music to our ears – we were waving the ‘apprenticeship’ flag long before the idea of a levy to fund future placements was even on the horizon. Apprenticeships are a valuable part of the UK economy and the levy should improve the prospects for young people entering employment. What’s more, the ongoing focus on apprenticeships should help freshen up the approach to learning and career development as a whole, which will be of benefit to both current and future employees.
Organisations should be both willing and able to open their doors to the next generation. The levy should help with this. It should also encourage businesses to proactively figure out where training is most needed if they’re to make the most of the fresh blood entering the market. If you’re to attract new talent, you need to give people something to get excited about – especially those who are hungry to develop their skills and excel in their career of choice. As business leaders, I believe we have a responsibility to offer young people and entry-level candidates a progression path – not only because doing so will help the employment landscape, but also because an influx of new people means an influx of new ideas. The name of the game is innovation, and it’s crucial to the continuing success of any organisation.
For National Apprenticeship Week, we travelled to various colleges and events around the country to educate and advise on our apprenticeship programme, Hidden Talent. Our programme gives people of all ages the opportunity to gain experience in different departments at Servest, from head office and sales to operations and IT. Through visiting existing and potential employees and sharing knowledge on the Hidden Talent programme, we hoped to highlight the various qualifications and advantages of apprenticeship schemes.
It’s fair to say that facilities management isn’t naturally the first choice for young people entering the world of work, mainly due to lack of awareness. If FM organisations create inroads for young people to explore the possibilities of the industry, then this will help with talent attraction and retention. The strongest divisions in companies have the strongest succession plans; and managerial success is often quantified by the quality of the people coming up from underneath the managers in question. Apprenticeships place the onus on the quality of the leadership in question.
Since Servest has implemented an array of L&D initiatives, the business has seen an increase in internal promotions and movement from 10 per cent to 31 per cent. Nurturing internal talent can improve both turnover rates and business performance. Employees are more likely to be engaged if their employer has invested in their development. If people feel valued, they’re more likely to give it their all as a way of saying ‘thank you’. Offering people a chance to be able to carve out a career for themselves is the best way to inspire and motivate the lifeblood of your business.