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Getting the most from apprenticeship funding

Why not use your school's apprenticeship funding for staff training opportunities?

Posted by Hannah Vickers | August 08, 2017 | Law, finance, HR

By Hadyn Luke, Director of CMS Vocational Training (CMSVOC) and CMS Fitness Courses (CMSFitness)

As from May 2017, schools and academies maintained by local authorities can use their apprenticeship levy funds to pay for qualifications for both existing and new staff. Why not train staff and maximise your school’s apprenticeship funding via the use of L&M qualifications, AAT qualifications and Business Admin qualifications?  

What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

The apprenticeship reforms are designed to support an increase in the quality and quantity of apprenticeships. The Levy will enable the government to double its investment in apprentices by 2020 from levels in 2010, to £2.5 billion. The reforms will give employers more control of choosing, designing and paying for apprenticeship training. 

As of April 2017, the Apprenticeship Levy is paid by employers that have an annual pay bill of more than £3 million.

How the Levy changes will affect schools and academies 

Whilst the reforms are described by the government as an ‘apprenticeship’ levy, the available funds can be used to pay for qualifications for students up to post graduate level.

The age or number of hours worked no longer affect who is able to apply for training. If they are able to determine they will learn substantial new skills, school and academy staff with previous qualifications may also be able to access the training.

How educational institutions can maximise the Levy

It’s no secret that the rapid academisation of the education system in Britain is resulting in significant changes to the sector. As Tilden Watson, Head of Education for Zurich Municipal wrote in an article on ‘Quality on a tight budget: the challenge of academy leaders,’ for Academy Today, leadership in schools are taking on vastly increased powers and responsibility in relation to business and budget management.

Leadership teams have unprecedented freedom over spending decision - Tilden Watson, Head of Education for Zurich Municipal

“Leadership teams have unprecedented freedom over spending decision,” writes Watson. The apprenticeship reforms present new opportunities for leaders in schools to develop and train staff. By training existing staff and enabling them to gain further qualifications, the training reforms could have a positive impact on the challenges schools are faced with in relation to management and leadership, as well as recruitment and staff retention.

As the East Riding of Yorkshire Council states in a feature on how schools and academies can maximise the use of their training levy:

“The council’s Organisational Development Team will assist schools to maximise use of the funds in supporting succession planning and addressing recruitment and retention.”

Using the annual Levy contribution funds to provide staff with vocational training can help improve the running of schools and academies.  

Improving school leadership and management is a principle aim of the academisation of educational establishments in Britain. By offering both new and existing staff the chance to train and gain vocational credentials, the running of schools is likely to be improved, inevitably benefitting both staff and students

Improving school leadership and management is a principle aim of the academisation of educational establishments in Britain. By offering both new and existing staff the chance to train and gain vocational credentials, such as L&M qualifications, AAT qualifications and Business Admin qualifications, the running of schools is likely to be improved, inevitably benefitting both staff and students.

The rapid academisation of schools has brought changes to the education system, as has the Apprenticeship Levy to the way training will be funded and managed. Such changes provide fresh opportunities for school management to efficiently train staff with the vocational skills they need to bring greater efficiency to the leadership, management and the day-to-day running of schools.

Consequently, using your school’s apprenticeship funding to train staff with important professional skills through quality vocational courses and training could be the best way to maximise the apprenticeship reforms for your school. 

Hadyn is a published author, his research for his Masters in Sports Science at Leeds Metropolitan University was published in a scientific journal. He is also the author of hundreds of blogs on the CMSFitness and CMSVOC sites. 

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