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The Apprentice Levy and Health and Safety - A Welcome Opportunity for a Better Approach.

Health and Safety is not always seen as a positive thing! READ ON! I hope to change your mind,or at least to get you thinking and considering relevance, benefit and opportunity within your businesses as a result of the onset of the apprentice levy.

We're beginning to see the shape of much of the contractual obligations and operating procedures surrounding the introduction of the levy. I have to say the expectation of clarity in respect of health and safety did not lead to any sleepless nights or raised anxiety. At DTD we have worked with the various standards and guidance for employers, providers and learners relative to health and safety since 2000, and the introduction of HASPS. The gradual erosion of guidance, and the blurring of understanding in this area has only added further to the lack of expectation.

Over the years however, every stage of change has led those affected to ask or consider :
? What is the relevance of the change?
? What is the benefit of doing so? ?
    What opportunities are there for our business?

I could list many examples of applying this mantra to the past but lets be positive and look forward.

The levy and its introduction will give businesses to consider:

relevance – will our policies, procedures and arrangements still be relevant and appropriate under new operating arrangements? Now is the time to act, to take control and to examine the relevance and relationship of operational arrangements come May 1st.

benefit – learning safety, employer/ provider relationship, marketability, ownership, business success and legal compliance are a few that we endorse as a result of embracing a review now of the changes ahead.

opportunity – there are new working relationships ahead, and new approaches needed in some areas of contractual operation. Are you a provider or employer who is waiting for it to be explained or presented to you? That can be done of course but what about sticking your head above the parapet and getting it done?

I mentioned being positive at the start, let's continue. I firmly believe that health and safety, if seen as an integral part of your business operating system, effectively led with senior managers engaged in its delivery they will be engaged in realising the benefits of doing so.
More efficient systems, quality driven, rewarded for compliance through better and more inclusive contracts and business links and relationships. Oh! and add to that the cost savings of less days out of the office doing checks, less miles on the road, less time filling in forms, more time selling, less time reacting, lower insurance costs, and more. Why wouldn't you consider then that the levy and its introduction is a positive chance to look at the relevance, benefit and opportunity to and for your business.
In the weeks and months ahead we will offer everyone our insight into how the apprentice levy and its introduction should shape your approach to your legal and contractual obligations. In particular we plan to evaluate the employers obligations  particularly where they may have to contract with the SFA as well as providers for the 'off the job' element. Well look at the providers view and ask if you see a change in your processes and responsibility with the diversion of funding, at least in part. The growth of Apprentice Training Agencies is set to offer different challenges. HSE introduced
specific guidance last year relative to the role ATAs play and the obligation to learners safety. The death of apprentice Cameron Minshull, a 16 yr old recruited into an engineering role, by a training provider specifically for the role should still demonstrate the need for concern and awareness.

Those responsible for the leadership and governance within any organisation involved in learning and provision, and not just apprenticeships, should be considering at least what the moral obligation will be, when the current commitment to clause 8 in the SFA contract ceases next April. We'll start with this in our next article.
We welcome views and feedback on al our articles. Participation at any of our regional workshops and training programmes is always a good way for you to engage further in the changes to your processes that will take place over the months ahead.

Tudor Williams is director of DTD Training Ltd and specialises in health and safety support for the education and work based learning sectors. We offer advice and guidance, audit and system capability reviews and a full replacement system, fully updated to your company, and the levy requirements. Contact us on 


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