Over 2200 Apprenticeships added to this year’s mission

Following a partnership signed in December 2015 with one of Britain’s leading retail chains, The Range has invited Free2Learn at Work to help deliver apprenticeships programs to more than 200 new learners and upskill over 2000 employees all over the UK. Great news to follow up the National Apprenticeships Week. #NAW2016  


The widely known home, garden and leisure retail chain The Range has partnered with Free2Learn at Work and F2L’s recruiting associates Vision Apprentices to upskill their current workforce, and offer career opportunities to hundreds of young unemployed. A perfect way to follow up the National Apprenticeships Week for Free 2 Learn at Work.


The Range, listed as one of Britain’s leading mid-market private firms, aims to provide 20 apprenticeships for existing staff and recruit two new young apprentices for every store – in over 100 stores.


As one of the UK’s top entrepreneurs, the founder Chris Dawson knows how important it is to invest in people’s potential and give them opportunities to progress. As such, it is equally important to trust the right partners to ensure that the teams are well taken care of, that new recruits are well selected, properly trained and integrated into the company’s culture.


The partnership between Free2Learn at Work at Vision Apprentices is a clever move to provide a one-stop shop to The Range and meet their high standards at a national level. While Vision Apprentices will be screening and recruiting candidates, Free2Learn at Work will be delivering five programs to new and existing employees:

– Business Administration

– Management

– Team Leading

– Warehousing

– Customer Service


There is a wave of enthusiasm at Free2Learn that comes along with pursuing its passion for improving lives through learning while contributing to a productivity enhancement in businesses and organisations.  Andrew Hibbitt, Customer Service & Sales Director at Free2Learn at Work says: “It is a real pleasure to be part of this project. Not only because we’re working with another great client but also because, yet again, we can impact people’s lives by preparing them to start a career or progress in their existing one.”


On the other hand, Stevie Wray-Marriott, Manager at Vision Apprentices, shares Free 2 Learn at Work’s excitement stating that this partnership enables both companies “to support young people to kick-start their career by gaining key skills and qualifications whilst working with one of Britain’s largest employers.”


To learn more about our apprenticeship programmes, call us on 03333 110 157 or email apprenticeships@F2Latwork.org.uk

#NAW2016 Passion, Preparation and Profit

The National Apprenticeship Week 2016 is coming. From 14 to 18 March young people, entrepreneurs and businesses will meet and focus on how they can ‘rise to the top’. A good time to ponder how traineeships and apprenticeships can take ambition to the next level – for individuals and organisations.


If there is an ideal time to start considering apprenticeships, that time has come. There is greater variety, more available talent and higher standards than ever before in the UK. The conditions seem perfect. From the new corporate levy intended to stimulate apprenticeship programmes in every organisation, to new standards developed in collaboration with over 1300 employers – and counting – approved by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA).


According to the SFA, and with 194 standards published so far, 89% of apprenticeship employers have reported that their businesses improved the quality of their products or services by integrating new learners. Employers also believe that these initiatives lead to more engaged and motivated teams, which invariably results in greater productivity.


A Modern Take on Apprenticeships


The belief that university is the only path to success, and everything else is second-rate belongs in the past. Both graduates and apprentices are highly-skilled professionals in the making. However, most graduates not only lack the necessary practical experience when finishing their studies, as most of them – according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) – are performing jobs where they wouldn’t need a degree. Over-qualification is at saturation point while practical skills and work experience are in demand. That is particularly disturbing considering that England has the highest tuition fees in the industrialised world (OECD data) and that, in 2015, the youth unemployment rate reached its worst level in 20 years.


In times like these, providing youth with high-quality routes into the job market could be regarded as a social exercise for the healthy development of younger generations. But when it comes to business, companies are progressively becoming aware of the vital role apprenticeships play in the growth of their trade and the impact on our economic future.


Aiming for New Record Highs


Apprenticeship participation has now reached new record levels. During the 2014/15 academic year, companies took in 871,800 new learners under the government’s funded programmes. In previous years, the SFA reports that 23% of former apprentices have received a promotion within one 12 months of finishing, and 75% of intermediate and advanced trainees have reported taking on more responsibility in their jobs after completing their apprenticeship.


According to the Skills Funding Agency, after finishing a programme, 90% of apprentices will stay in employment – with 71% remaining with the same employer and 2% becoming entrepreneurs.


This year’s motto is “An apprenticeship can take you anywhere”. A concept that seems applicable to ambitious youth, but also to corporations wanting to steer new workforce generations towards their ultimate vision. Our hope, in line with the government and top employers in the UK, is that this year we may raise these numbers, contributing to a higher quality of training and a more inspired generation.


To learn more about our apprenticeship programmes, call us on 03333 110 157 or email apprenticeships@F2Latwork.org.uk


Levy: The Corporate Tax Aimed to Create a New Workforce Generation

As of April 2017, employers with a PAYE over £3m will contribute with 0.5% of their payroll into an apprenticeships fund. Despite some concerns over the lack of details about the program, it seems to be a game-changer in the educational landscape of the UK. Ultimately, it will be an opportunity for every organisation to build a more skilled workforce – and a more productive business.

The new levy announced in 2015, was created to support the existing government funding for apprenticeship training. According to Chancellor Osborne, this initiative will raise £3bn a year over the next five years, and will help deliver 3 million apprenticeships by 2020.

While quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality, this measure will be paired with more rigorous apprenticeship standards (The Trailblazer Initiative), and with the creation of a new independent regulatory body led by employers. This will hopefully meet their ambitions for improvement in training quality while growing in numbers.

The Treasury’s Productivity Plan also promises to bring the levy under employers’ control, enabling them to direct the funding through the Digital Apprenticeship Service to ensure the quality of training they need.

How will it work?

  • Companies with a payroll over £3 million will pay 0.5% of their employers’ pay bill into the levy fund, regardless of their current apprenticeships programs.
  • This tax will then be funneled and ring-fenced in the form of an electronic voucher that employers can use to purchase training from  recognised providers .
  • All organisations will be entitled to claim £15,000 p/annum for apprenticeships training, regardless of their size and PAYE. If companies don’t use this allowance, they will be unable to use it for any other purpose.
  • The first levy payments will be due in April 2017 and paid through Pay As You Earn. HMRC will work with employers and payroll service providers to simplify the implementation of these changes.

How will levy benefit organizations?

Efficient staff equals profitable business. In this sense, the levy incentivises corporations to think about the long-term development of their human resources and exponentially benefit from this initiative.

Among other advantages, it will allow organisations to:

  • Professionally train and upskill existing or new staff;
  • Get more qualified and efficient manpower;
  • Build a talent pipeline for the expansion of their businesses;
  • Increase their HR retention rates;
  • Increase productivity and profitability;
  • See a significant return on investment within the first year of taking on new apprentices;
  • Deliver a better brand experience to their customers;

As it seems, the new levy will allow corporations to build new and stronger workforce generations. If fairly conducted, it has the potential to boost the growth of key sectors and industries and – ultimately – to change the educational landscape of the UK.


To learn more about the levy or our apprenticeships programmes, call us on 03333 110 157 or email apprenticeships@F2Latwork.org.uk