With the government committed to delivering three million apprenticeships by 2020, which is not that far away, apprenticeships are high profile right now.
The introduction of the Apprentice Levy in April 2017 (a mandatory tax to be paid to HMRC), will benefit the employee workforce for larger businesses with a payroll bill of £3million.The intention of the levy is to help fill the skills and productivity gap, lacking in the British economy and has created a new outlook to the way businesses now recruit and upskill existing employees.
At DWF we want a diverse workforce, and with the perception that legal firms only offer traditional trainee work programmes and basic admin clerk apprenticeships, the new trailblazer programme we offer has paved the way to ensure that intermediate to degree level apprenticeships are accessible to all. It is now possible to qualify as a solicitor, paralegal or chartered legal executive by completing an apprenticeship – something that was not possible a few years ago. We also provide opportunities for individuals to embark on higher-level apprenticeships within business support functions, such as HR, IT, Facilities and Finance.
We are now tapping in to the talent pool of those who are not considering university, or are looking for a career change and also upskilling our current employees.
Since 2013, DWF has had 106 apprentices, which includes new recruits and existing employees – with 87% still either working through or have completed their apprenticeship. The levy has certainly helped increase the intake of apprentices for the business, and will continue to do so.
Apprenticeship training helps employees to improve their skills, which will benefit the company in the long term. It will ensure that the skills developed are co-ordinated to the businesses future needs, and will help fill any skills gaps and allow the need to source future managers and leaders internally.
An apprenticeship encourages employees to think of their job as a career and to stay with the company for longer. Offering an apprenticeship to an existing employee shows that the business sees them as an integral part of the workforce and are happy to invest in their future.
Investing in staff trained through apprenticeships has a positive effect on a business's finances, making it more competitive.
As a business grows, employees often find their time is taken up by smaller tasks when they should be concentrating on their key areas of work.
By being able to delegate basic duties to an apprentice allows them to learn and take responsibility, whilst freeing up the time of more experienced members.
A business willing to invest in people by supporting apprenticeships is presenting a positive approach to their CSR outlook and social mobility. This is good for attracting both clients and future high-quality employees.