04 Oct ‘Tis the season of falling…and planning to grow
This weekend began the start of ‘leaf clearing’ in my garden. From now until early December, a horse chestnut, beech and oak tree will each progressively shed its leaf and deposit on the lawn, turning a green(ish) looking carpet of grass into a messy patchwork quilt of autumn shades, varying from orange/yellow to dark brown. It’s not a task that I particularly enjoy; partly because, for me at least, it marks the end of summer and the beginning of autumn or ‘fall’, as some prefer. Being the eternal optimist, my wife tells me to look on the positive side and think of all the benefits of leaf clearing: it offers a chance to be in the great outdoors; an opportunity to connect with nature; to enjoy the exercise from the raking, shovelling and transporting of bags of leaves to the compost; and a chance for us to spend time together. So, perhaps not quite the unproductive task I originally envisaged, whilst I also recognise that the compost the leaves create, provides good fertiliser to aid the future growth of my plants.
Having settled into the rhythmic flow of raking, my mind wandered and I started to think of what else is ‘falling’ at this time of year. Reading and listening to the news, there appears to be a general fall in business confidence at present. Many things can trigger this sentiment and quickly move the ‘crowd’ in a certain direction, particularly with the speed of news and opinion via social media. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has suggested that the fall in business confidence can be attributed to the lack of coherence in the government at present and apparent division of cabinet opinion over the UK’s approach to Brexit negotiations. The CBI goes on to say that “The solution must be for responsible business and government to grow our way out of austerity.”
If this is true, then it seems that the government may be scoring an own-goal. Having introduced a new Levy to encourage growth in apprenticeships, take up in apprenticeship training, by both Levy and non-Levy paying companies, has actually fallen since the Levy came into effect on 1 May.
A recent survey indicates that only a third of employers who qualify are taking advantage of their levy funds to train new and existing staff. A major reason given is a lack of knowledge and confusion on how best to use the funds to improve business productivity. Also, access to the new digital Training Apprenticeship Service (TAS), which is required to instigate the training, may be putting off all but the most confident of IT users. For those employers not obliged to pay this tax, the change in funding rules that apply to this group may provide different but no less challenging obstacles. The need to pay a 10% contribution to apprenticeship training (with government funding 90%); and fears over commitments to increased staffing costs, whilst Brexit uncertainties remain, does little to inspire such investment.
Fortunately, help is at hand. With over 1,600 companies on the official Register of Approved Training Providers, employers should be able to seek the guidance needed to navigate through any uncertainty, by perhaps finding a Provider that best fits with their own style and approach.
JACE Training is one such company on the approved register. Our company vision is To Make A Difference to our stakeholders, through our core values of being Understanding; Innovative; and Inspirational in all that we do. This means listening to what’s important to your business; delivering training tailored to meet your needs, with a flexible approach; and supporting apprentices and their work place mentors throughout the process, to achieve identified aims.
We are both a Levy payer and employer of apprentices ourselves and so have an understanding of the complexities of the new system but also the benefits that recruiting new apprentices or up-skilling existing staff can bring to your business. We have developed a good working knowledge of operating the new digital account and are here to help you do the same. Of course, if our values do not fit with your own, then we completely understand and hopefully, one of the other 1,599 or so other providers on the Register may be better suited to help.
As Gandhi once said, “It’s better to walk alone than with a crowd going in the wrong direction.” And so I would suggest taking the advice of Gandhi and the CBI and investing now for the future; growing your business out of austerity- just like those leaves of mine, that one day soon will be support the future growth of my garden!
Contact any one of our training centres near you, to find out more.