Sixteen apprentices have started work at the Next Step’s Day Nursery, based at retailer Next plc’s Enderby headquarters as part of a new government scheme to help fund apprenticeships. The nursery, which looks after the children of Next employees, takes care of over 200 children every day.
North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College has helped the leading retailer to fund its first apprenticeships under the new apprenticeship levy arrangements.
Introduced by government earlier this year, the funding model for apprentices has seen fundamental changes with major employers playing a greater role in the development and financing of apprenticeship programmes.
At the heart of the changes is the introduction of an apprenticeship levy for businesses that have a wage bill of over £3 million. The levy, which represents 0.5% of the PAYE contribution, is placed in an HMRC account along with 10% additional government funding.
North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College has been the preferred training provider for retail giant Next since 2014. Five apprentices are working towards an Apprenticeship in Children and Young People’s Workforce, and eleven are following an Early Years’ Educator qualification. Many of the apprentices progressed from previous programmes and are working alongside existing Next employees who were keen to improve their skills.
Nursery manager Lisa Wills from Next Steps Day Nursery said: “We have been working with the College for several years to provide apprenticeship training for our nursery staff. The introduction of the levy now gives us more scope to train existing, as well as new, staff. Although it was a daunting task trying to navigate the levy process, the College guided us closely every step of the way.”
Marion Plant OBE, Principal and Chief Executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, commented: “Helping Next to deliver training at their nursery under the new apprenticeship levy arrangements has been a rewarding experience for all of us, and a first for the College, representing a seamless transition to the new levy scheme.
“We have been delighted to work with Next for several years, and are proud that 100% of our apprentices have so far secured permanent jobs with the nursery after successfully achieving their qualifications.
“We are delighted to see these new apprentices start an exciting career with a fantastic employer.”
Publication date: Monday 13th November 2017