The Apprenticeship Target

The Apprenticeship Levy came into force on 6 April 2017 and was introduced by the Government in order to address the shortage of skilled workers in the UK, by increasing the number of apprenticeship opportunities offered by employers.

The public sector apprenticeship target was introduced by government in April 2017 in accordance with The Public Sector Apprenticeship Targets Regulations 2017.

The public sector target was introduced in April 2017 and applies to any public sector employer with at least 250 employees. The Target requires public sector employers to employ an average of 2.3% of their organisation’s headcount as new apprentice starts each year between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2021.  The target (headcount) includes council employees and staff working in schools which are under the control of Trafford Council.

So is it an average target or an annual one?

It’s an average target over the four-year period, but it is important to understand what this does and doesn’t mean in practice.

The public sector target is in effect an aggregated target, with employers able to average out their performance over the four year period.

Employers do not have to meet a target annually, but they do have to calculate what 2.3% of their workforce looks like on 31 March of each of the four years in the reporting period. These four figures are then added together to calculate the total target. This figure represents the total number of apprenticeship starts that an employer should aim for by the end of the four year period. Delivery against this target can be averaged out over the four year period to manage peaks and troughs in recruitment.

As a public sector body in scope of this target, we must ‘have regard’ to the target and submit a report annually to Government, by 30 September, on progress in meeting the target.

The Government considers the duty to “have regard” to the target to mean that in making workforce planning decisions, we should actively consider apprenticeships, either for new recruits or as part of career development for existing employees.

In addition to the data return, we're also required to publish some information about their progress made towards meeting the target.

Number of employees and apprentices who work in England

EmployeesTotal

Number of employees who were working in England on 31 March 2018

4306

Number of employees who were working in England on 31 March 2019

4220

Number of new employees who started working for you in England between 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019

494

Apprentices Total

Number of apprentices who were working in England on 31 March 2018

81

Number of apprentices who were working in England on 31 March 2019

176

Number of new apprentices in England between 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 (includes both new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship)

101

Percentage of apprentices

Indicator%

Apprenticeship starts (both new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship) as a proportion of employment starts between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019

20.45%

Total headcount of employees that were apprentices on 31 March 2019

4.17 %

Apprenticeship starts (both new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship) between 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 as a proportion of total headcount on 31 March 2018

2.35%

Progress towards the target:

Trafford Council does not have to meet a target annually, but we do have to calculate what 2.3% of our workforce looks like on 31 March of each of the four years in the reporting period (2017 to 2021) based on headcount. These four figures are then added together to calculate the total target.  Delivery against this target is averaged out over the four year period to manage peaks and troughs in recruitment.

The Council has made good progress towards meeting the public sector target with 4.2% of the workforce undertaking an apprenticeship (this includes schools under the control of the Council). 

The target is based on headcount and where public sector organisations employ a large percentage of part time staff which we do here at Trafford this does not reflect capacity and inflates the target.  If Trafford Councils target was based on full time equivalent (FTE) in the same reporting periods the Council would have exceeded its target as follows:

Total FTE of employees that were apprentices on 31 March 2019

3.1%

Apprenticeship starts (both new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship) between 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 as a proportion of total FTE on 31 March 2018

2.35%

Actions towards meeting the apprenticeship target in the future

This year we have achieved our target and carried out great work in comparison to other local authorities, next year we need to maintain this momentum. Now is a good time to review our current programme, and take on-board feedback from our apprentices and managers and reflect. This will ensure we are offering the right apprenticeships to support our corporate priorities and link in to our career path ways and succession planning. We need to continue to promote apprenticeships using our internal branding and by holding regular employee events to encourage internal uptake. However we need to build on this internal good practice and apply it to our external apprenticeship recruitment to ensure our talent pipeline remains strong and that we showcase all the benefits of becoming an apprentice with us. Now that some of our early apprentices are nearing completion of their qualifications, with their support we will create case studies that promote the benefits of undertaking an apprenticeship.

We will continue to engage with schools to promote apprenticeship opportunities and will look at how we develop our service offering to schools and understand their individual requirements. If resources allow we will consider offering schools 121 sessions with schools. Work will be ongoing with our business partner and recruitment teams during organisational change ensuring we create career graded roles and are offering our current employees the opportunity to upskill.

We will continue to work with our AGMA colleagues to create cohorts for new standards. We are currently working on a collaborative Learning and Development and Associate Project Management cohort. We will continue to recruit internal cohorts. This has proven successful with providers offering onsite classroom sessions and enables our apprentices to build informal support networks with other colleagues completing the same apprenticeship. To date we have made a concentrated effort to maximise the opportunities from a corporate position, but next year we will look to see how we can work more collaboratively with GM partners and businesses within Trafford.