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McVitie’s adds key ingredient to Halifax Opportunities Trust’s apprenticeship delivery

Learning logo with yellow paint background

The Learning and Apprenticeships team at Halifax Opportunities Trust welcomes best-selling snacks maker and large local employer as a levy transfer partner

An early years practitioner supporting children in a childcare setting

The Halifax Opportunities Trust (HOT) Learning and Apprenticeships team is pleased to welcome pladis Global, owners of the fantastic McVitie’s Cake portfolio, made at their factory in Halifax as a collaborator in its levy transfer programme. Working with the organisation, HOT has been able to support eight learners with Early Years Practitioner Level 2 and Early Years Educator Level 3 qualifications, meaning that small local organisations in the early years sector can take on apprentices and support their workforce with skills that benefit all involved.

Maximising opportunities for levy transfers to boost apprenticeship delivery in Calderdale

Establishing the new connection with pladis, a large levy paying organisation with factories throughout the UK, means that a levy transfer of unspent funds can be allocated to the Trust to support local organisations that are otherwise unable to fund apprenticeships.

Mags Ciewiertnia, Quality & System Lead at Halifax Opportunities Trust, comments: “We are extremely proud of the new workstream we have established with the team at pladis and the opportunities this creates for local employers and learners. Creating new opportunities and maximising potential is something that we are very passionate about at HOT Apprenticeships – the support from pladis has unlocked career journeys for many learners and we hope this continues as our relationship grows.”

The need to expand career opportunities for early years and education workers is an ongoing crisis in the region. New Ofsted statistics show that 5,400 early years providers have closed since 2021. HOT Learning and Apprenticeships continues to work with local Children’s Centres and Nurseries to tackle skills shortages in the sector, while working to overcome recruitment challenges through matching apprentices with early years employers.

Apprenticeship levy transfers give the Trust an opportunity to invest in high quality learning and development. This helps to recruit apprentices and develop the skills of existing employees in support of the future workforce and economy.

Seamus McCabe pladis Factory General Manager comments: “pladis feel extremely privileged and honoured to be able to support the growth of the people in Calderdale. Apprenticeships are vital to help young people in our area into the world of work.  A number of weeks ago we welcomed MP Ms Holly Lynch to our bakery on Hopwood Lane. We discussed ways that we could better and more meaningfully support the local community – this was a key outcome of this discussion. As we move forward in 2023 we will continue to work with our community and charity partners to ensure that we meet the evolving needs of the people of Halifax.”

Levy Funding and transfers

Employers with a pay bill of more than £3 million are required pay an apprenticeship levy to the UK government. They are then assigned funds through a service account to spend on apprenticeship training. If funds are not spent, they expire 24 months after they appear in the account. Employers are allowed to transfer up to 25% of the value of their annual levy fund to another employer in support of apprenticeship delivery.

HOT Learning and Apprenticeships is building their collaboration portfolio to maximise levy transfer opportunities, enabling local SMEs to support apprenticeship programmes and help to further boost the number of high-quality apprenticeships in the borough.

Mags Ciewiertnia, Quality & System Lead at Halifax Opportunities Trust, adds: “Through working to increase local knowledge of levy transfers, and providing direct access to early years apprenticeships throughout Calderdale, we can deliver high-quality training courses and qualifications that are fully funded, all the employer needs to pay is the apprenticeship salary.

I would like to encourage any employer, who is considering taking on an apprentice or is looking to further develop their workforce, to explore what apprenticeships can offer and get in touch to see how we can support and collaborate.”

Unlocking Early Years Career Journeys

The levy funding transferred is already having a positive impact upon learners and employers alike. All apprentices are settled in their work placements and making good progress towards their qualifications. Comments from employers are that all apprentices are passionate about early years and are enjoying their programme, learning while working towards their professional development.

Comments from apprentices are:

“I appreciate being given the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge to gain further qualifications, which is helping develop my career”.

“The funding has enabled me get qualifications I couldn’t afford pay.  When I was in school I didn’t do well and did not get any qualifications, now at the age when education is the key to progress further, I am very happy for the given opportunity”.

HOT Learning and Apprenticeships is thankful to pladis for making it possible to utilise unspent funding and invest in upskilling the early years workforce in the region.

To find out more about the apprenticeship project at HOT, please email apprenticeships@regen.org.uk

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