CPD- A Golden Opportunity
There are many challenges around us and often the outlook can look gloomy. How do we balance our budgets, protect our staffing, keep the great people we have and attract new blood in? There is one very big opportunity out there and call me sad but I feel it is a golden opportunity for support staff in schools that has never been there before.
At this point I expect I have heard some sighs ranging from ‘oh that’ to hopefully some among you who feel the same as myself, at long last we have something tangible to offer our teams.
I have been very privileged during the last 12 months, within my extended role, being able to research and start to put plans together for my MAT on how we are going to approach using our Levy. We are very mindful that at the end of the day this is a tax but one that we can turn into benefits.
How ready are you and your establishments?
The vast majority of us have been caught up in having to make contributions, the first of which are just about to go into our digital accounts if you sit in an English school. The levy is payable in Scotland and Wales but is being used in different ways by the governing bodies and those of us who do not have to contribute, where else can you go and gain 90% funding towards CPD.
In this piece, I do not wish to preach but to signpost. Forget the image of the 16-19 year old that we remember as the Apprentice. This is something available to all of us, at all ages whether we are a new employee or an existing employee we can all look to take advantage of training from courses at level 2 to 7, and in the vast majority of school roles.
Information is now available for schools in a recent publication ‘The Schools’ guide to Apprenticeship reforms
The guide lays out how the levy can provide the CPD so many of our colleagues have a thirst for, and how to access the funding.
Have you reviewed your approach?
Now is the time for action, your payments have a shelf-life of 24 months so this is very much a scenario of ‘Use it or Lose it’
- Conduct a training needs analysis or gather information from performance reviews, talk to your staff and identify the CPD they wish to undertake to support them in their jobs and create an opportunity and potentially a career path.
- Review your recruitment strategy with your SLT – you can pay an Apprentice whatever you wish as long as it is no lower than the Government prescribed amounts. Identify the roles that you can offer as Apprenticeships with CPD to support.
- Decide on providers you are going to work with, use their knowledge and expertise to assist you in setting up process.
- If you are a local authority school, ensure you know who your contact is and the application for funding process – they may or may not have advised you.
Further Guidance on the Funding Rules has been published on the Gov.uk website by the Skills Funding Agency: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeship-funding-and-performance-management-rules-2017-to-2018
The guide has been written very clearly and contains a wealth of information on how to make it happen for your school and your employees.
Making the most of the opportunity
I urge you all to make the most of this opportunity, so many times support staff are left felling the poor partners, used in the right way we can make a difference with this levy.
Investment in our employees, will help them feel more valued. Our establishments benefit when there
is new growth apprenticeships can create employee loyalty, people stay longer understand the employer brand and in turn this results in the next generation receiving a great education.
We may not be able to offer great pay rises but we can help to provide great opportunities.
I hope this wets your appetite to go forward and find out more about apprenticeships.
By Lynne Fletcher - May 2017