Which training incentive scheme offers the best outcome for my business?  

By Joe Crossley, CEO of Qube Learning  

How can employers make the right choice for their business needs, benefit from government funding and aid existing and future employees? This Incentive Calculator compares and contrasts each scheme to help employers understand the differences.  

 From traineeships and apprenticeships to the recently launched Kickstart Scheme, the right choice will depend on factors including staff needs, company cash flow, seasonal peaks in industry and even specialist experience or training. That’s where our incentive calculator comes in.  

How can I take part in Kickstart Scheme? 

The Kickstart Scheme might be right for you as funding can cover 100 per cent of the national minimum wage or national living wage depending on the age of the participant for 25 hours per week for a total of six months. Funding can also be used to cover associated employer National Insurance contributions or employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. 

The Kickstart Scheme1 launched on 2nd September 2020 to provide funding to employers to create job placements which can start anytime until December 2021 across a whole multitude of sectors including retail, care, logistics, hospitality and business to name just a few It is aimed at 16 to 24-yearolds on Universal Credit and businesses of all sizes can apply for funding, although there is one caveat.  

To qualify, employers must make an application for a minimum of 30 job placements which for many smaller businesses might not be possible. In this case smaller organisations can team up through a Kickstart gateway where collectively 30 placements can be provided. Local authorities, charities, trade bodies and training providers, like Qube Learning, can help facilitate this collective action.  

For employers this is an excellent opportunity to not only grow business but also invest in young people providing them with path to grow their careers when many are struggling amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.  By working with a gateway, you’ll also receive additional support that guides you through the Kickstart process and through Jobcentre Plus find suitable applicants for the job placements you offer.  

Traineeships vs Apprenticeships  

Traineeships are designed to speedily secure a young person’s progression in a positive way, whether that’s to an apprenticeship or to further employment by learning within a work environment. 

Apprenticeships are jobs that provide high quality training to ensure that an apprentice is fully competent in their occupation, preparing them for a successful career. Traineeships can often be a successful route for individuals looking to qualify for an apprenticeship. 

A traineeship is a skills development programme that includes a work placement. It is designed for young people aged 16 to 24, unqualified or qualified up to a Level 3 (A level or equivalent) whose preference is to find a job or apprenticeship but who may lack the skills and experience sought by employers. Unlike, an apprenticeship, a traineeship is a programme of learning and skills development, it is not a job.  

Programmes can last from six weeks up to a year, though most tend to last less than six months. In 2019, 75 per cent of trainees started an apprenticeship, employment, or further learning within 12 months of starting the traineeship. 2  

In July 2020 the Chancellor provided additional investment for 30,000 new traineeshipsand employers could also access new work placement incentive of up to £1,000 per learner for up to ten trainees in over nine regions.  Traineeships bring many benefits for employers. Firstly, high-quality traineeship when partnered with a training provider, such as Qube Learning, ensures that a tailored programme is developed to suit your business needs.  

Secondly, bringing in enthusiastic young people into your business injects the workforce with renewed energy and ensures you capture the best talent before they are snapped up by competitors.  Working with trainees will also give established members of staff the chance to develop their skills in mentoring and coaching young people. Lastly, traineeships will allow you to shape the skills and experience of young people from your local community, helping your business to develop a loyal and talented workforce and establish a positive business reputation 

Apprenticeships are designed to enhance an individual’s level of confidence by developing their practical skillsTo ensure that apprentices qualify fully equipped for their chosen field when completed, apprenticeships each have a set of ‘Standards’. Throughout the apprenticeship, candidates monitor their learning against these Standards and must show that they have full understanding of them as part of the End-Point Assessment.   

In line with government recovery plans following Covid-19employers taking on an apprentice aged 16-18 (or aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan) will be given a £3,000 incentive (£1,000 as part of a previous incentive, and £2,000 under the new plan) Itaking on someone aged 19-24 employers will be given a £2,000 incentive under the new government plan; and if aged 25+ will be given a £1,500 incentive 

These payments will be made directly to employers in two equal instalments, when the apprentice reaches their first ninety days and then on day 365 of their programme. To be eligible to receive these particular incentives, apprentices must not have been employed by the employer within the six months prior to the apprenticeship contract start date 

There are many benefits to apprenticeships for employers. In Qube Learning’s recent survey, 81 per cent of apprentice employers said that apprentices make their businesses more productive. Through government incentives available, apprenticeships can reduce training and recruitment costs whilst also developing a skilled, motivated and qualified workforce. And there is a direct correlation between a motivated workforce and improved customer satisfaction.  

Importantly, apprenticeships are not just for new staff. They can also be an important tool for upskilling existing employees. Further training to your staff will give them knowledge and capabilities required to work more efficiently. These skills may come from an apprenticeship that is not necessarily linked directly with the position. For example, a Level 3 Team Leader apprenticeship is relevant across multiple sectors and can help develop natural born leadershelping to secure your business’s future.   

New Year, new training horizons  

The New Year brings a positive opportunity to engage with these government incentives, I encourage all employers to embrace these options available.  Traineeships, apprenticeships and Kickstart Scheme can be used to build long-term specialist skills and retain staff, renew learning and enthusiasm and develop a stronger workforce for British businesses 

For more information on any of the schemes talked about here, contact Qube Learning via tellmemore@qube-learning.co.uk.