From 6th April 2016, employers of apprentices aged under 25 will no longer be required to pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions on earnings up to their Upper Earnings Limit, potentially saving thousands of pounds a year. It is not only applicable to new employers welcoming apprentices, but also existing employers who are currently hiring apprentices.
The move, announced in the Autumn Statement 2014, has been introduced in a bid to encourage more employers to offer apprenticeships, consequently giving more young people access to high quality apprenticeships and to help with youth employment and the high number of NEETs (not in employment, education or training) currently in the UK.
In 2015, the government pledged to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, an ambitious target which some feel may focus more on the quantity than the quality. To ensure this doesn’t happen, employers are having a high level of involvement themselves through the Trailblazers initiative. There are currently more than 1,300 employers working towards creating new standards for apprenticeships in their particular sectors, tailoring them towards their specific needs to make the apprenticeships more beneficial for both them and the learner. Employers are also leading the Institute of Apprenticeships, an independent organisation to be created by April 2017 which will monitor and evaluate the quality of apprenticeships being created.
With more high level apprenticeships available such as Degree apprenticeships, which this year received a £10million injection towards their implementation and promotion, apprenticeships are now being seen as a viable alternative to university to earn the same qualifications. It’s not only the learners themselves that benefit from being an apprentice, but employers also reap a number of benefits, including access to skilled workers and a new generation of knowledge in technology and media, an increase in productivity and retention rates, as well as an improved public image to be seen to helping young people in their local communities.
Aspire Training Team works with both employers and young people across the South to find and place apprentices into business administration, childcare and health & social care. To find out more about becoming or recruiting an apprentice, contact the team on 01202 551553 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.