CIPFA apprenticeships ‘exceeding expectations’

10 Jul 19

CIPFA apprenticeships are helping plug a skills gap left by austerity for finance manager positions and above.

Helen Woods, CIPFA’s apprenticeship delivery manager, told PF after a morning session at Public Finance Live that the number of apprenticeships coming through had “exceeded expectations”.

Since the apprenticeship levy was introduced 18 months ago, CIPFA has taken on 376 apprentices, and hopes to take on a further 141 in September, Woods told delegates.

“In many organisations there was a dearth of financial managers coming through,” Woods told PF, adding that this was largely down to funding challenges caused by austerity. But now public sector employers – including local authorities, academies and the NHS – are taking advantage of apprenticeships, with the added benefit that “apprentices often stay with an organisation”, Woods said.

Woods added that, although the current growth in the numbers of apprentices being taken on “will probably slow”, she expects CIPFA will “continue to provide a pipeline of finance professionals for the sector”.

She said apprenticeships could be more appealing to employers following the government raising its contribution to the cost, from 90% to 95% in April this year. Employers with a pay bill over £3m must pay the levy, to the HMRC, but any organisations can draw from it to pay for apprentices. The levy came into effect in April 2017.

In May, ministers were urged to extend the apprenticeship levy to further ease the skills gap.

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