HR leaders at some of the North’s biggest logistics businesses have been advised to act now to ensure they leverage the introduction of the apprenticeship levy to close their skills gaps.
The warning came at an Apprenticeship Levy conference hosted by Greenshoots Training and City of Liverpool College, at King Street Townhouse in Manchester. The two organisations have entered into a strategic partnership, offering training provision in the logistics sector through one of the largest training schools in the country.
The levy will be introduced in April 2017 at a rate of 0.5% of an employer’s paybill, with the Government seeking to deliver three million apprenticeships by 2020.
Employers will receive an allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy payment, which will only be paid on paybills in excess of £3m.
The conference was attended by HR leaders from some of the North’s largest logistics brands, including XPO Logistics and Advanced Supply Chain.
The government hopes the apprenticeship levy will close significant skills gaps in sectors that are crucial to the health of the UK economy.
Greg Moores of Greenshoots Training Academy said: “Whilst many of the details of the apprenticeship levy are still to be confirmed by the Government, it is clear its impact on the training and recruitment operations of substantial employers could be significant.
“HR teams need to start to consider how their apprenticeship schemes will shape up under the levy and position themselves to capitalise on the opportunities it presents.”
Elaine Bowker of City of Liverpool College said: “The UK skills gap is significant and we continue to fall behind internationally, falling three places to 19th in the Global Competitiveness Index.
“Whilst there are discussions as to how much the apprenticeship levy will help fill that gap, it is certainly true that businesses need to be prepared for the levy and consider how it can help them win the inevitable talent battle that emerges when skills are short.”
Delegates were also given a legal overview of how the levy would impact their business by Simon Whitehead, of HRC Law.
One business attending the conference was international recruitment consultancy Transline Group. Lara Watson, company director, said: “The conference has offered clarity on how the levy is shaping up, what it could mean for our business and how we can begin to prepare for its introduction. The impact could be significant and we must ensure that the levy is utilised throughout our business.”