GBSLEP

Step Forward

A guide for employers and employees to the information, resources and funding available to support you to invest in improving skills and qualifications.

SKILLS MATTER. The demands of the economy and the needs of the future workforce are changing, with higher skills levels expected in an increasing number of roles across all sectors.

Birmingham currently has a gap in the skills of our citizens and those skills demanded by employers. Over the next 10 years there is forecast to be a shortage of 46,000 higher skilled workers and an excess of 24,000 lower skilled workers increasingly becoming at risk of unemployment.

We need to be ready as a region to meet these challenges head on and jointly commit to investing in the right skills now to create inclusive growth that leaves no-one behind.
Business has a crucial role in creating the workforce of the future, and is best placed to deliver the changes that are needed. Developing the skills of the workforce creates benefits for all; increased productivity, innovation and profits; improved motivation, retention rates and better rates of pay for employees; as well as contributing to reducing the skills gap and making the region more competitive on a global scale.

STEP FORWARD is asking everyone to respond to this challenge. Employers and individuals need to invest in training and improving qualifications levels and make Birmingham THE Skills City.

STEP FORWARD TOOLKIT
The Step Forward Toolkit provides all the latest information for employers and employees on training provision and resources in Birmingham, including funding opportunities to improve qualifications within the workforce.

The STEP FORWARD ask from employers

Sign the Step Forward Employer Pledge and commit to
  • All employees achieving basic skills qualifications
  • Investing in apprenticeships
  • Supporting employees to continue professional development
  • Promoting the message of Step Forward

To find out more about the Apprenticeship Levy Guide - Please click here.

Step Forward Toolkit

Improving qualifications within the workforce

Your employer’s guide to the funding and tools available to upskill your workforce

SUPPORT FOR EMPLOYERS

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeship Levy

All businesses can access funding towards apprenticeships through the Apprenticeship Levy.

Businesses will pay the levy when the annual pay bill exceeds £3m.

Apprenticeship Training

Support on apprenticeships for new and existing employees is available through Skills Central Training (BMET/Solihull), SCCB and Birmingham and Solihull Work Based Learning Providers.

 

Basic Skills (up to L2)

Fully funded through local colleges for Maths and English qualifications

FREE training for employees that do not hold a level 2 qualification (must be a UK/EU citizen) and can be tailored to the needs of your workforce.

Available through colleges and training providers

 

Unite Union Lifelong Learning

Flexible learning programmes for members including:

Functional Skills – English & Maths, ICT, ESOL (English)

Delivered in al earning environment and through bespoke online learning platform.

 

 

Level 3 and 4+

Supplier Excellence Programme

Available from Spring 17

Grants available up to £18k towards a training package for L3/L4+ training. Targeted at growing skills levels within SME supply chain companies in priority growth sectors.

Colleges provision

 

Comprehensive training provision across a range of sectors and levels.

Bespoke training packages provided to meet employer demand.

Offer of Business Organisational Needs Assessment to identify training and development needs, through each provider.

Enterprise Zone Employment and Skills Investment Programme

Available from Summer 17

Comprehensive training provision across a range of sectors and levels.

Bespoke training packages provided to meet employer demand.

Offer of Business Organisational Needs Assessment to identify training and development needs, through each provider.

 

 

Business Diagnostic

Growth Hub Initial Business Diagnostic

Business diagnostic provided through Growth Hub to identify support needs and referral to services for GBSLEP businesses for businesses looking to grow and/or employ and develop staff.

 

SUPPORT FOR EMPLOYEES

Funding

Advanced Learner Loans

Individuals can apply for loans to assist with the cost of training and gaining a qualification, for L3+ courses.

Loans are accessed through your learning provider.

Professional and Career Development Loans

Individuals can apply for loans to pay for courses and training that help with your career or help get you into work.

Loans are accessed through your learning provider.

 

Advice and Guidance

Cog.

A web-based opportunities matching platform for Birmingham’s unemployed and young people to access live and up to date jobs, training courses, apprenticeships, work experience, skills information, advice and guidance.

National Careers Service

Impartial information, advice and guidance to help you make decisions on learning, training and work.





SUPPORT FOR EMPLOYERS

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeship Levy

Comes into effect Apr 17

All businesses can access funding towards apprenticeships through the Apprenticeship Levy.

Businesses will pay the levy when the annual pay bill exceeds £3m.

