Employers in Northampton are being urged to reconsider their recruitment policy by employing apprentices as an opportunity to invest in their workforce and grow their business.
Businesses across the county attended a workshop staged by Northampton College to help explain the new Apprenticeship Levy, which comes into force next week.
Employers with an annual pay bill of more than £3m will be required to pay a levy of 0.5 per cent that will fund apprenticeships.
The aim of the levy is to increase the investment in training by UK employers through apprenticeships, making it a long-term solution to support growth and commitment from businesses.
James Whybrow, the assistant principal of Northampton College, said: “Getting apprentices involved in your company can revolutionise the business. It gives you the opportunity to shape your workforce for the future and really ingrain people in your company’s culture.
“By investing in people and giving them the chance to progress through the ranks you are encouraging loyalty and promoting innovation.
“The new Apprenticeship Levy is there to benefit companies both large and small, it gives employers the chance to create new jobs and enjoy the long-term benefits of an engaged and enthusiastic workforce.”
The workshop saw representatives from Grant Thornton, Howes Percival, John Lewis and The University of Northampton speak to businesses on the implications the Apprenticeship Levy would have on HR practices, employment law and funding.
The government has made a commitment to provide 90 per cent of the cost of training an apprentice to businesses that are too small to pay the levy, with Northampton College featuring in a list of approved training providers from which employers can select where to source their future workers.
Northampton College has delivered 1,136 apprenticeships in the last year and also worked with more than 550 local businesses to ensure the success of each placement, up 29 per cent on the previous year.
Mr Whybrow added: “We are committed to improving skills and delivering training and qualifications that meet the needs and demands of local employers. Apprenticeships are a key part of this and we look forward to working with local employers to help guide them through the early stages of the new levy era.”
Find out more about apprenticeships provided by Northampton College by visiting www.northamptoncollege.ac.uk/apprenticeships