Seize the day – by Dr Debbie Tuckwood BA (Hons) FCIEA Doc Soc Sci
08 March 2019
From April, the Government will start clawing back unspent apprenticeship levy funds at a rate of around £120m per month, so there’s never been a better time to push for investment in your credit and collections team.
First things first, find out more about the size of your company’s levy pot. If your company doesn’t use the monthly levy within two years they’ll lose it. This means, for example, that funds deposited in your levy pot in September 2017, which have not been used on apprenticeship training, will be deducted in September 2019. Clearly, therefore, you have an opportunity to use these funds to transform your team’s performance and raise the status of credit and collections as a profession before the deadline passes. Indeed, even if you work for a non-levied company, there are still generous funds to qualify your team.
There are many good reasons why you should take advantage of the Levy. The best teams are those that focus on their goals and make it happen. They have a clear vision of what a first-class, enthusiastic and highly skilled team looks like. They establish apprenticeships and make sure these are a success by ensuring nothing blocks them from achieving their vision. And you can do the same. Now is the time to fight for the new recruits in your team and train the next generation of credit controllers and collectors through the Level 2 apprenticeship. Now is the time, also, to retrain and support the more mature recruits or develop your current team with the Level 3 Advanced Credit Controller/Debt Collection Specialist apprenticeship.
Why not reach further, and explore the broad range of CICM qualifications available, for example in face-to-face or virtual classes, and include specialist training days to develop skills. Don’t get fobbed off with a study text and occasional tutor support. The funding cap of £9k for Level 3 apprenticeships more than covers a fully supported programme. Set expectations high: ensure there is time for study during the day, insist on feedback on homework and support revision. Encourage and reward those who go the extra mile with their studies. Recognise that for some this could be a once in a lifetime chance to gain qualifications.
Credit and collections apprenticeships are well established, with around 170 apprentices currently on programme, the majority studying at Level 3. If your training provider has no expertise in credit management, find out how they can partner with CICM or see the CICM website for providers committed to delivering apprenticeships in credit control and collections. Join the push to raise skills in the credit and collections profession. As Horace wrote, Carpe Diem. Seize the day. The money is there to be spent. Use it or lose it. There’s never a better time to invest in your team.
Dr Debbie Tuckwood
CICM Chief Advisor (Professional Development)