Recruitment firm shares out £93k of apprenticeship funding

Management at a Midlands recruitment agency have redistributed more than £90,000 of apprenticeship levy funding to help tackle the growing skills gap in the UK.

Encore Personnel, which employs more than 200 staff and operates 10 branches across the region, has decided to offer its surplus funding to other businesses and charities this Christmas.

The Leicester headquartered business specialises in warehousing, manufacturing, logistics and engineering recruitment and currently has a surplus apprenticeship levy pot of £93,000 – enough to pay for around 18 apprenticeships.

Company learning and development manager Nikki Westwood said government rules on apprenticeships mean a business can transfer up to 25 per cent of its annual levy funds to another company or charity, regardless of whether they pay the levy themselves.

Ms Westwood said: “As an apprenticeship levy payer, we have found in practice that we accrue more funds than we can spend on internal apprenticeships each year.

“As a passionate advocate of the power of apprenticeships done properly, we want to make as many businesses as possible aware of our surplus pot so that we can help them bring new talent into their organisations too.

“The levy is brilliant for several reasons, namely that it enables companies to fund apprenticeships so that they can up-skill their staff and in doing so, bridge the skills gap.

“But it also means that bigger businesses can support smaller businesses by transferring any unspent funds, which is exactly what our Directors have decided we should do.

“It is the first time we have offered our levy pot to other organisations, so we’re eager to see the level of interest and variety of enquiries that come in.”

HR director Cindy Gunn said: “Apprenticeships are a great way to add skills to your team and make sure these skills are embedded directly into the work environment.

“They do have an impact with regards to time, albeit training providers always try and gloss over this point – but overall, with a bit of commitment on both sides, you end up with an engaged, motivated and up-skilled employee.

“Of course, it does rely on the effectiveness of the training provider – I’ve seen good, bad and indifferent examples.

“A good apprenticeship training provider will engage regularly with your employee, build a relationship with the line manager, take time to understand the needs of the business and flex the training to suit business needs.”

Ms Westwood said: “For those businesses or charities interested in receiving a transfer from our levy pot, our main takeaway is this – apprenticeships do involved investment from within your business, namely the time it takes to ensure an apprentice is settled in and progressing, but it pays dividends in the long run when you see the end results of a successful apprenticeship.

“The transfer itself is a simple process and we will talk your business through the steps as well as the conditions of the transfer.

“We’d love to hear from any business that thinks this funding might give them the boost they need this festive season.”

Encore was launched in 2001 and places 4,000 workers each week in work.

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