Apprenticeships can help businesses ‘produce stars’


Date: 17th Jan 2018

‘If you don’t spend it, you’ll lose out’ – that was the message from business experts at Bucks New University’s apprenticeship event today (Wednesday).

Industry and education experts joined together to unravel the new world of the levy, and higher and degree apprenticeships, at the breakfast meeting at Missenden Abbey, Great Missenden.

One of the speakers, David Hilliard, former Learning and Development Manager at Knorr-Bremse, told guests that he himself had completed two apprenticeships, 32 years apart.

He said: “If you are committed to working with apprenticeships and investing in apprentices you can achieve anything. Developing an apprentice isn’t easy; it’s hard work. But if you put the effort in you will produce stars and see the benefits.”

The apprenticeship levy, which was introduced in April last year, is paid by employers in any sector with a pay bill of more than £3million per year.

Those employers can use their apprenticeship levy funds to access degree apprenticeships, from higher education providers like Bucks, to develop their workforce. But statistics released by the Department for Education at the end of last year showed that only just over half of those paying into the levy have signed up to use it.L-R David Hilliard, former Learning and Development Manager at Knorr-Bremse, Greta Paa-Kerner, Principal Lecturer & IMBA Course Leader, Professor Rebecca Bunting, Vice-Chancellor at Bucks New University, Jas Sandhu, HE Relationship Manager, Chartered Institute of Management, and Mark N Morton, Employment Taxes Director at Grant Thornton UK LLP

Greta Paa-Kerner, Principal Lecturer & IMBA Course Leader at Bucks New University, also talked about the importance of developing staff, as well as developing technology.

“We cannot predict the effect that automation will have, but we can say with certainty that there will continue to be a need for effective leaders and managers and for organisations to remain relevant in a complex, volatile world,” she said.

“Bucks will work with employers on the structure and delivery of the course so that it works for them.”

The focus of the event was supporting businesses in building an apprenticeship strategy. Other keynote speakers included: Professor Rebecca Bunting, Vice-Chancellor at Bucks New University; Jas Sandhu, HE Relationship Manager, Chartered Management Institute; and Mark Morton, Employment Taxes Director at Grant Thornton UK LLP.

Mr Sandhu said: “It was an engaging and interactive event and covered a number of key areas that either have, or need to be, considered. We are excited to be working with Bucks New University and supporting them in their partnerships with businesses.”

Joseph West, an employer partnership coordinator at Adviza Partnership who attended the event, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the event and it’s built on my knowledge around apprenticeships and how they can be approached. It has provided excellent networking opportunities.”

Guest speaker Mr Morton, from Grant Thornton UK LLP, said if employers don’t use their levy, their business will lose out.

He added: “Higher and degree apprenticeships open up opportunities for people for whom a traditional degree may not be right for them.”

Bucks New University, based in High Wycombe, is working with the public and private sector to provide a range of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships which provide a flexible route for employers to access the life-changing opportunities that higher education provides.

Or for more information about apprenticeships visit or call 01296 744202

Picture: L-R David Hilliard, Greta Paa-Kerner, Professor Rebecca Bunting, Jas Sandhu and Mark Morton.


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