The UK is facing a growing digital skills gap – and apprenticeships represent one piece of the puzzle for tackling this problem.
In recent years, funding has allowed businesses of all sizes to bring apprentices into their organisations. And now a new door has opened, giving small businesses an opportunity to access more money.
This is thanks to rule changes for the Government’s apprenticeship levy. It means Fujitsu will be one of the first large organisations in the country to offer 25% of its contribution to small businesses.
This initiative provides a potential pot of gold for small firms for training and developing staff, while also supporting the wider economy. Let me explain how this will work.
Addressing the STEM skills gap key to COVID-recovery
Using this allocation of money from Fujitsu, which totals in the hundreds of thousands of pounds, we specifically want to support organisations with career paths in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths). STEM is an area which continues to be a focal point of the UK’s skills gap, and the events of the last year have only increased this further.
Research from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) found two thirds of SMEs believe COVID-19 has highlighted a skills gap in their organisation. The most common gap (42%) is in relation to digital skills.
In a STEM career path, an apprenticeship offers on the job experience, helping learners get to grips with the latest tools, trends, and technology. This is essential for an industry where the pace of change is often faster than the time it takes to complete other education routes, such as a degree.
On top of this, apprenticeship training goes hand-in-hand with the economic recovery from COVID-19. This initiative gives people the opportunity to retrain or upskill, and doesn’t have to be restricted to school leavers.
How does the Apprenticeship Levy work?
Organisations with a yearly wage bill larger than £3 million are by law required to pay a 0.5% tax into the Government’s apprenticeship levy. This can then be used by the same company to fund apprenticeship training from a government-managed pot.
Only 2% of employers pay this levy, but this alone has helped support nearly half of all apprentices since 2017/18, according to the UK Government.
The new rules mean levy-paying companies such as Fujitsu will be able to choose how 25% of our contribution is allocated. It means if you are a business based in England, with an annual payroll lower than £3 million, you could benefit from this funding. The only ask from us is the training goes towards a STEM subject or career.
If you are interested in applying for funding from the Fujitsu apprenticeship levy, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch with Sherrie Warrington at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
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