Calderdale employers weigh in on apprenticeship levy one year on

Employers gathered at Covea Insurance, Halifax
Employers gathered at Covea Insurance, Halifax

Employers from businesses across Calderdale met to discuss the apprenticeship levy one year on from its introduction.

The event, which was organised by Calderdale College and hosted by Covea Insurance, saw representatives from businesses across the borough gather together to discuss the impact of the apprenticeship levy.

Calderdale College Chief Executive John Rees at the Calderdale Skills Forum

Calderdale College Chief Executive John Rees at the Calderdale Skills Forum

Employers included Nestle, Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, Covea Insurance, Lloyds Banking Group, Halifax Opportunities Trust and more.

The scheme was introduced to businesses across the country last year and applies to companies and firms with a payroll over £3 million.

It forms part of the government’s plan to raise the number of quality apprenticeships and aims support three million apprenticeships by 2020.

The aim of the forum was to give employers a chance to share their views on the reform.

Robin Tuddenham, chief executive of Calderdale Council, opened the event with a few words detailing the challenges facing businesses today.

He said: “We know the world of work is changing and the World Economic Forum says that by 2020 the skills that you need to succeed in work are unrecognisable from the skills you needed in 2010. It’s much more about creativity, problem solving, motivation and vision.

“What it means is that harnessing more of the actual potential of people and relationships is important. Let’s harness the talent of local people.”

The event comes shortly after Calderdale College received an outstanding Ofsted rating for apprenticeships. But principal and Chief Executive of the college, John Rees, thinks that this is just the start of great things to come.

“The key to getting this right long term and to really excel at apprenticeships is to not rest on our laurels and lock ourselves away in our own environment and say we were judged outstanding in 2018. We want that to be the launchpad to what we do in the coming years,” he said.

A packed room of employers from across Calderdale listened intently as Pamela Wood, lead for apprenticeships and essential skills at the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, and Matthew Metcalfe, senior claims manager at Covea Insurance, shared their experiences with the levy so far along with the challenges they have faced and the positive impact there has been.

The event has been branded a success and it is hoped that the forum will continue to meet on a regular basis to discuss key skills issues with the apprenticeship levy and work together for the overall benefit of Calderdale.

Of the event, principal John Rees said: “There are discussions around the levy happening across the country so, by creating the Calderdale Skills Forum, we are bringing this national conversation down to a local level to make it relevant to these employers and help them get the most out of the funds available.

"We also wanted to create a platform for businesses to collaborate and share their views for the overall benefit of the district. We’re extremely proud to see such a fantastic turnout at the inaugural event and hope that through this network we can develop long-term relationships that will offer support and guidance.”