The apprenticeship targets

The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced by the government on 6 April 2017. Its aim was 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 and ran until 31 March 2021.

It applied 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. The target (headcount) includes council employees and staff working in schools that are under the control of Trafford Council.

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The public sector target

The public sector target was an aggregated target, this meant employers had to average out their performance over the four year period.


Employers did not have to meet an anual target, but they did 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 were then added together to calculate the total target.

This figure represented the total number of apprenticeship starts that the employer should aim for by the end of the four year period. Delivery against this target was averaged out over the four year period to manage peaks and troughs in recruitment.

Our report

As Trafford Council is a public sector body in scope of this target, when submitting our anual report by 30 September, we had to "have regard" of the target and declare we were in progress of meeting the target. 

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

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

Our results

The council needed to have 414 apprenticeship starts between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2021. The council achieved 321. 

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1 April 2021 – 31 March 2022 target

A new one year target was set for 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 of 2.3% of the workforce. This calculated as 118 for the year (56 internally and 62 in schools).

The council achieved 60 starters for the year (50 internally and 10 in schools).  

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Number of employees and apprentices who work in England


Number of employees who were working in England on 31 March 2021


Number of employees who were working in England on 31 March 2022


Number of new employees who started working for you in England between 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020


Apprentices Total

Number of apprentices who were working in England on 31 March 2021


Number of apprentices who were working in England on 31 March 2022


Number of new apprentices in England between 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 (includes both new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship)


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Percentage of apprentices


Apprenticeship starts (both new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship) as a proportion of employment starts between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022


Total headcount of employees that were apprentices on 31 March 2022

7.49 %

Apprenticeship starts (both new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship) between 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 as a proportion of total headcount on 31 March 2021


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Actions taken this year to meet the target

In the year 2021-22 Trafford Council continued to build on its apprenticeship offer in a number of ways.

Level 3 Team Leader/Supervisor apprenticeship

We offered for the first time a Trafford only cohort for the level 3 Team Leader/Supervisor apprenticeship. This was successful due to us working with a local provider who tailor the apprenticeship to link directly to our internal values and vison. The promotion of this apprenticeship proved vital to its success and is set to be utilised again for cohort 2 in Spring 2022.

Apprenticeship paper

During late 2021 we provided our Corporate Leadership Team with an apprenticeship paper that laid out a number of proposals to make our external apprenticeship offer more appealing.

This included increasing the salary of our level 2 and level 3 apprenticeships from national minimum wage dependant on age to the national minimum wage for over 23-year-olds to all our apprentices. It also proposed a change in our approach to lower pay banded roles such as band 2 and 3.

This change will make all these roles into apprenticeship roles unless there is an operational reason this cannot take place. These roles will then be offered as an apprenticeship at level 2 or 3, then changed into a career graded role following completion of the apprenticeship to allow a clear progression pathway for the apprentices and a cost saving for the organisation.

Continued apprenticeships

We have continued to offer the successful coaching professional level 5 and social worker level 6 apprenticeships as cohorts on an annual basis.

New apprenticeships

We have offered for the first time the Library, Information and Archive services assistant level 3 apprentice along with the Counter Fraud Investigator level 4.


Targeted promotional work has been undertaken in areas where apprenticeship uptake is low such as our Exchequer services team. This included meeting to discuss all the relevant apprenticeships available and a chase to ask the apprenticeship lead and a current apprenticeship questions about undertaking any apprenticeship.


Uptake in schools has started to increase due to us spending time working with providers who are offering apprenticeships such as the operational/ departmental manager but in addition offering a tailored approach to a school environment. We have continued to upskill our unqualified teaching assistants via apprenticeships and taken on another level 6 teaching apprenticeship new starter.

Kickstart scheme

Following on from the success of Trafford Council’s Kickstart scheme we have been able to move three young people into roles that have offered apprenticeship opportunities. This has included a IT Service Desk role with Level 3 apprenticeship and a customer services Level 2 apprenticeship in our Community safety team.

GMCA Apprenticeship Operational Group

As in previous years we have continued to participate on the GMCA Apprenticeship Operational Group to share good practice and identify strategies to increase the number of apprenticeships and maximise the levy spend across Greater Manchester alongside attending LGA and ESFA events. 

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The biggest challenge by far is still the after effect of the pandemic. For some apprenticeships, such as the Senior Leadership level 7, it is now proving increasingly difficult to find providers who offer face to face delivery on an ongoing basis.  

This has led to some apprenticeships unwilling to undertake an apprenticeship as they feel they would not get the full benefit without some face-to-face interaction.


Standards are still taking a large amount of time to be created. And even when they have been created there is a delay in providers offering the new standards.

This is true of the Youth Worker level 6 that has taken a number of years to be approved.

The only local provider who offers this apprenticeship is a university. So, enrolement in only available in September and this at times leaves a 12/15 months between approval and first delivery.


Procurement is still another ongoing challenge as providers are unwilling to submit lengthy bids. And, there are only a handful of apprentices wishing to undertake the apprenticeship.

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Meeting future targets

Recruit internally

We will continue to recruit internally for cohorts as this has proven successful in the past. Providers are keen to work this way and it allows apprentices to build informal support networks with others carrying out the same apprenticeship as them.

Local providers 

We are working with two local providers to offer the level 5 and level 7 management apprenticeships later this year and into 2023.


We will carry on engaging with our schools and working with the provider who provides school specific apprenticeships to increase our school offer.


We will continue to attend the regular meetings and promote via there communication channels.

Ongoing work with our business partner and recruitment teams during organisational change will ensure we create career graded roles and also using apprenticeships to support our succession planning.

We will continue to work with our AGMA colleagues and seek any opportunities to partake in cohorts for apprenticeships.

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Future targets 

The public sector apprenticeships target came to an end on 31 March 2022. From this date there will no longer be a target set for public sector employers.