The best way for local authorities to upskill staff

Apprenticeships can help you develop the high-level skills you need.

The best way for local authorities to upskill staff

Councils and local authorities are often the biggest employers in their local area. Thousands of people rely on them for work – whether they’re cleaning streets, managing housing or looking after the most vulnerable people in our society. That means local authorities face the same challenges as all other large employers – how to upskill and retrain existing staff.

It’s no secret that local authorities lack digital skills, but there are often skills gaps in many other areas – including leadership and management, business admin, teaching and health and social care. Local authorities have a duty to their community to develop these skills so they can provide the best possible service.

Many local authorities also pay the apprenticeship levy. If you’re one of these authorities, you also have a duty to spend it on apprenticeship training. Any levy funds that are left unspent after 24 months are returned to central government.

Luckily, both of these responsibilities can be fulfilled if you use apprenticeships to upskill your existing employees.

It’s a common misconception that apprenticeships are just for young people learning a trade – but this isn’t the case. There are hundreds of apprenticeships at intermediate level all the way up to degree level, which are idea for developing the high-level skills you need in your local authority.

You can use apprenticeships to upskill staff on a person-by-person basis. If you want to train a particular member of staff in digital or management skills, for example, you can find the right apprenticeship for their progression.

This is a great way to get started, but as local authorities have large levy funds to spend, a more strategic approach can be more effective. Think about your skills strategy. What skills do you need to develop? Can any of your existing employees be reskilled or upskilled to fill the gaps? Do you have any new managers who need leadership training? How will these skills impact your community? Do you struggle with staff retention?

Creating an apprenticeship strategy can help you solve many of these issues. With apprenticeships, you can develop the skills you need, support your employee's personal development, increase staff retention and improve service levels in your community – using funds already allocated to you. It’s a no-brainer really.

To find out more about how the apprenticeship levy works for local authorities, download your step-by-step guide. It covers the 7 steps you should follow to create an apprenticeship strategy and make the most of your levy funds.

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