Changes to the Apprenticeship Funding System

As many of you may be aware, there have been some changes with regards to apprenticeship funding alongside the implementation of the Apprenticeship Levy.

Apprenticeship Levy Paying Employers – If you’re an employer with a pay bill over £3 million each year, you must pay the apprenticeship levy from 6 April 2017. You can read guidance on how to pay the apprenticeship levy here.

You will report and pay your levy to HMRC through the PAYE process.

The levy will not affect the way you fund training for apprentices who started an apprenticeship programme before 1 May 2017. You’ll need to carry on funding training for these apprentices under the terms and conditions that were in place at the time the apprenticeship started.

Non-Levy Apprenticeship Employers – a new co-investment rate has been introduced on the 1st April 2019. Co-investment is when employers and government share the cost of training and assessing apprentices.

The chart shows more information below.

If you have any questions regarding the funding or would like a free consultation with Profile in order to better understand your options going forward and what the cost implications may be, please contact us on 01843 609 300 or email

Profile Retain Matrix Standard

Profile Development and Training are pleased to announce that we have retained the Matrix for a further 3 years.

It is the unique quality standard for organisations to assess and measure their advice and support services, which ultimately supports individuals in their choice of career, learning, work and life goals.

With ‘Opening doors to a better future’ being our mission statement and the overall ethos of Profile being one of continuous improvement for the benefit of the learner, the employer and partner organisations; achieving and maintaining the Matrix Standard is very important to us and we were keen to undertake the assessment to be confident that Profile are providing the best possible support, advice and guidance to learners, employees and customers.

Here’s what Profile’s Managing Director, Andrea Webb, had to say about the process:

“I enjoyed going through the MATRIX assessment process, as I know we have a strong team and the service we provide is of an exceptionally high quality. The assessment process gave us the opportunity to prove this good quality and the acknowledgement of the continuous improvement we strive to maintain”

Profile went through the re-accreditation process during June 2016 and were assessed in 4 key areas; Leadership and Management, Resources, Service Delivery and Continuous Quality Improvement.

The Matrix assessor highlighted the following key strengths:

  • Clear commitment and enthusiasm from staff, learners, partners and employers.
  • Proactive and supportive with all partnerships
  • Excellent communication throughout the company.
  • All staff and learners feel involved.
  • Clear culture of continuous improvement and evolution within the company.
  • Strong links to partner organisations so learners received the best support.
  • Effective use of technology to support and improve our service.

The Directors of Profile Development and Training would like to thank all our staff, external partners, clients and learners helping our organisation achieve the Matrix Standard. And a massive thank you to all of the great comments from some of our learners, employers and partners throughout the process. Here’s a little of what they had to say about Profile:

Comments from service users:

“When I first started I thought I would feel really out of my depth. The support from Profile and the Handbook I was given really helped. Without this help I would not have got my job”

“I was amazed at how Profile support you personally, as an individual. We really struck up a good rapport”

“I really appreciate that I get to make my own choices and decisions, and never feel that I’m being told what I must do”

“Profile helps you to learn and complete a qualification despite the pressures of your home life. I will really miss them when I’ve completed my course”

“They help you chase your dreams!”

“With the support and encouragement from Profile you realise that you really can complete a qualification. They give you confidence and you learn that you really can do it”

Comments from partners:

“I wish that some of our other providers were as good as Profile. They focus on the learner more than anything else and are there to benefit the learner and not ‘line their own pockets’”

“Profile helped me find a number of really good learners who are helping me build my business. I would not be where I am today without Profile. I would probably still be a one-man band”

“We wish all our subcontractors completed as well as Profile do. We are able to trust them and to know that the learner is always at the core of what they do”

Comments from staff:

“When you are working remotely there is a danger of being unsupported. At Profile there is really good communication and you feel part of the team. Information and policies are clear so that we all know where we stand”

“We really work hard to build relationships with learners as well as co-workers. We work well together to support and help each other”

“Profile is a small organisation but very responsive and well-known in the community. We are a forward thinking cohesive team, with our own ideas being taken on board”

Thanks again one and all for your great comments!

Social Media for Business Apprentice Case Study – Emma

I began my apprenticeship with Romney Marsh Wools at the age of 20, having previously studied Animal Management at Hadlow College for two years and had a gap year whilst looking for work or further opportunities. The advert posted by Romney Marsh Wools for a Social Media apprentice was sent to me by the Kent Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs and I immediately thought it could be a good opportunity.

