Coronavirus support: Advice and guidance for businesses COVID-19 Support

Skills and Training

Having a skilled workforce is integral to productivity and employee retention.

Are there skills gaps that you need to address in your team? Are you planning future expansion and need employees with specific skills?

The Growth Hub team can help you identify skills gaps, training providers and workshops to enhance your teams’ knowledge and expertise. Get in touch using the contact details below:

 

Apprenticeships

Have you thought of hiring an apprentice for your business? SEMLEP has put together ‘A Quick Guide to Apprenticeships for Business’.

You can also watch the below video as an introduction to hiring an apprentice.

National Apprenticeship Service
Website https://www.apprenticeships.gov.uk/employer/the-right-apprenticeship
Support line 0800 0150 600

A quick overview on employing an apprentice can be found at https://www.gov.uk/take-on-an-apprentice

More detailed guidance can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/employing-an-apprentice-technical-guide-for-employers

COVID-19: Apprenticeship programme response 

This is a difficult time for apprentices, employers and providers of apprenticeship training, assessment and external assurance. The government is committed to supporting apprentices, and employers continue to build the skills capabilities the country needs now and in the future.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is responding by taking steps to ensure that, wherever possible, apprentices can continue and complete their apprenticeship, despite any break they need to take as a result of COVID-19, and to support providers during this challenging time.

The support includes:

  • encouraging training providers to deliver training to apprentices remotely, and via e-learning, as far as is practicable
  • allowing the modification of end-point assessment arrangements, including remote assessments wherever practicable and possible
  • clarifying that apprentices ready for assessment, but who cannot be assessed due to COVID-19 issues, can have their end-point assessment rescheduled
  • apprentices whose gateway is delayed can have an extension to the assessment time frame
  • enabling employers and training providers to report and initiate a break in learning, where the interruption to learning due to COVID-19 is greater than 4 weeks
  • clarification on how to record breaks in learning so that funding is not unnecessarily disrupted
  • confirming that, where apprentices are made redundant, it is the ambition to find them alternative employment and continue their apprenticeship as quickly as possible and within 12 weeks

More information can be found here and guidance from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE) on the delivery of assessment here.

Strengthening the workforce

With the challenges facing some organisations in filling vacancies, taking a fresh look at accessing talent through open recruitment can have a positive impact on business and provide some of the most motivated staff.

Evidence from business suggests that people who have overcome their own personal challenges can bring fresh ideas and solutions to problems with employees focused on securing results, staying with their employer for longer, having a strong commitment to their organisation and lower rates of absenteeism. They also report several key benefits to the business including:

  • addressing skills shortages
  • reducing recruitment costs
  • improving client relationships by embracing diversity
  • up-skilling the existing workforce through coaching and mentoring
  • demonstrating a social conscience and improving morale
  • boosting the reputation of the organisation

 

Resources for businesses 

SEMLEP’s Growth Hub held a workshop with several partners to showcase the assistance available to businesses. Below are the presentations containing links to resources and assistance.

Serco – Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) is part of Serco’s Employment, Skills and Enterprise (ESE) business unit – experts in the delivery of local employment, skills, training and business support services which improve the productivity of individuals and businesses and boost local economies.

Adviza – A provider of the National Careers Service supporting businesses with key staffing challenges through professionally trained Careers Advisers.

B-Reason-ABLE – This organisation has one goal; to get disabled people into meaningful paid employment. They help employers to be more confident and employ disabled people, comply with equality legislation, encourage conversations around disabilities, provide an inclusive working environment and improve employee retention.

SEMLEP Growing People – Part of the #GrowingTalent campaign, the presentation includes the benefits of apprenticeships to businesses and the importance and impact of developing a talent pipeline.

For some guidance and resources to help move towards open recruitment, please click here.

Read the Viridian Nutrition employer training case study.

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