AF Blakemore has announced that West Midlands-based training company Performance Through People (PTP) will be the lead provider in the delivery of its 2017/18 apprenticeship programme.
The agreement has been confirmed as part of Blakemore’s response to the National Apprenticeship Levy which came into effect in May 2017 and requires companies to contribute 0.5% of their payroll to fund the training of apprenticeship provision.
Blakemore’s director of Corporate Affairs, Paul Cowley, said that the business is committed to maximising the opportunities that apprenticeships provide and will use its levy budget to help meet skills and talent gaps across its operation.
“We are in the process of registering 30 new apprentices since the introduction of the new funding arrangements in May and have a identified a number of creative and innovative ways to use our levy contribution over the remainder of the financial year,” he said.
“Our apprenticeship strategy will encompass both the recruitment of new employees and the introduction of new development programmes to up-skill existing colleagues.”
Blakemore plans to recruit 50 existing store managers onto a retail management programme, 40 new starters onto a structured warehouse & distribution apprenticeship and aims to use the Levy to fund business admin and finance training.
“This trailblazing initiative has the potential to be a core strand of our future leadership development plans and represents the way that we are seeking to approach the levy as an opportunity rather than a pure cost,” said Cowley.
“At a time when businesses such as ours are facing multiple challenges related to increased competition, marketplace uncertainty and the implications of legislation such as the National Living Wage, the Apprenticeship Levy certainly poses another significant issue.
“With that said, we are committed to ensuring that we fully utilise our levy payments to help live our company value to maximise staff potential and their contribution to the company’s success.”