Businesses in the transport sector are currently trying to come to terms with the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, which all organisations with a wage bill of £3m a year and more must now pay.
However, help is on hand after one of the UK’s awarding organisations was approved by government to deliver assessment for the new Passenger Transport Driver (Bus, Coach, Rail) standard, which can be used to draw down levy funding.
Highfield Qualifications has been approved by the government to provide end-point assessment (EPA) for the new Passenger Transport Driver (Bus, Coach, Rail) standard, which is currently being introduced throughout the sector, and will be offering employers a full range of support services to achieve the maximum benefit from their potential apprenticeship levy payments.
The introduction of the apprenticeship levy from 2017 means larger employers are obliged to pay into a central fund that must be used for apprenticeship training, while smaller employers can claim 90% of their costs from the government.
The changes also mean new apprenticeship standards like Passenger Transport Driver now use EPA instead of continuous assessment, requiring individual apprentices to have their work and competence assessed towards the end of their learning against criteria established by groups of employers known as ‘trailblazers’.
Jason Sprenger, Highfield CEO, said: “Many employers are coming to terms with the introduction of the new apprenticeship standards and in particular the apprenticeship levy, so we understand that it is a complex and changing training environment for many.
“Highfield’s approach has been to do the hard work, so employers don’t have to. With our recognition as an end-point assessment organisation (EPAO), we are in a position to provide specific assessment services for those businesses already taking on apprentices or considering it.
“As well as assessment, we can offer a full range of consultancy and advice to any organisation still trying understand the changes and make the most of them – whether they are looking to take on apprentices for the first time, wanting to have their existing in-house training recognised, or searching for services to ensure they claim their full share of funding entitlement’.
“Apprenticeships are great for business and can provide a welcome boost to staff development and productivity when it is most needed, but it’s vital that organisations understand from day one how to make sure the changes are of benefit to them and their employees.”