Degree apprenticeships have opened up a new route for training existing staff for career progression, as well as new roles. By enabling staff to upskill and reskill on the job, employers are able to address critical skills gaps and prepare their workforce for the jobs of the future. Even if an employee has a degree in a different discipline, they could still be eligible to gain new skills through a degree apprenticeship.
Identifying the potential in staff and investing in their development can make them feel valued, which increases motivation, improves job satisfaction and nurtures a greater sense of loyalty. In fact, over two thirds of professionals would take a lower salary in return for sponsorship of a recognised qualification from their employer, according to a survey from CV Library.
So, how do you develop current employees using degree apprenticeship programmes? We’ve outlined three scenarios that could help you identify existing staff for development:
In this scenario, you might have an existing manager that you want to develop. Perhaps they don’t have a degree and would like to become qualified, perhaps they are stepping up to the next level and want to enhance their skills and capabilities or perhaps they’re underperforming and you want to address that. Either way, the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship can meet those requirements.
If the current member of staff is moving into a new managerial position, then the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship will become an integral part of their new role, as 50 per cent of the whole qualification is work-based learning. This means the apprentice can contextualise what they learn from the academic modules directly to their role in workplace.
In this scenario, you might have an engineer, accountant or human resources professional who is transitioning to a management role, where they will need a higher level of managerial capability. Again, this option is effective as the principles learnt in the work-based modules apply across the board – whether you work in a supply chain role or a HR role – because they focus on developing practical and professional management and leadership skills.
If you consider that professional practice and behaviours are key to effective management, then developing areas such as managerial effectiveness, professional integrity and effective work relationships will increase performance no matter what business function the apprentice works in.
In this scenario, you might have a member of staff who has expressed an interest in, or is showing a flair for, digital and technology. The good thing about Open University degree apprenticeships, is that they enable this change to happen. Our programmes use tutor-supported blended learning delivery methods to give employees flexibility in the way in which they can study the academic modules of the degree apprenticeship – how, where, when, online across multiple devices. This means that most people, given the time and support, should be able to cope with this as part of their existing role, providing they are given some time and flexibility to do so.
Many employers ask about salaries and costs for existing members of staff undertaking an apprenticeship. Let’s remember that funding for training and salaries are two completely different things. As an employer, you’ve already decided on the salary your employee is receiving based on their current role. It’s true there is a minimum apprenticeship salary that legally you are required to pay an apprentice, but there isn’t a maximum.
So, looking at Scenario 1, if you have an existing member of staff in a management role, earning (for example) £35k per annum, and you think the apprenticeship programme will help them develop new skills, knowledge and behaviours, then there is no reason why you cannot keep them on a salary of £35k.
The training costs of the course are funded, either fully or partially by the government depending on whether you’re paying into the levy or not. If you are paying the levy, your funds will accumulate in your digital employer account until you are ready to draw down the funds for the apprenticeship programme. If you’re a smaller, non-levy paying employer, 90 per cent of the apprenticeship training is funded by the government, so you’d be required to make a contribution for the remaining 10 per cent.
David Willett, Director of Business Development Unit, The Open University
We are big supporters of social mobility and have no formal entry requirements, meaning your business can benefit from developing people from an even wider range of backgrounds and experiences.