UK wide

Apprenticeship Training

Support on apprenticeships for new and existing employees is available through Skills Central Training (BMET/Solihull), SCCB and Birmingham and Solihull Work Based Learning Providers.

UK wide



Apprenticeship Levy

The apprenticeship levy will be introduced on 6 April 2017. There will be changes to the funding for apprenticeship training for all employers with some employers required to contribute to a new apprenticeship levy. The reforms are aimed at simplifying the apprenticeship system providing employers with ‘more control over designing, choosing and paying for apprenticeship training’, potentially doubling the investment in apprenticeships by 2020 from 2010 levels, to £2.5bn.

The levy requires all employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill over £3 million each year, to invest in apprenticeships. From 1 May 2017 any apprenticeship will be funded according to the new rules. This will apply to all employers, both those paying the levy and those who do not.

The new standards put employers in control of designing apprenticeships, so people are equipped with the skills that meet the needs of their organisation.

Levy funding can be used for:

apprenticeship training and assessment

against an approved framework or standard

with an approved training provider and assessment organisation

up to the funding band maximum for that apprenticeship

 

How is the Levy paid?

· The first levy payments will be due in April 2017 and will be paid through Pay as You Earn (PAYE).

· The Levy will be payable an annual pay bills in excess of £3m – employers with a pay bill less than £3m will not pay anything.

· The rate for the levy will be set at 0.5% of an employer’s pay bill.

· Organisations will pay the levy, regardless of whether they subsequently re-claim voucher funds to purchase apprenticeship training.

 

How does the Levy work?

· Levy payments will be ring fenced in the form of an electronic voucher that can be used to purchase training from recognised providers.

· Control of apprenticeship funding will be put in the hands of employers through the Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS).

· Employers will be able to use their digital account to buy apprenticeship training and assessment.

· If the levy is not used within 24 months it will be reallocated by the government to other organisations.

· Funding bands for Frameworks and Standards have been set which limit the amount of levy funds an employer can spend on training and assessment for an individual apprentice.

· The government has confirmed that it will apply a 10% top-up to the monthly funds entering levy paying employer’s digital accounts. So for every £1 entered through the levy, the government will add £0.10.

 

What if my organisation doesn’t pay the Levy?

· Employers who are not eligible to pay the apprenticeship levy will be able to access government support and funding for their apprentices (subject to eligibility).

· The government has confirmed that employers with no levy pot (or those that has run out of levy) will need to make a contribution to the cost of training and the government will pay the rest, up to the maximum funding band, paid directly to the training provider.

· The government has set the employer contribution at 10% with the government funding the remaining 90%.

· Where employers have fewer than 50 employees, they will not have to pay anything towards the cost of training a 16-18 year old apprentice (or for apprentices who are 19-23 who have been in care or with an Education and Health Care Plan).

 

For more information on how the Levy will affect you please go to (Apprenticeship Levy Guide – GBSLEP)

www.gov.uk/take-on-an-apprentice/overview

 

Added incentives for apprenticeships

The Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) will continue until end of academic year 16/17. This entitles employers to a grant for taking on new apprentices aged between 16-24.

 

Additional payments are also being proposed for employers and training providers to support:

Ø additional learning needs for 16-18 year olds – £1,000 to employers, £1,000 to training providers

Ø 19-24 year olds leaving care or who have a Local Authority Education and Healthcare Plan – £1,000 to employers, £1,000 to training providers

Ø additional learning support such as Dyslexia, disabilities and learning difficulties – up to £150 per month to the training provider (this is a continuation of the current system)

Ø Assisting all apprentices to meet the minimum standard of Level 2 for English and maths - £471 for training providers for each of these qualifications where the apprentice does not meet the standard.

 

Apprenticeship Training

Apprenticeships allow employers to bring new talent into the business and train your team with the skills they need to help your organisation succeed.

Ø 70% of employers said apprenticeships improved product quality and service

Ø 83% of apprentices said their career prospects had improved

Ø Apprenticeships provide a typical return of £26-£28 for every £1 of government investment at levels 2 and 3

 

In Birmingham, the main apprenticeship training provision is delivered through local colleges and a range of work based learning providers. You can also access support through the National Apprenticeship Service.

- B Met College

- South & City College

- Solihull College

Birmingham and Solihull Work Based Learning Providers

The Network is made up of over 30 training providers based in the Birmingham and Solihull area, providing work based learning, qualifications and work experience. The Provider Network directory will provide links to suitable organisations that offer apprenticeships, including those specialising in specific sectors to meet your needs as an employer.



