Leading Midlands recruiter Encore Personnel, which employs more than 200 staff and operates 10 branches across the region, has decided to offer its surplus apprenticeship funding to other businesses and charities this festive season, in a bid to do all it can as a responsible recruiter to help tackle the growing skills gap in the UK.
Encore, headquartered in Leicester, specialises in warehousing, manufacturing, logistics and engineering recruitment and currently has a surplus apprenticeship levy pot of £93,000 – the equivalent of approximately 18 apprenticeships. Government rules on apprenticeships state that a business can transfer up to 25% of its annual levy funds to any company or charity, regardless of whether they pay the levy themselves.
Company Learning and Development Manager at Encore, Nikki Westwood, who has worked for the business for nearly 17 years, said: “As an apprenticeship levy payer, we have found in practice that we accrue more funds than we can spend on internal apprenticeships each year and as a passionate advocate of the power of apprenticeships done properly, we want to make as many businesses as possible aware of our surplus pot so that we can help them bring new talent into their organisations too.
“The levy is brilliant for several reasons, namely that it enables companies to fund apprenticeships so that they can upskill their staff and in doing so, bridge the skills gap. But it also means that bigger businesses can support smaller businesses by transferring any unspent funds, which is exactly what our Directors have decided we should do. It is the first time we have offered our levy pot to other organisations, so we’re eager to see the level of interest and variety of enquiries that come in.”
Encore’s culture is very much about training and developing staff from within the business, and so it invests time and energy in its own apprentices with the end goal of strengthening staff retention and paving the way for the next generation of business leaders.
HR Director at Encore, Cindy Gunn, added: “Apprenticeships are a great way to add skills to your team and make sure these skills are embedded directly into the work environment. They do have an impact with regards to time, albeit training providers always try and gloss over this point – but overall, with a bit of commitment on both sides, you end up with an engaged, motivated and upskilled employee.
“Of course, it does rely on the effectiveness of the training provider – I’ve seen good, bad and indifferent examples. A good apprenticeship training provider will engage regularly with your employee, build a relationship with the line manager, take time to understand the needs of the business and flex the training to suit business needs.”
Senior Divisional Manager at Encore, Maddy O’Donnell, said of one of her recent apprentices who has swiftly progressed through the ranks: “Tara has taken on board many of the areas covered during her learning journey and this helped her towards her promotion to Assistant Manager. Gaining a distinction in her apprenticeship has given her confidence to continue pushing herself to the next level along her career path.”
Nikki added: “For those businesses or charities interested in receiving a transfer from our levy pot, our main takeaway is this – apprenticeships do involved investment from within your business, namely the time it takes to ensure an apprentice is settled in and progressing, but it pays dividends in the long run when you see the end results of a successful apprenticeship.
“The transfer itself is a simple process and we will talk your business through the steps as well as the conditions of the transfer. We’d love to hear from any business that thinks this funding might give them the boost they need this festive season.”
Established in Leicester in 2001, Encore Personnel operates 10 branches and 22 Managed Services sites across the Midlands, employs more than 200 staff and places 4,000 workers each week, and along with driving, also specialises in warehousing, manufacturing, logistics, and engineering recruitment.
Encore prides itself on its exceptional client and candidate service. It puts the customer and candidate/ employee experience at the centre of all strategy with dual value propositions of ‘your business, your culture, our priority’ and ‘your future, your wellbeing, our priority.’ It places its success on following its key values including avoiding negativity, creating loyalty and communicating with a refreshing openness.