The Boardroom Awaits

4 Minutes

BBC One’s The Apprentice has returned to our screens and last week saw contestants tra...

By Pareto Team


BBC One’s The Apprentice has returned to our screens and last week saw contestants travel to Cape Town with the task of creating and running bespoke Safari and Vineyard tours. Safe to say, there were a fair few moments of the ridiculous in the episode, as we have become accustomed to. From running out of time, to rows in gift shops, wildly overpromising and almost comically under delivering, the show certainly didn’t disappoint.


Despite some of the more outlandish moments of the show, however, there is a real £250,000 investment and a 50/50 partnership with Alan Sugar awaiting the winner of the series and many have gone on to enjoy great success as a result of this cash injection and support.


So, where are the past winners now?

At Pareto we were lucky enough to have Tim Campbell, the winner of the 2005 series, speak at our annual awards ceremony ‘Grad to Great’ in 2017. Tim became the first ever winner of ‘The Apprentice’ when it launched in 2005 and landed a £100,000-a-year job with Lord Sugar's firm Amstrad. He then left after two years to found a charity called Bright Ideas Trust which helps young people to set up their own businesses. Fast forward to today and he runs his own digital marketing agency, Marketing Runner; many other winners are enjoying similar success with their own business ventures. 


But apprenticeships, as we know, aren’t just reserved for TV shows and Lord Sugar. Forget the old image you might have of apprenticeships that exist purely to teach a trade. The ‘Fire It Up’ initiative, launched in January by the government, is showcasing just how many quality apprenticeships there are across hundreds of dynamic industries.


What will an apprentice actually bring to my business?


•             37% of organisations said offering apprenticeships has helped them attract new talent.

•             34% said apprentices bring a positive attitude to the workplace.

•             83% of organisations said their experience with hiring apprentices has been good or excellent.


High-performing sales organisations are 2 x as likely to provide ongoing training as low-performing ones and BT is one of many companies cashing in on the benefits of apprenticeships for training. BT retain 85% of their apprentices and tripled their annual apprentice recruitment between 2016 and 2018, taking their apprentice field from 350 to 1,100.


BT’s head of apprenticeships, Ann Potterton, said of the decision “We get ambitious, driven, positive, enthusiastic people who value the opportunity. They pay that back in many different ways […] half of the apprentices that stay with us are promoted at least once within three years. The company now have CEOs of individual business units who started at BT as apprentices”


Do apprenticeships work well in B2B business?

Yes! But, don’t just take our word for it.


We worked with Insight, a leader in providing smart, cutting-edge technology solutions for global organisations of all sizes with their bespoke Insight Intelligent Technology Solutions™. We assisted in building their expertise in high value consultative opportunities and managed the full end to end process, on-boarding 12 talented ITTSA apprentices in January 2019. 


Rob Glegg the Sales Director at Insight said: ‘It was incredible - slick, fine-tuned and professional, with the calibre of candidates. Outstanding!’


We also worked with Travis Perkins to provide the training for the Level 4 Sales Apprenticeship.


Louise Powell the Head of Education and Learning said of our apprenticeship learner journey –"When we decided to launch Sales Apprenticeships across our Organisation we wanted to look for a supplier that was experienced in delivering effective sales training into Organisations, with a proven track record in returning value through training. We decided to work with Pareto for our Sales Apprenticeships, while Apprenticeships are quite a new venture for Pareto we have found the process simple and collaborative.  Our learners are really enjoying the training and it is already having an impact on the way they approach their portfolios."


Universal Smart Card chose Pareto to deliver the Sales Executive Apprenticeship.


The Sales Director Alasdair Nutt said: "Working with Pareto has been a fantastic experience, especially across the apprenticeship.  Their tailored approach is perfect for us”.


Why is now the time to invest in apprenticeships?

Catherine McKinnell, the MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North revealed in July that a ‘staggering £37 million’ of unused Levy funds have been ‘clawed back’ by the government after just two months of funds expiring in employers’ accounts.


We know by now that the Levy is for all employers who pay a wage bill higher than £3m per year and that payment is at a rate of 0.5%. So, the average employer paying into the scheme contributes around £140,000 each year. If this money isn’t spent in 24 months it is reclaimed by the government. Over 500,000 employers across the UK have been paying the apprenticeship levy for over a year now and those contributions add up to over £1.8 billion. The first lump of funding expired on the 6th April 2019 and any unused funding was collected back by the government to be distributed among SMEs.


I pay into the Levy – what does that mean for me?

This is money you could be using on apprenticeships throughout your company – don’t let it just be used up as an extra tax – instead, use it to up-skill your existing employees or train up new talent.  


The Association for Talent Development (ATD) conducted research into companies that offer comprehensive training programs for their staff and found that those companies enjoyed:


  • 218% higher income per employee than companies without formal development and training opportunities.
  • Profit margins being 24% higher than their competitors who spent less on training.


The reality is that this bill isn’t going anywhere, so if you are one of the companies contributing, make the most of your money by investing in an apprenticeship. Your employees are your most critical business assets, so investing in training and developing your staff is a no brainer.


I don’t pay into the Levy. Is an apprentice still worth it for me?



For any non- levy paying employers, getting apprentices on board is almost free because of the ‘co-investment’ scheme. On the 1st April 2019, this deal got even better and employers now pay only 5% towards the cost of apprenticeship training.  The government will pay the rest (up to the funding band maximum).


By investing in apprenticeship training you could be actually cashing in on immediate profits. Not only will the government pay 95% of the cost of the training, but they will also pay the National Insurance tax too. If you employ an apprentice who is under 25 years old and following an approved UK government statutory apprenticeship framework you will not need to pay their National Insurance contributions (on their earnings below £827 a week).



Fire it up in your business today and get your staff ready for the boardroom.


Get in touch with our Apprenticeship team to find out how an apprentice can change the game for your company. Call us on 0330 057 4891


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