The Apprenticeship Levy: A Hidden Catalyst for Business Transformation and Growth

Business transformations are hard to get right and open a myriad of risks. Some of the biggest problems are around people development, a shared vision and sufficient investment in people to keep them motivated and engaged. This can be expensive. Yet we have an amazing tool available, a high-quality development track paid for from the apprenticeship levy, which can make a significant improvement, build capacity, and reduce enterprise risk.

Business transformations are complex, challenging, and necessary. As time marches on, emerging technologies such as the exponential growth of Generative AI, processing changes and shifting working environments compel organisations to adapt their internal operations.

The ancient philosopher Heraclitus once said: “The only constant in life is change.” For businesses today, this has never been more accurate.

Responding to the lack of success in business transformations

Recent research by McKinsey suggests that 70% of business transformations either fall short of their objectives or fail completely. These failures don’t occur in a vacuum; they undermine trust, harm meticulously cultivated cultures, and expose companies to substantial enterprise risk.

Recognising the need for transformation is only one stage of the process and having the right tools and processes in place to succeed, and the skills needed to achieve this is central to making business transformations effective and drivers of change.

Failing business transformations don’t occur in a vacuum; they undermine trust, harm meticulously cultivated cultures, and expose companies to substantial enterprise risk. With maximum fines of £17.5 million or 4% of annual global turnover for GDPR infringements, businesses pay a hefty price for getting it wrong.

Many varying factors can contribute to transformations failing, but one is more prominent than the rest. McKinsey’s research shows that the main reason for failure is insufficient employee engagement and support during the change process. Humans are inherently resistant to change, and when faced with new ways of working, we require a much higher level of support and training than is usually anticipated.

This challenge is compounded by the ever-present issue of cost. A recent study of US companies found that organisations with over 10,000 employees invest the most in their workforce, typically spending between $1,300 and $1,600 per employee annually. However, with executive coaching fees in 2023 nearing an average of $690 per hour, these mean averages mask the extent to which this annual investment disproportionately favours senior personnel—leaving the majority under-invested. This is where the crux of the problem lies. In the UK, the answer is simple and something we’ve already highlighted, getting the most from your apprenticeship levy funding.

The Apprenticeship Levy: a strategic solution

In the UK, we have an ace up our sleeves. In 2017, the UK government launched a financial initiative to encourage employers to direct more investment in their workforce. The apprenticeship levy, paid by companies with a pay bill exceeding £3 million, serves as a proven and underexploited instrument for facilitating successful business transformations.

Despite the powerful potential of the levy, reports suggest that employers are only spending around 47% of their levy on average. Unspent levy funding is lost to organisations, and it exists in a “use or lose it” situation. Employers have 24 months to spend the levy before it is given over to the HMRC. An unused levy is a missed opportunity, especially when it gives you the chance to get more from your business transformations.

The Apprenticeship Levy funding allows for the development of forward-thinking and agile initiatives that are purpose-designed with the right skills in mind for facilitating successful business transformations. The programmes you access can focus on the key challenges within your organisation such as equipping future leaders, tackling data skills gaps and building digital literacy.


Using Data Apprenticeships to Upskill Employees Across All Teams

Driving data skills development and literacy

Your apprenticeship levy can fund programmes specifically focused on core transformational areas in your business, including data literacy. Each programme can be tailored to your organisation’s specific needs, with core modules that ensure a high level of data competency in all programmes. We specialise in blended learning programmes which include one-to-one learning opportunities and pairing learners with experienced and knowledgeable coaches. Data literacy can and will drive your business transformation and without a commitment to upskilling your people to enhance their data skills, keeping up with the competition may become difficult.

Data literacy is a fundamental part of any company-wide business transformation. You need the technical skills and knowledge to move forward effectively. Effective business transformations need to be based upon considered decisions and utilising your company’s goldmine of data is vital to making these decisions. There is a pressing need for data literacy to sit horizontally across multiple job roles in organisations, rather than a vertical, top-down structure where only few have the right capabilities. Utilising your levy funding for data skills development can help ensure data democratisation across your organisation.

Exploring levy-funded data programmes

Utilising your apprenticeship levy funding for data and digital literacy programmes ensures your people have the technical knowledge and skills to drive successful business transformations. Corndel offers an extensive range of scalable data skills development programmes. All programmes are funded by the Apprenticeship Levy. The programmes cover a variety of apprenticeship levels from Level 3 up to the Digital & Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship, ideal for organisations looking to upskill their people to meet the digital demand of the today’s work environment.

There is a diverse variety of levy-funded programmes ideal for ensuring your people have everything they need to navigate change and deliver effective business transformations.

To learn more about the apprenticeship levy and apprenticeships, contact us at Corndel.

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