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08 Jun Setting up UK employers for failure

It’s interesting that in the current Apprenticeship climate of being ’employer led’, we continue to see an uncomfortable number of household names fail an Ofsted Inspection.  It’s interesting because these public failings are being published at the same time that employers are being encouraged to take greater ownership. A week doesn’t go by when Apprenticeships, Levy, Skills Shortages and businesses aren’t mentioned.  But, will more large employers do so if the end result is that seen at Intercontinental Hotels Group, G4S and now Citroen?

There are differences in the underlying detail and context for each Inspection, however there also seem to be some foundations which are at best fragile, and at worst, absent.

There is a rub with employers being encouraged to own their own apprenticeship delivery, even if they don’t do the delivery themselves (like Citroen) – they are often influenced by either the Skills Funding Agency, or by a 3rd party provider – who presumably is seeking to be the employers sub contracted provider.  Larger employers taking control and ownership of their own apprenticeship delivery is a good thing (IMO), but the process and expertise to get them there is lacking.

The sector shouldn’t ‘gloss over’ the accountability and requirements that a large employer needs to understand, and large employers should ensure that they have an appropriate level of expertise and skills internally in order to make the right decision regarding direct contracting for their business.

My suggestions for large employers reading the Citroen headlines:

1. If you believe apprenticeships are good for your business, there is a delivery model that will work for you.

2. If you don’t have internal expertise in apprenticeship delivery and contractual requirements of the Skills Funding Agency – make sure you buy some in to help you.  Work with them on Concept>Strategies>Structures>Operating Models>Resource Planning>Implementation – then decide which model is right for your business.

3. Understand where other large employers have fallen at the Inspection hurdle and search out the positive stories too.

4. Whichever delivery model you choose, make sure your senior managers own the accountability of it – it’s the difference between your workforce and business seeing the output as a benefit or not.

As a plug – Optima provide exactly this expertise and capacity for businesses wanting to take ownership over their own delivery of Apprenticeships.