Basic Skills

Fully funded through local colleges for Maths and English qualifications

FREE training for employees that do not hold a level 2 qualification (must be a UK/EU citizen) and can be tailored to the needs of your workforce.

Available through colleges and training providers including:

- B Met College

- South & City College

- Solihull College

- Birmingham Adult Education Service (BAES)

UK wide

Unite Union Lifelong Learning

Flexible learning programmes for members including:

Functional Skills – English & Maths

ICT

ESOL (English)

Delivered in al earning environment and through bespoke online learning platform.

UK wide

(dependant on Unite Union members being part of workforce)



Basic Skills Training

Maths and English provision is FREE for learners that do not hold a level 2 qualification, whether they are in employment or not.

Individuals can access this support directly through the training provider, where there will be no charge for relevant courses for eligible learners.

Where employers have staff that do not currently hold a level 2 qualification in English and Maths, you can assist and support your employees to get a develop their skills and achieve a new qualification or be formally recognised for skills and knowledge they already hold by turning this into a qualification. This can be delivered around the needs of the workplace with flexible options of delivery to meet the needs of the business and the employee.

Employers and individuals can find the right courses and undertake a bespoke training package of support through local training providers who will deliver training in a way that is convenient for you and your staff and relevant to the work that you do.

For qualifications that fall outside of the funded training outlined, and where the training is not an apprenticeship, employers or individuals will need to cover the cost of the qualification. Advanced LearnerLoans and Professional and Career Development Loans can be accessed if the individual is covering the cost.

Unite Union Lifelong Learning

Support is available within workplaces where there is a Unite Union presence. The Lifelong Leaning team work closely with union learning representatives and employers to improve qualifications and skills across the workforce, underpinned by learning agreements.

Training can be delivered in a learning environment and through a bespoke online learning platform. Training includes:

Functional Skills – English & Maths

ICT

ESOL (English)




Level 3/4+

Supplier Excellence Programme

Available from Spring 17

Grants available up to £18k towards a training package for L3/L4+ training. Targeted at growing skills levels within SME supply chain companies in priority growth sectors.

GBSLEP area

Colleges provision

-B Met College

-South & City College

-Solihull College

-Birmingham Adult Education Service (BAES)

Comprehensive training provision across a range of sectors and levels.

Bespoke training packages provided to meet employer demand.

Offer of Business Organisational Needs Assessment to identify training and development needs, through each provider.

GBSLEP area

Enterprise Zone Employment and Skills Investment Programme

Available from Summer 2017

Single point of contact to address current and future workforce needs around recruitment skills and progression for businesses within the Birmingham Enterprise Zones.

Access to funding for flexible, bespoke training.

Birmingham Enterprise Zones

Growth Hub Initial Business Diagnostic

Business diagnostic provided through Growth Hub to identify support needs and referral to services for GBSLEP businesses for businesses looking to grow and/or employ and develop staff.

GBSLEP area



Supplier Excellence Programme (ESF) – available Spring 2017

Targeted at growing the skills levels within SME supply chain companies in priority growth sectors, focusing on transforming business expertise, capability and capacity, embedding tools to improve workforce performance and business competitiveness.

Grants are available from £1k to £18k towards an overall training package for Level 3 and 4+ training and are available for employers across the GBSLEP area. The training will be provided by accredited, experienced and industry approved providers selected by the SME’s.

Each business will be able to access an initial business diagnostic by the Growth Hub, which if required, will then refer businesses into this programme for further support, which includes:


• Leadership and Management Development
• Innovation
• Supply Chain Development
• Product Development
• Market Development
• Bespoke modules that are targeted at industry specific priority growth sectors

 

The programme will start in Spring 2017. www.gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk

College Provision Level 3/4+

Comprehensive training provision across a range of sectors and levels to meet the needs of employers. Bespoke training packages developed and delivered to meet employer demand.

Offer of Business Organisational Needs Assessment to identify training and development needs, through each provider.

Funding available to support training through Supplier Excellence Programme and EZ Employment and Skills Investment Programme (depending on eligibility criteria).

- B Met College

- South & City College

- Solihull College

Enterprise Zone Employment and Skills Investment Programme – available Summer 2017

This programme provides a single contact point to address current and future workforce needs, supporting recruitment, skills and progression requirements to enable business stability and provide the capacity for growth.

Businesses already located within the Enterprise Zone (EZ), those relocating into the EZ and inward investment into the area are eligible for support.

