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Flexi-Job Apprenticeships – Why They Are Lacking Flexibility

Details: Written by Kelly Worsnop |

Following the introduction of the ‘flexi-job’ apprenticeship scheme, Josh Hill, Director of Apprenticeships at The Skills Network explains why this doesn’t go far enough and why the focus should be on simplifying the scheme.

As one of the UK’s major providers of apprenticeships for both individual learners and businesses, we welcome any proposal to increase flexibility for both learners and employers, but the introduction of a flexi-job scheme is not the right solution.

Apprenticeship schemes do not require any further controls or barriers, as it is already a complex marketplace. The Government needs to be addressing how to simplify the apprenticeship offering, allowing it to fit with what a learner needs, and the support that an employer requires. The flexi-job proposal does not consider the current challenges facing apprenticeships, as well as the key sectors that would benefit from a more flexible approach – such as the care industry.

The biggest challenge facing apprenticeships is that they are still seen by some to be a secondary education route – and this is not the case and needs to be addressed. We are working with thousands of schools and employers to raise awareness about the benefits of apprenticeships and our market-leading approach to developing a truly unique course experience, but more needs to be done.

Maximising Apprenticeship Programmes

We truly believe that apprenticeships are an essential tool for businesses and should not be undermined. Currently, the apprenticeship levy can be used to bridge the skills gap, but also to access a wider talent pool, understand each learner’s journey, against what skills, behaviours, and culture they need to develop in order to benefit the business they are working for. As it is, the apprenticeship levy would not benefit from the introduction of a flexi-job scheme.

By investing in apprenticeships, businesses can help upskill their current or future workforce. If delivered in partnership with a provider who can co-create a delivery plan to meet skill gaps in the business, and ensure learning can be delivered virtually, apprentice learning, development and progression will be maximised.

It’s when businesses streamline an apprentice’s journey with their own ethics and values, that the apprenticeship becomes truly beneficial for both parties. This co-creating of delivery plans will eventually result in a more agile and adaptable workforce – which is one of the main goals for many businesses.

Developing Apprentices

The apprenticeship process is already quite complex, so to make it easier for employers, it’s vital to partner with a learning provider. At the same time, apprentices will develop the right skills which will be right for them and the company they are working for.

At The Skills Network, we offer an on-boarding process which provides learners with an initial assessment, allowing us to tailor each learning journey before we even get started. With the help of technology, you can go through a range of initial assessments focused on knowledge and skills.

Additionally, by receiving key information on the cognitive development and mental toughness of individuals, we can shape the learning, tailor programmes, and easily provide access to extra support, tackling the abilities and concerns of each learner. This will not only make employers’ lives easier, but also give them a better return on investment.

By focusing on simplifying the apprenticeship offering, businesses will be able to easily upskill their current or future workforce, which is so important in today’s setting. We need to ensure our apprenticeship workforce can react to what the economy requires, and the last 18 months has been a perfect example of why it’s vital we ensure our apprenticeships have those transferable skills.