08 April 2020
sponsored by CoTrain
VolkerWessels UK (VWUK) have taken advantage of the changes the apprenticeship levy has brought. They have taken the approach not to think of the levy as a tax but rather an opportunity to develop staff. They have had 133 apprentices since 2017, with their current intake on 42 different apprenticeship pathways.
VWUK believe that apprenticeships are an opportunity for everyone no matter what your age or background, which is reflected in the average age of their apprentices - 27. In 2019, they worked on their first formalised degree apprenticeship intake for 2019 and were able to successfully engage with local schools and colleges to attract the right talent to undertake apprenticeships.
They have strong Equality, Diversity and Inclusion values and see apprenticeships as a chance to attract a more diverse workforce into construction. For example, their apprenticeship programme has a much higher female percentage than the regular workforce (36.7% vs. 21.4%) and hope that in time this will have a positive impact on the gender split across the whole organisation.
In January 2019, figures showed that employers across UKPLC had only used 22% of their levy contributions. VWUK have been able to use 49% of their levy pot since 2017 and are ahead of the national average.
VWUK train Line Managers on the requirements modern apprenticeships bring; this may take the form of a workshop. However, additionally, they have created a central space in their Learning Management System where they store useful resources for managers to help them understand how to best support their apprentices. They also encourage apprentices to connect with each other, setting up groups where they can get together if they study the same subject and they facilitate contacts between employees who are undertaking similar courses, not necessarily just between apprentices, but anyone who is currently learning.
Recently VWUK launched a new scheme where small groups of apprentices from different business units and who undertake different apprenticeships in various disciplines meet at a facilitated event. They set these exchanges up at different sites, which not only gives everyone a chance to see “how the other half lives” but they also get to see different construction projects in action.
About the Apprenticeship Initiative Award: Sponsored by CoTrain
The SECBE Awards team look for organisations and schemes that: inspire and encourage people into the industry, actively and innovatively develop a sustainable workforce through apprenticeships, provide a secure foundation for successful careers, have innovative infrastructure to support training, and demonstrate continuous training and development and structured monitoring.