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The Apprenticeship Levy - An Assessment Perspective

April 6, 2017

The Apprenticeship Levy is upon us. April sees the introduction of a 0.5% charge on the wage bill of all organisations’ whose PAYE is above £3m. Affected organisations are able to claw back a percentage of this levy for every apprentice they employ and train, with the overall aim being to increase the number of apprentices employed in the UK to 3m. This is a rise of just under 30% from the 2016 number. In short, large organisations will be increasing the number of apprentices they recruit, interview and assess.

Apprenticeships have changed over the years. There are now four levels of apprenticeships; intermediate, advanced, higher and degree.

  • Intermediate level is equivalent to 5 GCSE Grades A*- C and NVQ level 2.
  • Advanced level is equivalent to A-levels, NVQ level 3 or a BTEQ Diploma.
  • Higher level is equivalent to a foundation degree, NVQ level 4 or a BTEQ Professional Qualification.
  • Degree level is equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree.

Within these four levels there are an additional seven sublevels. The breadth of apprenticeships mean organisations will need to think differently about how they attract, assess and recruit. Traditionally, ‘Early Career’ recruitment teams focused approximately 80% of their efforts on graduates and 20% of their time on Apprenticeships. Now they will need to consider four different core levels of apprentice as well as their graduate intakes.

The five key challenges they will face are:

  • The increase in volumes. They will need the infrastructure and the resource to be able to manage this increase. This is not just processing candidates but also assessing and giving feedback. They need to find ways of doing this efficiently.
  • The complexity of the varying levels. They will need to ensure the criteria they are assessing candidates against are a realistic reflection of the abilities and behaviours required at each level. They will need experts to ensure they do this properly.
  • The content of the assessment processes. The materials and content will need to be engaging, fun and current. They will need to demonstrate that the business is forward looking, strategic and ambitious.
  • They will need to use Technology. This is Generation Z, they like things mobile, simple and digital. If the organisations are not using technology as part of the recruitment process, they will be seen as inferior to their competitors who are. Gamification, video and high fidelity are just some of the methods of delivery they will need to consider in both their online and face to face assessments.
  • Return on Investment and Talent Analytics. Proving this increased investment and apprentice recruitment is worthwhile will be vital. This means properly tracking everything from the effectiveness of the online tests, assessment centres and interviews to demonstrating how the apprentices have improved the talent pipeline of the business in 5 and 10 years’ time. This will require proper, real time data collection of their performance, achievements and impact over this period of time.

We can help you align your assessment techniques to enable you to assess and recruit the right Apprentices for your organisation. Give us a call today on +44(0)1483 752 900 or email us.