Delivering Staff Development Through Apprenticeships

10 April 2017 | Apprentices

With a Government commitment to have three million apprentices by 2020 and the introduction of a levy earlier this month, the reforms to Apprenticeships are putting employers in the driving seat.

The main shift in how Apprenticeships are being funded and delivered puts the spending power in the hands of employers, allowing them to upskill existing staff and recruit apprentices aged 19+. They now have access to a much bigger pool of people; an opportunity to tap into those looking to progress or change careers.

One company that is already ahead of the game is Royal Mail Plymouth MDEC. The data entry centre, which provides manual support to the automated mail sorting system, has been running management Apprenticeships with City College for three years. In that time, more than 30 employees have gone through the level 3 programme.

The company set up the Apprenticeship programme to support operators who have been promoted to deputy shift managers. The programme offers career progression opportunities for existing employees and works in parallel with in-house training.

“The Apprenticeship programme has helped in many ways, predominantly with the apprentices’ confidence in their ability as managers,” said Sonya Arcos, Shift Manager at Royal Mail Plymouth MDEC. “It has helped the business because as existing employees, we retain their extensive knowledge as they step up to become deputy managers.

“We have found that many have put their knowledge towards helping with business projects, which is additional experience to add to their CVs; this is something some wouldn’t have attempted before the Apprenticeship.

“The latest apprentices have shown a keen interest in getting involved and have asked to be part of engagement activities within the workplace, which will boost their evidence and networks. The programme continues to be great for individual development, giving the apprentices the opportunity to increase their skills and gain a recognised qualification at the end.”

Key Account Manager at the College, Sean Gibson, said: “This is a perfect example of how employers can use the Apprenticeship programme to develop current staff. The reforms to Apprenticeships mean that we will see many more businesses replicating this model in the future, giving older staff the opportunity to upskill and develop. The reforms will also allow employers to recruit adult apprentices, offering a platform for them to retrain in a new career.”

To find out more about Apprenticeships and the business benefits of the levy and reforms, call 01752 305026 or e-mail

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