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The Credit Services Association (CSA)
The value of apprenticeships
From CCR Magazine - January 2016
Fiona Macaskill, CSA Head of Learning & Development
Think ‘apprenticeships’ and one could easily be inclined towards thinking of young men and women in overalls learning the skills of a ‘trade’. We have become accustomed to this narrow, definition, despite the fact that apprenticeships in industries such as financial services, banking, and insurance are now part of established best-practice.
And now there is an even wider definition of ‘apprenticeships’, and a wider reach into the industries they serve, thanks in no small way to the government’s reformed apprenticeships initiative which includes a compulsory levy for companies who have a
payroll of £3m or more.
Recently, I came across a helpful six point plan for turning the apprenticeship levy into an investment in the business.
- l Get to know the levy, the rules and how they will affect your business.
- l Identify the job roles and job families which might be offered as apprenticeships either internally as development pathways or to support recruitment.
- l Review your current investment in learning and training, and identify whether any of that spend contributes to the delivery of apprenticeships.
- l Research the new apprenticeship standards and map your roles.
- l Set up the resources to deliver apprenticeships including researching approved apprenticeship providers.
- l Build apprenticeships into your business operations.
It is not always appreciated that there is no upper age limit to an apprenticeship, and neither are this new generation of apprentices necessarily starting at the bottom rung of the ladder.
As long as the employee is gaining substantive new skills and the training is materially different from any other training previously provided, then they qualify.
From an employee perspective, the new scheme has significant benefits, and a can provide a real chance to progress. But it also has significant benefit to the employer since a more engaged workforce is invariably more productive, and an individual who is continuing to learn, and to see and realise new career development opportunities, is easier to retain.
But perhaps the greatest advantage is how it supports existing learning-anddevelopment (L&D) plans, and enables you to maximise your talent streams. Firms who pay in to the levy will only see that money returned to them if it is effectively channelled
into approved apprenticeship training.
Within our own industry, a number of specific apprenticeship standards have been created that will be offered and supported by the CSA. These range from the new standard in financial services credit controller/collector through to the most advanced senior compliance/risk specialist apprenticeship standard, and supporting and advising companies on routes for more specialist roles in IT, HR and legal.
What the apprenticeship levy is also doing, beyond its practical purpose, is challenging HR, L&D, and Organisation Development functions to take a strategic view and demonstrate some measurable returns on investment. This is combined with the need
to think strategically on the role of HR in assuring the implementation of the Senior Managers Regime, and so 2017 will be a busy year. These functions are responsible for developing and maintaining the skills and cultures that drive to the very heart of a
company’s moral and ethical values and behaviours.
Apprenticeships are, of course, only one part of a much wider L&D portfolio that we can deliver. They complement the extremely successful Level 3 Diploma which in turn complements the Level 5 Diploma in Compliance Risk Management. Both continue to go from strength to strength.
At a ‘micro learning’ level, we are also evolving, having now formally launched the CSA Compliance Essentials initiative to embed a compliance culture into training and conduct. It is called ‘essentials’ because it aims to provide essential information and
insight to all parts of a business, whether front office or back office, functional or operational. The purpose is to help leaders support the continual learning of their own teams, to create a knowledge database for compliance and L&D professionals, and a learning resource for the study of CSA qualifications and support CPD.
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