Apprenticeships are not for everyone… or are they?


Who do apprenticeships actually help?

Apprenticeships, long believed to focus on 16 to 18 year old straight out of school or FE College, are still confusing many. In recent times we have seen both the system and Apprenticeships change, perhaps most significantly the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy and new standards in Apprenticeships. So who are they really for?

What are Apprenticeships?

The Apprenticeship levy was introduced in April 2017 for those employers who have a payroll over £3m per annum. Funds are deducted at source and paid in to a digital Apprenticeship levy account and these funds can only be accessed for Apprenticeship training with a registered provider.

From May 2019 unspent levy funds will be removed from digital Apprenticeship accounts and redistributed for the first time, with many employers either unaware or still unsure on how to effectively utilise their levy.

For those who have an understanding of the levy they are left with two choices:

  1. Write it off at significant cost to the business


  2. Develop an effective workforce development strategy to use their levy and support their business to reach key performance targets.

Andragogy are firmly in the latter camp; we believe making your levy work for you, your business and workforce is a winning formula.

How Apprenticeships have changed for the better

Apprenticeships themselves have undergone significant changes with the introduction of new standards that have replaced Apprenticeship frameworks and the introduction of the Institute for Apprenticeships. These new standards move away from a certificate based framework, towards competency based, with a focus on developing new skills, knowledge, and behaviours that are assessed during an end-point assessment.

It is easy to see how employers, now placed in the seat of the buyer for Apprenticeship training and managing their levy funds, can be confused. This turbulence is also seen in the dip in Apprenticeship starts from 2017 to date.

However, Apprenticeships remain an excellent workforce development and career development training option and more and more savvy employers are fully embracing this change.

It’s because of the additional support they provide to employees and businesses to develop new skills and competencies across a wide range of roles within their teams. As apprenticeships are developed in partnership with the employer and provider, there is a greater understanding and enhanced appreciation of the apprenticeship journey, and this further amplifies the benefits to all those involved.

So, who do Apprenticeships actually help?

It probably won’t surprise you that, historically, apprenticeships were started by younger employees. In 2016/17, 75% of apprenticeships were started by those aged 19 or over. What probably will surprise you is that this dropped to 71% in 2017/18.

Clearly, employers are now focusing on maximising the available benefits that can be gained from up-skilling and retraining their wider workforce, utilising their Apprenticeship levy or co-investment contributions to maximum effect.


30% vs 41%

41% of the apprenticeships started in 2017/18 were by people over the age of 24 and a further 30% were started by those aged between 19 and 24.

The gender profile has also changed. In 2017/18, 49% of apprenticeships starts were by women and 51% by men. This was the first time that more apprenticeships have been started by more men than women since 2009/10 and cements the notion that there is a greater range of apprenticeships being embraced by employers and employees.

Traditional apprenticeship routes, such as Care and Business Administration, have had a greater take up by females. However, recent figures suggest not only gender parity but also that apprenticeships have been taken up in new sectors, or in greater volumes, and seen more as a career alternative in more sectors.

What does this mean?

Apprenticeships really are for everyone. Used correctly, they can provide an excellent platform to support any business to retain, up-skill and reach their key performance targets.

“Apprenticeships really are for everyone.”

With an ever changing marketplace and many employers singling out skills shortages as the main pressure on recruitment and operational efficiency, there has never been a better time to demystify Apprenticeships and integrate the Apprenticeship levy in to workforce development strategies and budgets.

Have you accessed your Levy fund? Let us help.

Andragogy specialise in Digital Marketing Apprenticeships - over-delivering against the apprenticeship standard to help your team achieve and maintain peak performance.

Get in touch with us to access support or to learn more about our Apprenticeship ++ service or to meet with us to show your team how this could work for them.