In April 2017, the government set public bodies with 250 or more staff in England a target to employ an average of at least 2.3% of their staff as an apprentice. This target runs from of 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2021.
The Council is required to submit to the Department of Education an annual return detailing our progress towards the target.
Return Section 1 – Data Publication - Apprenticeships
The Data Publication includes data which will enable the Government, the public and wider stakeholders to understand the Council’s headcount and the number of apprentices they employ. This information will then be used to assess the progress the Council has made to meeting the target.
Reporting Period – 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018
The number of employees with the Council and Schools (Levy Paying) whose employment was in England at the beginning of the reporting period as at 1 April 2017 - 5,006.
The number of apprentices who began to work for the Council and Schools (Levy Paying) in that period and whose apprenticeship agreements also began in that period - up to 31 March 2018 - 69.
The number of employees employed in England that the Council has at the end of the reporting period - 31 March 2018 - 5481.
The number of apprentices who work for the Council at the end of the reporting period - 31 March 2018 - 59.
Figure B expressed as a percentage of Figure A - 1.38%.
Figure D expressed as a percentage of Figure C - 1.08%.
The number of apprentices who worked for the body immediately before the report period – at 31 March 2017 - 71.
Headcount on the day before the first day of each reporting period in the target period - at 31 March 2017 - 5,016.
Figure B expressed as a percentage of Figure H - 1.38%.
*All figures are based on headcount and not FTE.
|Target Period||Target||Actual Corporate||Actual Schools||Total|
|1 April 2017 - 31 March 2018 (actual)||120||33||36||69|
|1 April 2018 - 31 March 2019 (projected)||120||82||88||170|
Return Section 2 – Apprenticeship Activity Return
The Apprenticeship Activity Return includes both information on the Council’s Progress against the target and actions taken and challenges faced, in meeting the targets.
Outline any actions you have taken to help you progress towards meeting the public sector target
Our approach to apprenticeship has been driven by effective workforce planning – in particular services identifying skill gaps and then exploring how an apprenticeship could address this gap through upskilling existing staff or recruiting new employees specifically into apprenticeship roles. This approach has been owned by the Council’s Senior Management Team.
Supporting this approach, we have reviewed and revised our apprenticeship offer and guidance in line with changes driven by the levy.
The Council’s apprenticeship lead has worked with schools:
- providing support, advice and guidance and up-to-date apprenticeship information
- supporting schools to look at apprenticeships outside of the teaching sector as a way of using the levy to support other roles within a school setting (particularly as professional teaching apprenticeship standards have been slow to develop).
The Council now offers variety of apprenticeships across a number of sectors including:
- business administration
- customer service
- teaching and learning
- management and leadership
- leisure and fitness
- golf green keeping
- social care.
Tell us about any challenges you have faced in your efforts to meet the target
Overall, we are on track to hit our medium term apprenticeship target. The main initial challenge was simply to embed the new apprenticeships and levy funding model - primarily commissioning training and ensuring we operate within our procurement standards. These processes are now firmly established and embedded.
Another key challenge has been a lack of available standards and providers in key areas such as social work, teaching and ‘early years’. Again this picture is changing for the positive.
As an organisation with a significant proportion of its workforce being part-time – this raises the bar in terms of achieving the target compared to full-time equivalent (FTE) counts and rates.
How are you planning to ensure you meet the target in future?
As our programme has gathered momentum, we are very confident that we will achieve our target. Schools and Council services are firmly engaged with the programme and clearly see apprenticeships as an opportunity to develop the skill base of their workforce – underpinned by effective workforce planning.
Continue to work closely with both services and schools year-on-year to maintain engagement levels and drive forward the utilisation of the current and future apprenticeship standards. Fully understanding the workforce needs to map this against the available standards.
We now link apprenticeships to our ‘supported employment’ offer:
- including the ring-fencing apprenticeship vacancies specifically for care leavers
- promoting inclusive apprenticeships and ensuring that there is awareness of this corporately and with schools.
This is linked to our Management and Leadership programme, ensuring managers have the right skills to engage with support apprenticeships and share best practice around barriers and also learn from successful outcomes.