Shropshire Council

About Upskill Shropshire

The background to Upskill Shropshire

The implementation of the government’s Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017 gave an unprecedented opportunity to large employers, like Shropshire Council, to develop their workforce by attracting new talent, and by training and developing existing staff.

Apprenticeships are not just for school leavers and young people. Hundreds of subjects are available, covering almost any job you could imagine, offering qualifications up to masters degree level. Apprenticeships are currently undergoing a reform, and are a high quality, work-based way of training, enabling staff to demonstrate competence relevant to their role, whilst still working and earning.

As a large employer Shropshire Council were keen to ensure that high quality apprenticeships were delivered to the workforce, whilst also demonstrating exceptional value for money. From this, the Upskill Shropshire team was born! The team is made up from individuals across the authority with different background and specialist knowledge including procurement, HR, workforce planning and organisational development.

Our procurement process began in September 2016. Bringing together specialisms from across the council, a project board was created to manage the tender creation and evaluation process. Potential providers were then put through a rigorous selection process. This took into account a number of key metrics: Ofsted reports; financial data; previous achievement rates of apprenticeships; breadth and quality of delivery. By the end of the evaluation process 15 providers were selected to form our Upskill Shropshire provider framework.

Upskill Shropshire allocated the available apprenticeships into 24 categories. With a maximum of five providers selected per category, this ensured that only the top scoring providers were approved in each lot. We conduct a ‘mini-competition’ process for each requirement, allowing us to select the best provider on the basis of value for money and quality.

By selecting a mixture of local, regional and national providers, we've ensured that our framework provides the flexibility required, without compromising the high quality of apprenticeships on offer. Recognising that other employers would need to go through the same exercise, a key deliverable for Upskill Shropshire was the ability to extend the framework to other organisations.

Our continued investment

We're continually investing in Upskill Shropshire, and are dedicated to ensuring that we can deliver access to high quality apprenticeships for employers and their employees. We do this by proactively monitoring the performance of our providers against key criteria, looking to further develop the framework where possible, and keep on top of news and updates from the ESFA, IFA and key organisations.

Apprenticeship Levy Data Publication 2019/2020

Public sector organisations with 250 or more staff have a target set by the government to use an average of at least 2.3% of their staff as new apprentice starts each year. This means we must:

  • Report our data annually – (see Annual Data Reporting Publication document for further data)
  • Explain how we have had regard to the target, including the actions we have taken to challenge obstacles preventing us from meeting the target

Data Publication - Public Sector Duty

Shropshire Council Reporting percentages

2017-2018

2018-2019

2019-2020

Percentage of apprenticeship starts (both new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship) as a proportion of employment starts between 1 April to 31 March

1.95%

11.05%

14.27%

Percentage of total headcount that were apprentices on 31 March

0.44%

2.12%

3.18%

Percentage of apprenticeship starts (both new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship) between 1 April to 31 March as a proportion of total headcount on 31 March

0.29%

1.58%

1.69%

View our Annual Data Reporting Publication Infographic.

Actions taken towards meeting the Public Sector Duty Target

Over the last reporting period, we have been able to meet our target of 100 apprenticeship starts across 2019/2020.

Over the past 12 months, we have increased our engagement opportunities for staff and schools staff by holding advice surgeries and attending Headteacher forums and meetings to promote the Apprenticeship Levy and benefits of apprenticeship training.

  • Our apprentices access a range and level of apprenticeships, and these apprenticeship training courses are used to support skills needs and development across all levels of the workforce.
  • Shropshire Council participated in the Local Government Associations’ Apprenticeship Accelerator Programme and conducted an Apprenticeship MOT in early 2020 and we have adopted the practices and recommendations from this and taken them forward into the next financial year.  We have developed a strategic action plan in our approach to Apprenticeships which we have been implementing since April 2020.  We now have had over 200 apprenticeships being undertaken in various services and schools within Shropshire.  The apprenticeships range from level 2 through to 7 including revenues and benefits,  business administration, management and senior leader, digital marketing,  data analyst and social worker.  We used our levy funds to start training 8 new Social Worker degree apprenticeships and 7 existing trainee social workers in January 2020 and we will be starting a new cohort in January 2021.

In November 2019, we hosted our first Apprenticeship Awards Ceremony where we celebrated 8 apprentices who had completed their apprenticeship and the Winner of our Apprentice of the Year Award. We’re holding a Virtual Celebration event in 2020 but hopefully we will be able to have a face to face celebration later in 2021.

For more information, please get in touch with us at apprenticeshiplevy@shropshire.gov.uk or call 01743 258521.