GUEST COLUMN: What can traineeships do for home care?

Adrian Grove cropped

By Adrian Grove, Business Development Director at Qube Learning

In 2020, the care sector was Qube Learning’s strongest sector for placing trainees, making up 43% of all placements. Between March and July last year we recruited 210 trainees and 82% of these went into work following their traineeship – 36% as an apprentice and 46% into a new job.

Similarly, our apprentice starts were up by 14% after the first lockdown, outperforming many other training providers and of the 228 jobseekers that completed training with Qube Learning 42.3% resulted in direct employment.

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It’s clear that all types of government-backed training are a crucial first step on the path to success for many trainees and others looking to enter the job market. But they can also have clear benefits for employers within the care sector.

The incentive calculator below compares and contrasts the differences so that home care businesses can make the best decision on which is the right choice for their needs. The decision will depend on several factors, including staff needs, company cash flow, seasonal peaks in industry and even specialist experience or training.

What is a traineeship?

Traineeships are designed to speedily secure a young person’s progression in a positive way, whether that’s to an apprenticeship or to further employment by learning within a work environment. They are a basic first  introduction to working life and can often be a successful route for individuals looking to qualify for an apprenticeship.

A traineeship is a skills development programme that includes a work placement. It is designed for young people aged 16 to 24, unqualified or qualified up to a Level 3 (A level or equivalent) whose preference is to find a job or apprenticeship, but who may lack the skills and experience sought by employers. Unlike an apprenticeship, a traineeship is a programme of learning and skills development, it is not a job.

Programmes can last from six weeks up to a year, though most tend to last less than six months. In 2019, 75% of trainees started an apprenticeship, employment, or further learning within 12 months of starting the traineeship.

In July 2020 the Chancellor provided additional investment for 30,000 new traineeships, and employers could also access a new work placement incentive of up to £1,000 per learner for up to ten trainees in over nine regions.

It’s clear that both traineeships and apprenticeships are important training routes for people looking for that first rung on the ladder. But they also offer many benefits to employers beyond the positive social impact businesses can have on their local communities.

Firstly, a high-quality traineeship when partnered with a training provider, such as Qube Learning, ensures that a tailored programme is developed to suit your business needs. Whilst bringing in enthusiastic young people into your business injects the workforce with renewed energy, having a tailored programme means that energy is directed where you need it, with the training provider helping save your own time and energy too.

Secondly, working with trainees will also give established members of staff the chance to develop their skills in mentoring and coaching young people.

Lastly, traineeships will allow you to shape the skills and experience of young people from your local community, helping your business to develop a loyal and talented workforce and establish a positive business reputation. It also helps you attract the best talent before they are snapped up by competitors, and, if you publicise your new positions, can be a great PR boost for the business.

And what about apprenticeships?

In Qube Learning’s recent survey, 81% of apprentice employers said that apprentices make their businesses more productive. Through government incentives available, apprenticeships can reduce training and recruitment costs whilst also developing a skilled, motivated and qualified workforce. And there is a direct correlation between a motivated workforce and improved customer satisfaction.

Apprenticeships are designed to enhance an individual’s level of confidence by developing their practical skills. To ensure that apprentices qualify, fully equipped for their chosen field, apprenticeships each have a set of ‘Standards’. Throughout the apprenticeship, candidates monitor their learning against these Standards and must show that they have full understanding of them as part of the End-Point Assessment. 

In line with government recovery plans following Covid-19, employers taking on an apprentice aged 16-18 (or aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan) will be given a £3,000 incentive (£1,000 as part of a previous incentive, and £2,000 under the new plan).  If taking on someone aged 19-24, employers will be given a £2,000 incentive under the new government plan; and if aged 25+ will be given a £1,500 incentive.

These payments will be made directly to employers in two equal installments, when the apprentice reaches their first ninety days and then on day 365 of their programme. To be eligible to receive these particular incentives, apprentices must not have been employed by the employer within the six months prior to the apprenticeship contract start date.

Importantly though, apprenticeships are not just for new staff. They can also be an important tool for upskilling existing employees. Further training for your staff will give them knowledge and capabilities required to work more efficiently. These skills may come from an apprenticeship that is not necessarily linked directly with the position. For example, a Level 3 Team Leader apprenticeship is relevant across multiple sectors and can help develop natural born leaders, helping to secure your business’s future through good succession planning.

Getting involved in the Kickstart Scheme

The Kickstart Scheme is also ideal for the home care sector. It launched on September 2 to enable employers to offer young people aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit a six-month work placement.

Funding can cover 100% of the national minimum wage or national living wage, depending on the age of the participant, for 25 hours per week.

Funding can also be used to cover associated employer National Insurance contributions or employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

To qualify, employers must make an application for a minimum of 30 job placements, but this may not be possible for smaller businesses. In this case, smaller organisations can team up through a Kickstart Gateway, where 30 placements can be provided to a number of businesses. Local authorities, charities, trade bodies and training providers, like Qube Learning, can help facilitate this collective action.

For employers, this is an excellent opportunity to not only grow business, but also invest in young people, providing them with a path to grow their careers when many are struggling amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.  By working with a Gateway, you’ll also receive additional support that guides you through the Kickstart process, and through Jobcentre Plus find suitable applicants for the job placements you offer.

Traineeships, apprenticeships and the Kickstart Scheme present a whole range of benefits for employers and employees within home care. I’d urge any business owner considering opting for one of these government-backed schemes not to be put off by the detail, but work with a training provider to find out more.

Tags : apprenticeshipsKickstart schemetraineeshipstraining
Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke

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