Travis Perkins

It has been nearly a year since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy but are we making the most of it? Verity Williams, Early Careers Manager at Travis Perkins, has successfully gone from employing 100 apprentices a year to employing over 1000. She stops by for a chat before her talk at the Early Careers In-house Recruitment Conference on 28 February.

The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced across the UK in April last year to support the wider use of apprentices to drive businesses forward. The levy is only paid by employers with a paybill in excess of £3 million, with funds going towards the training and development of fresh talent.

Investing in apprentices is a cost-effective way of growing talent and promoting productivity within your business. If used to the best of their potential, apprentices can give your team new skills and energy, while freeing up existing staff to take on more responsibility.

“We’ve always been passionate about using apprenticeships for the right reasons. The Building Materials industry as a whole struggles with diversity and an aging workforce. The average time it takes an entry-level employee to reach a managerial role, without training interventions, is 12 years. At this pace, within a few years we will end up with branches lacking the experience necessary to manage their workforce,” Verity says.

“Our whole aim is to use the apprenticeship levy to fast-track the development of our employees and get them ready for manager level in less than half the time. This development programme will have huge impact on making sure every branch operates really effectively. “

Before the levy, Travis Perkins would recruit between 60 and 100 apprentices a year. They have now boosted their apprenticeship offering to an intake of 300 apprentices every quarter, from all backgrounds and age groups. Check out some of their stories below:

“Because we are an employer provider, delivering all Apprentice programmes in-house, we had to grow our team nearly tenfold. Our part of the business is very forward-thinking so getting people excited about our work was easy. After some initial conversations, people were bought-in instantly. We’ve gone from a team of three people delivering Apprenticeships to 26 but we’re still looking to grow.

“This year we’ll also be looking at apprenticeship-specific social media channels, so we can start putting out a message about what we’re doing here. We found people aren’t very aware of our brand in the market so we need to make sure we shout about our career opportunities and what we can offer people. We use case studies from previous apprentices and we’re looking into doing more video content.”

Many businesses pay a substantial fee into the Apprenticeship Levy but fail to tackle recruitment challenges with the help of it. Verity’s talk at the In-house Recruitment Early Careers Conference helped us effectively use apprenticeships to meet our business needs, while also playing an active role in shaping our future workforce.

Verity Williams

Verity spoke about “Utilising the Apprenticeship Levy to Tackle Recruitment Challenges” at the Early Careers In-house Recruitment Conference on 28 February 2018.

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