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The UK Apprenticeship Levy: Treating the Symptom

How UK businesses are investing in the shortage of skilled workers

For businesses, the shortage of skilled workers is not a new problem, but the rapid advance of technology has made the scenario more painful than ever. In the UK, recent years saw the skills gap issue placed on the back-burner, though, as the region recovered from economic crisis. Now that things seem to be improving, the nagging reality of the skills shortage has returned, and firms are beginning to focus (and panic) once again in the face of the unarguable lack of skilled talent available to fill the jobs that our modern world demands.

With the introduction of the new ‘Apprenticeship Levy’ in the UK Budget, the government has taken a step in the right direction, and highlighted the importance of investing in fresh talent. However, how the government intends to implement this new initiative is causing trepidation and discontent within the industry. The fact remains that not only will it take time for the new tax to be instigated, the program appears to adopt a largely generic ‘one size fits all’ approach.

A huge oversight from the government on their part is that they seem to have forgotten there is no blueprint for training. Learning & development (L&D) needs to be tailored to suit the individual needs of the workforce and not simply just a way to herd sheep.


An icon_PersonKnowledge_Video_rgbunderlying problem with the new levy is that it will not provide employees with the correct, bespoke training required to create high skilled works.

Booming industries such as technology and engineering require a specific skill-set, and whilst employees with a certain set of skills will produced, the danger here is that these will not be right skills. The CBI has argued the new scheme is unlikely to deliver the high-quality level of workers that the economy is currently crying out for. The devil here will be in the detail – the government needs to keep in mind that training in greater numbers does not necessarily guarantee quality and success.

In order to be truly effective, L&D initiatives need to be aligned to specific business goals and ambitions. Otherwise, you’re just training people for the sake of training without any real aspirations and nobody wins. The importance of the government finally sitting up and taking action against a skills starved economy should not be an understatement. But then again, covering bullet holes with band aids won’t necessarily stop the bleeding.

The SumTotal Learn solution is the market leader, with over 45 million people using the solution to increase their effectiveness and productivity in companies of all sizes and all geographies. SumTotal Learn is the only LMS that provides personalised, contextual learning with the flexibility to enable world-class formal training and certification programs as well as day-to-day informal learning and knowledge sharing. With powerful learning management capabilities for businesses of all sizes, complete learning content management, content creation, measurement tools, offline learning tools and next generation mobile and social learning products, the SumTotal Learn solution can be used anytime, anywhere on nearly any device.

SumTotal’s Enterprise Learning Management enables organisations to:
- Deploy faster with open activity architecture
- Reduce non-compliance with continuing-education management
- Improve user adoption with an enhanced, intuitive user experience
- Increase visibility with personalized dashboards
- Reach employees on the go with mobile and off-line learning capabilities

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