This week we have seen the release of the annual Qualification Achievement Rates (QAR) for the 2015/16 academic year. These are an important benchmark that all centrally funded education and training organisations are measured by, including Independent Training Providers (ITP’s) like us here at ICON. 76% of all apprenticeships delivered across England are delivered by ITP’s.
The annual QAR data is really useful for prospective learners and employers to be able to gauge the quality of the learning that will take place during an apprenticeship, the support they will receive and the likelihood that they will complete the apprenticeship programme in full.
We are very proud to announce that here at ICON, alongside our Ofsted Grade 1 rating for the delivery of Apprenticeships, we also received the best 2015/16 Qualifications Achievement Rating across the entire National Provider network. We have remained constant or significantly improved each year, but this year our QAR results are the best yet!
From an employer perspective they will ultimately benefit from working with an organisation that has the best overall QAR to ensure the best outcome from their investment. The latest ‘Apprenticeship Reforms’ now require most employers to make a financial commitment to each apprenticeship programme with all but the smallest employers (under 50 employees) contributing from 10% and the largest up to 100% of programme costs. Employers will want to ensure that they are investing in a long-term prospect, when it comes to employee training and support, and that the chances of each apprentice successfully completing the programme are high.
Furthermore, there are several incentives and savings to be gained by working with a quality training provider both in terms of getting the best out of employees and also accessing the financial incentives that the Government makes available.
Incentives and benefits can include:
- If you employ a 16-18-year-old there is a potential financial incentive available of £1000 per person. However this only comes into play when the employee completes a 12-month minimum duration apprenticeship programme. If you are working with an organisation that struggles to complete qualifications with their apprentices, then the employer could forfeit this incentive.
- All employed apprentices under 25 years of age are exempt from employer National Insurance contributions for the duration of their apprenticeship. If apprentices do no not complete the programme then employers are losing out on an opportunity to reduce their HMRC contributions
- With the introduction of the National Living Wage (NLW), the Government has offered employers the option to reduce wages to as low as £3.40 p/h while the individuals continue to train and work towards becoming a fully contributing member of staff. Whilst ICON believes that all employee payments should be incremental based on achievement, building to the NLW and NMW across the duration of their apprenticeship, if apprentices are not completing their training, employers risk continually employing low qualified, low paid staff.
- Investing in staff apprenticeships is not the whole story there are also on-going CPD costs for additional training such as first aid, lifeguarding, customer service and management training, a requirement in many work places in our sector. If employers have a high turnover rate of apprentices, before they complete their programme, then the investment can be lost. Working with organisations on building this sort of CPD into each apprentice journey, means staff remain motivated and keep up to date on necessary skills.
- Recruitment costs money through advertising and the interview process as well as the time lost between filling vacancies. If you have invested time and money in developing individuals and employing them as an apprentice, you don’t want to be constantly refilling those vacancies and losing the skill base you build each time. Ensuring your apprentices stay interested, engaged and motivated in their role and on-going development is crucial to maintaining healthy retention rates.
The Government publishes the QAR data for all prospective apprentices and employers of apprentices to see. Rather than trawl through each set of data, ICON has summarised the national organisations that deliver Sport, Leisure and Physical Activity qualifications below. You can also search your local area to see the best organisations providing apprenticeships closest to you at the Find A Provider link on the Government website.