Each business will be able to access an initial skills diagnostic through the GBSLEP Growth Hub, which if required, can lead on to an enhanced skills diagnostic and the development of a skills investment plan aligned to business growth.

Through the Employment and Skills Investment Programme, businesses can access funding for flexible bespoke training for their workforce where it is not delivered through existing provision from basic and non-accredited training all the way up to level 4+ equivalent.

The training will be led by the needs of your business and focus on current and future workforce requirements.

 

As part of this package of support, employers will also be able to access

 

  • Development of a Skills Investment Plan including access to:
    • placement opportunities
    • apprenticeships
    • traineeships
    • young people
    • diverse workforce
  • Recruitment and selection support including:
    • Promotion of job opportunities
    • Shortlisting of candidates
    • Facilitation of interview process
  • Targeted pre-employment training to develop a talent pool as a pathway for local communities into opportunities within the Enterprise Zone including
    • initial confidence building
    • customised vocational training
    • employability skills leading to guaranteed interviews

For further information on the Enterprise Zone including which areas are eligible please go to bigcityplan.birmingham.gov.uk/ez-main/

Enterprise Zone funding is available from Summer 2017.


Business Diagnostic

Growth Hub Initial Business Diagnostic

Through the Growth Hub, businesses within the GBSLEP can access an Initial Business Diagnostic, which assesses the current business support needs and makes referrals into the right support packages currently available, particularly where businesses are looking to grow, take on new employees and develop the skills of the existing workforce.

www.gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk



SUPPORT FOR EMPLOYEES

Funding


Advanced Learner Loans

Individuals can apply for loans to assist with the cost of training and gaining a qualification, for L3+ courses.

Loans are accessed through your learning provider.

Professional and Career Development Loans

Individuals can apply for loans to pay for courses and training that help with your career or help get you into work.

Loans are accessed through your learning provider.



Advanced Learner Loans

Individuals can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to help with the cost of training and gaining a qualification.

To be eligible you must be 19 or older and your course must be a Level 3,4,5 or 6 qualification – e.g. A Levels or graduate certificate, and delivered by an approved training provider.

You must go through your learning provider to access the application process.

Repayments

You will have to pay back your loan when your course has finished and you earn more than £21,000 a year.

You may also be able to access the Loan Bursary Fund to assist with things like childcare, course materials and equipment and accommodation and travel. This bursary is accessed through your training provider and the amount depends on the provider’s scheme and your circumstances.

For further information go to www.gov.uk/advanced-learner-loan/overview

Professional and Career Development Loan

Professional and Career Development Loans are bank loans to pay for courses and training that help with your career or help get you into work. You may be able to borrow between £300 and £10,000.

Loans are usually offered at a reduced interest rate and the government pays interest while you’re studying. Check with your benefits office before you take out a loan as it can affect the benefits you’re entitled to.

To apply you must:

  • be 18 or over
  • be a British citizen
  • have been living in the UK for at least 3 years before your course starts
  • plan to work in the UK, European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) after the course

Courses must:

  • only last up to 2 years, or 3 years if they include 1 year of work experience
  • be provided by an organisation on the Professional Career and Development Loan Register - check with your course provider
  • help with your career - they don’t have to lead to a qualification

For further information you can contact the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900 or go to

www.gov.uk/career-development-loans/overview




Advice and Guidance


Cog.

A web-based opportunities matching platform for Birmingham’s unemployed and young people to access live and up to date jobs, training courses, apprenticeships, work experience, skills information, advice and guidance.

National Careers Service

Impartial information, advice and guidance to help you make decisions on learning, training and work.



Cog.

A web-based opportunities matching platform for Birmingham’s unemployed and young people to access:

· Jobs

· training courses

· apprenticeships

· work experience opportunities

· skills information, advice and guidance

· information on wider support services including homelessness, drugs & alcohol etc.

 

·Includes automatic CV creator – grows with you!

·Easy job application process, direct to advertiser

·Interview scheduling and feedback mechanism built-in

www.cog-brum.co.uk

 

National Careers Service

The National Careers Service provides impartial information, advice and guidance to help individuals make decisions on learning, training and work. The service is provided through face to face meetings, over the phone and online resources including CV building, skills health checks and action plans, course information and searches and career progression pathways.

To get in touch with the National Careers Service please contact

www.nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk

Hotline 0800 100 900





Date last updated: 06/04/2017