Paying it Forward – How do you nurture early talent?

It’s that time of the year when the news headlines focus on exam results, often in a negative manner playing down the good achievements of the future workforce. As my social media newsfeeds see a flurry of gushing parents I often think about those who didn’t do as well by today’s standards, is it harder or easier for them than it was for me to find my way in the world?

Looking back, I feel lucky I had some great mentors and through sheer determination and hard work have fared well in my career despite at times especially in my younger years feeling that the odds were stacked against me.

*In April 2017 the apprentice levy came into operation, a tax on employers which can be used to fund apprenticeships; it is payable by all employers with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million at a rate of 0.5% of their total pay bill, HMRC hold it in a digital fund. It is also matched by a 10% additional contribution; payment from the digital fund is made directly to training providers monthly, for as long as the apprentice remains on the training scheme, all funds are available for 2 years after being accrued, after which time if unspent they expire.

As a senior HR professional, I feel the evolution of apprentice schemes has changed the working landscape for today’s youngsters in a positive way, but it’s not all good news they have also created a culture of competitiveness to get on the so-called best schemes and high standards for some schemes have seen those more traditional apprentice applicants lose out.

There has been a lot of negative press on the apprentice levy as well with many seeing it as another way to tax businesses. However, it doesn’t have to be; I often come across clients who don’t exhaust their levy pot; in most cases they will operate some form of apprenticeship placement normally for a school leaver; but don’t consider using the funds to help develop existing employees for example a rising stars development programme.