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Have you considered developing your valued employees using an apprenticeship?

The current employment market is a challenge. It is becoming ever more apparent that there is a link between training and staff retention, so why not use apprenticeships as a way to train employees so that they can be better equipped to do what they do best?

Starting an apprenticeship has never been easier and West Berkshire Training Consortium (WBTC) have supported hundreds of local employers to build strength and depth in their workforce through apprenticeship training.

They are available across a range of sectors from a Level 2 to Level 7 (degree level) so you should be able to find an apprenticeship that suits the learning and development needs of your employees.

West Berkshire Training Consortium's Claire Richards
West Berkshire Training Consortium's Claire Richards

WBTC executive director Claire Richards said: “It’s easy to get started, the team at West Berkshire Training Consortium work with the business and the employee to consider their role and their aspirations to then match them to the right apprenticeship.

“Once this has been identified the employee will go through a self-assessment process to ensure they will be learning new knowledge, skills and behaviours and build a programme specifically relevant to their training needs.”

She added: “We then take the employee through the on boarding process and introduce them to a dedicated Training Consultant who manages the formal training side of the apprenticeship.

“West Berkshire Training Consortium ensure that the training delivered, results in the apprentice learning and developing in the job role, alongside completing any required assessments, all in preparation for the End Point Assessment.

“Apprenticeships are very different to what they used to be and are seen as a cost effective way to access good quality, robust, relevant and up-to-date training.

“We have had lots of employers and employees take this route and both have benefitted.”

Sharon Pearce from West Berkshire Council took the opportunity of an Adult Apprenticeship and has recently completed her Operations/Departmental Manager Level 5 Apprenticeship Standard.

She said “Undertaking my Level 5, Operational Departmental Manager, has given me more confidence and knowledge which in turn has helped me improve my performance in my managerial role.

“My new skills underpin all of my experience and gave me a formal qualification to evidence this.

“I now have a variety of techniques to continue motivating and challenging my great team as well as business management skills to develop and identify new services which fit the needs and purpose of the Family Hub.”

Toby Green who started his Team Leader Supervisor Level 3 apprenticeship with West Berkshire Council.

He said: "I undertook the apprenticeship to improve myself, but it actually did far more than that as it ended in promotion and even more importantly, opened my mind."

West Berkshire Council HR manager Abigail Witting said: “Apprenticeships are an amazing opportunity not just for training new staff but for upskilling and retaining existing staff.

“Here at West Berkshire Council we are proud to offer over 29 different apprenticeships from level 2 to 6 currently we have over a 130 apprentices on programme.

She added: “As a recent apprentice myself I can say 100% that doing an apprenticeship has been beneficial to me as an individual in terms of ongoing learning, improving my skills and experience and providing me with the potential to progress my career which wouldn’t have been possible if I was having to self-fund.

“From an employer perspective the advantages include being able to provide ongoing learning for staff to ensure we are meeting the future needs of the business, ensuring our workforce is highly skilled, improving retention and being able to ’grow our own’.”

Apprenticeships are designed by employers, so they reflect the relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours that a business needs.

It can be used for succession planning and to retrain staff in different areas of the business.

Head of organisational development at Sovereign Housing Hannah Gibson said: “Sovereign have always seen the value of apprenticeships, they are fundamental to building a strong pipeline of early career talent within the business to attract, develop and build the future skills and capability we need.

“More recently, we have expanded our use of apprenticeships to provide upskilling and career development routes for existing staff.”

She added: “In particular we’ve seen a real return on investment for our management development programmes, being able to support the career development of our people who wish to progress into a management role through a structured programme as the one we have run over the last year, has already led to several members of staff securing new positions.

“Moving forwards, we now want to build on this success and challenge ourselves, across the business, to an ‘apprenticeship first’ approach to formal learning and qualifications.”

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