What is the Apprenticeship Levy?
In its most basic form, the levy is a ‘tax’ on all employers in England with an annual pay bill over £3million. It is taken, at source, by HMRC and stored in a digital account. It can only be used to pay for apprenticeship training.
Shropshire Council saw this as an opportunity to develop their workforce by attracting new talent and by training and developing existing staff.
Why was Upskill Shropshire created?
As a large employer Shropshire Council was keen to ensure that high quality apprenticeships were delivered to the workforce, whilst also demonstrating exceptional value for money. From this, the Upskill Shropshire team was born! The team is made up of individuals across the authority with different backgrounds and specialist knowledge, including procurement, HR, workforce planning and organisational development.
How do I know that the best providers are on the framework?
In short, local government procurement rules are very rigorous.
Our procurement process began in September 2016. Bringing together specialisms from across the council, a project board was created to manage the tender creation and evaluation process. Potential providers were then put through a rigorous selection process. This took into account a number of key metrics, including Ofsted reports, financial data, previous achievement rates of apprenticeships, and breadth and quality of delivery. By the end of the evaluation process 15 providers were selected to form our Upskill Shropshire provider framework.
Upskill Shropshire allocated the available apprenticeships into 24 categories. With a maximum of five providers selected per category, this ensured that only the top scoring providers were approved in each lot. We conduct a ‘mini-competition’ process for each requirement, allowing us to select the best provider on the basis of value for money and quality.
Why a framework rather than just one provider?
By selecting a mixture of local, regional and national providers, we've ensured that our framework provides the flexibility required, without compromising the high quality of apprenticeships on offer. Recognising that other employers would need to go through the same exercise, a key deliverable for Upskill Shropshire was the ability to extend the framework to other organisations.
How do you make sure that Upskill Shropshire gives the right advice?
We're continually investing in Upskill Shropshire, and are dedicated to ensuring that we can deliver access to high-quality apprenticeships for employers and their employees. We do this by proactively monitoring the performance of our providers against key criteria, looking to further develop the framework where possible, and keeping on top of news and updates from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA) and other key organisations.
Why is the government so keen on increasing apprenticeships?
The government recognised that there was a skills shortage in the UK. Apprenticeships are currently undergoing a reform, and are a high quality, work-based way of training, enabling staff to demonstrate competence relevant to their role, whilst still working and earning.
Aren't apprenticeships just for school leavers?
No. Hundreds of subjects are available, covering almost any job you could imagine, offering qualifications up to masters degree level for people of all ages.
What is an apprenticeship?
They are a high quality, work-based way of training, enabling staff to demonstrate competence relevant to their role, whilst still working and earning. Hundreds of subjects are available, covering almost any job you could imagine, offering qualifications up to masters degree level.