Solutions for staff shortages

Last month we talked about the Great Staffing Crisis, possible causes and how employers could look at their own processes and offering to start to address some of the issues.

This month we take a look at some of the solutions the government has made available, some with cost savings (and even incentives) attached to them.

 

Apprenticeship Scheme

It’s been around for several years but the apprenticeship scheme is worth mentioning, especially if you haven’t considered it because perhaps your business isn’t liable to pay the levy.

Even if you don’t have to pay the apprenticeship levy, the scheme is still available for your business to benefit from. Using the apprenticeship service, you can source an apprentice to suit the specific needs of your business. For example, if you have a gap in your IT team, an IT apprentice can provide an excellent resource. Whilst there will be training and development needed, you have the opportunity to develop that person to grow with and as part of your business.

If you don’t pay the levy, you will only pay 5% towards the cost of training and assessing your apprentice, and the government will pay the remaining 95%. You could also be eligible for additional funding. For those who manage to apply by 30 November 2021, there’s an incentive payment of £3,000 available for apprentices who started between 1 April and 30 September 2021.

The scheme is available to use with new or existing employees and enables the individual to gain skills and knowledge for a particular job role. They get time off during the working week for study or training (at least 20%). Apprenticeships can last between 1 and 5 years. Find out more online here.

 

Kickstart Scheme

We’ve reported previously about the extensions to the Kickstart scheme which provides government backed funding for new roles. Aimed at 16-24 year olds in receipt of Universal Credit, you’ll need to create a new, 6 month Fixed Term Contract role to be eligible.

The government will fund 100% of National Minimum Wage for 25 hours per week, plus employer National Insurance and minimum pension contributions. There is also an additional £1,500 payable per job to help its set up and skills development.

Employers must apply to the scheme by 17 December 2021, but job start dates can be delayed up to 31 March 2022. The role must be aimed at developing the individual, helping them to move on once the role finishes.

 

Sector-based Work Academy Programme

SWAP is available to all job seekers aged 18 years and above. There is no cost to the employer and the individual remains on benefits throughout the work placement, which can be up to 6 weeks. There are three key features:

  1. The aim is to provide pre-employment training, matched by sector
  2. It is a work experience placement
  3. At the end of the placement you must either give the individual a guaranteed job interview if you have an available role, or help them with their recruitment process elsewhere

 

Traineeship

A skills development programme aimed at 16-24 year olds, up to 25 in the education and healthcare sectors.

Placements are typically 6 months long, but can be anywhere between 6 weeks and 1 year. Once a minimum of 70 hours has been completed, the employer can claim a £1,000 incentive payment, that can be spent on anything.

The employer works with a training provider but in a more flexible way than an apprenticeship. At the end of the training placement the employer must offer an interview if a job role exists, and if not provide an exit interview.

Contact the National Apprenticeship Service to find out more.

 

Innovation Strategy

As part of its strategy to boost innovation, jobs and competitiveness, the government announced three new visa routes due to be available in Spring 2022.

Scale-up

A fast track visa available to highly skilled individuals with a job offer from a scale-up in the UK. The scale up must be able to show:

  • 20% annual average revenue or employment growth rate over a 3 year period
  • A minimum of 10 employees at the start of the same period
  • It will pay a minimum of £33,000 for the role

It’s not clear yet whether employers will need a sponsor licence for this route or what the costs will be.

 

High Potential Individual

With no job offer or sponsorship required, this route will allow ‘internationally mobile individuals’ who have graduated from a tope global university to come to the UK. The finer details remain to be seen…

 

Global Business Mobility

A mish-mash route, which seems to combine the now mostly redundant intra-company transfer route with that of the Representative of an Overseas Business, along with some of the activities business visitors are allowed to perform without sponsorship. This route should help those businesses overseas both with and without UK presence, to send workers more easily to the UK for work activities. Again, we wait for further detail to see how helpful it will really end up being.