Some big employers already have millions of pounds worth of apprenticeship levy funds to spend. If you’re still deciding where to invest yours, consider your line managers. Sacha Joyce from Cirrus writes for Personnel Today.
Research shows that line managers are often overlooked when it comes to learning and development, and the apprenticeship levy provides a great opportunity to address this all too often neglected population.
Since the UK apprenticeship levy was introduced in April 2017, every UK business with a total salary bill of more than £3million has been paying 0.5% of this total into a ‘digital account’ with a 10% top-up added by the government. You can invest these funds in a wide range of learning and development for colleagues across your entire organisation, including line managers, who can benefit from management apprenticeships.
You have two years to claim the funds in your digital account. If you don’t make your claim within two years, any unused funds will expire. So if you haven’t yet thought about how you’re going to invest, now is the time.
Many organisations are yet to really benefit from the apprenticeship levy. Partly this is down to the name, which is a bit misleading, because the apprenticeship levy is not just for apprentices. It is also there to benefit managers and leaders. Neither is it merely a ‘levy’ – it’s levy that feeds your organisation’s very own government-subsidised learning and development fund.
When we talk to our clients, most of whom are HR and L&D leaders in major organisations, many tell us that upskilling line managers is increasingly important to remain competitive, agile and customer centric. Front line managers are critical to effective communication of business strategy and goals. The competence and confidence of this population impacts significantly on employee engagement. A lot of organisations are carefully reviewing how they support this population and how they ‘engage the engagers’.
The CIPD’s 2013 research, Real-life leaders: closing the knowing-doing gap, found that more than a third of line managers have not learned how to lead and manage others effectively, creating relationship and culture problems. A more recent CIPD study, HR Outlook Winter 2016-17: views of our profession, found that in organisations where line managers have taken on new people management responsibilities which had been devolved from the HR function (something that is the case for 50% of the survey respondents), only 44% had been given any formal training. Furthermore, only 60% are given ongoing support.
For many organisations we talk to, developing line managers is a strategic imperative. Equally, they are keen to ensure results when they do invest their apprenticeship levy funds. So if you, like so many of our clients, are keen to unlock additional value, it may be worth considering investing thee funds in management apprenticeships for your line managers. They are perfectly placed to impact both colleagues and customers.
If you’d like to know more, we’d love to talk to you. Management apprenticeships from Cirrus offer a unique blend of learning activities, assessment, and digital solutions. Your managers gain an internationally recognised qualification and the knowledge and skills to boost their career, and the careers of others. All of which can have a real impact on your organisation’s performance.