Education providers urged to take advantage of employer-led demand for apprenticeships

A “huge opportunity” for education and training providers has been created by a growing employer-led demand for apprenticeships, a new Chartered Management Institute (CMI) white paper claims.

The Skills First: Connecting employers, further education and training providers paper, is published as over 700,000 students collect and digest their GCSE results and ponder their future education choices.

Based on discussions from CMI’s July Learning Provider conference – attended by more than 70 education providers – it assesses the opportunities arising from the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy and future employer needs for professionally skilled workers in a post-Brexit economy.

The conference marked the official launch of new level three and level five management and leadership apprenticeships, set to start in September.

The schemes were developed by a group of 30 employers led by Serco and Civil Service Learning, and supported by CMI. They add to the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, which was launched in November 2015, providing a progression route for employers to invest in managers at all levels.

While around 200,000 new management roles need to be filled every year, CMI research finds that seven in 10 employers fail to train first-time managers. BIS data show that poor management and leadership costs the UK economy over £19bn a year through lower productivity.

It also reveals that 87% of employers report difficulties in recruiting certain key skills, and that 25% of all job openings in 2015 were left vacant because employers could not find people with the right skills or knowledge. Employers recognise the return on investment in apprenticeships, with 70% saying they improve quality and service.

CMI’s director of strategy Petra Wilton said: “There are huge opportunities for education and training providers to deliver the programmes employers want to grow their people and boost their performance.

“Employers will need 1.9m new managers by 2024, which means that top of their shopping list must be management and leadership apprenticeships. The Apprenticeship Levy and Brexit will undoubtedly transform employer spending on skills and education providers need to be ready to jump on that.”