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Casting off the blue overalls – a blog by Philip King FCICM

6 April 2017

Today is the day that businesses with a pay bill over £3m will have to start paying the 0.5% Apprenticeship Levy.

It’s been heralded for a long time and has been waiting in the wings but now it’s firmly on stage and performing. The biggest issue I see is that, although the subject has received much coverage (including webinars delivered by the CICM which can be viewed here) there is still an overwhelming lack of understanding and knowledge across business. Worse, many businesses are missing the opportunity to take advantage of government funding to help develop their credit management teams.

Organisations paying the levy will be able to recover much of the amount they have paid through apprenticeship training. Companies who are not liable to pay the levy will be able to use government funding to deliver apprenticeships by contributing just 10% of the cost, while the government pays the remaining 90%. Employers with less than 50 employees will be able to train 16-18 year olds at no cost at all.

Many businesses also seem to be unaware that apprenticeships are not only for those starting out in their career. Existing employees looking to progress or build their skills and qualifications can be funded through the scheme. The funding can be used to accelerate the training and development of current staff and it can provide a fast-track route to professional accreditation. Who wouldn’t want better qualified and more motivated people, and improved performance from the team?

The challenge is perhaps in the word ‘apprentice’, which immediately conjures an image of blue overalls and young men or women learning a ‘trade’. But the world has moved on. The new apprenticeship schemes provide real opportunities for businesses, and particularly credit departments, to provide careers to new entrants and advancement for existing employees. Credit management is an exciting and rewarding career; what better way to enhance its status and professionalism?

For details of the CICM’s five apprenticeship schemes and for further information, please click here.


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