I was grateful to receive the position and begin my work and studies. I took to my job at Romney Marsh Wools very quickly, largely because I am lucky enough to have a great boss who is flexible towards working methods and highly supportive, and my love of my job and the business I am placed with has never been in question.

However, the studies part of my apprenticeship was not quite such plain sailing. For the first year of my (supposedly 1 year) apprenticeship I studied with a company which has since been closed down. Throughout my studies I felt that the training provider was not giving the support or level of education required for a Level 3 course and after the company closed down 12 months into a 12 month course with around 6 months’ worth of work left to complete both my boss and I were left confused and frustrated.

My training was then transferred to a second training provider, Profile Ltd., who have been wonderful in their support and training methods. My new assessor, Andrea, is very supportive and comes into the office to assess my work rather than having me go to a class. She is flexible enough to allow me to work at my pace, completing assignments which I find easier in shorter spaces of time and giving me longer for more complicated assignments. From the beginning she was very understanding of the difficult situation that my boss and I had been put in and has worked hard to encourage me to keep going and complete the course.

I am now less than two weeks (all being well!) away from completion and, although it has taken six months longer than expected and been very frustrating at times, I would absolutely recommend the apprenticeship route to anybody looking for further education. Whether as a first job and continued learning opportunity or retraining for a new career, I firmly believe that apprenticeships work!

I have always loved learning, but I hated the classroom environment and after two years at college I decided that university was not going to be for me. This made it hard to decide where to go next and what to do, since all my life I’d planned on studying a degree at Hadlow college. When I found the apprenticeship I realised that this approach was perfect for me. It allowed me to continue learning and training without being stuck in a classroom, and it also allowed me to get my first real experience of working life.

To any young people who either do not excel in academic subjects or have simply had enough of being in a classroom, I would urge you to consider an apprenticeship. The important things to remember, I would say, are the following points:

  • The Company – Who you are working for is incredibly important, if you love your work like I do the rest should fall into place and your boss and colleagues should help you with your studies. You may even get offered a permanent job when the apprenticeship ends.
  • The Course – Make sure the subject suits you. With apprenticeships, prior knowledge is not usually required but it will help you. The more interested you are in your studies the easier the assignments will be.
  • The Training Provider – Do your research, along with your boss if possible, and try to find a reputable company to avoid the situation I was left in. I would wholeheartedly suggest Profile Ltd. to anyone in the Kent area studying a course which they provide.
  • The Money – This is an important part of an apprenticeship, studying whilst being paid makes a big difference to those of us who are unemployed and have no idea what to do next! But prepare yourself for the fact that apprenticeship wages are NOT the same as a normal working wage. As long as you are prepared to do your studies, learn on the job and put everything you have into it, it will be worth the lower salary in the end.
  • Your Attitude – At the end of the day, the only person who can make this work for you is YOU. If you’re determined to succeed and try your best all the time, you should find that it all comes together eventually (even if you have to take the long way round!) It would have been so easy for me to give up and drop out when my first provider closed down but I was determined to keep going, and I’m coming away much better off for it.

What’s Next?

So with 2 weeks left of my apprenticeship, most people would be asking what happens next?! I’m fortunate that my boss and I have been discussing this right from the beginning of my course, so I know what’s next. I plan to study a further one-year apprenticeship, this time a Level 3 in Business & Administration, still with Romney Marsh Wools of course! I am very grateful to know that Profile Ltd. offer this course so I can continue my studies with Andrea, who I know I work well with. Following that second apprenticeship I hope I shall be able to stay on with Romney Marsh Wools full time, taking a more in-depth role as the company continues to expand. I am also looking into the possibility of setting up as a freelance Digital Marketing Consultant, as I know whenever I talk to business owners about what I study, the first thing they say is ALWAYS “well that’s what I need because I have no idea how to use social media” so I’m certain there’s a big market opportunity right there!

So to sum up, if you’re considering studying as an apprentice, I would definitely say do it! And if you are a business owner considering taking on an apprentice, again I’d say do it!

– Emma

Amy’s Story – Social Media and Digital Marketing Apprentice #GetInGoFar

With the recent launch of the campaign #GetInGoFar in order to raise awareness about apprenticeships we thought it’d be a great idea to talk to some of our apprentices to hear about their experiences.

We recently got in touch with Amy who is currently undertaking a Digital Marketing Apprenticeship with Swanstaff Recruitment and she was happy to share her experience through a blog post that she created during National Apprenticeship week.

“As you may or may not know, this week is National Apprenticeship Week. I’ve decided this might be a good time to share my story. It took a long time for me to work out what I wanted to do when I “grew up” but essentially for me it boiled down to a love of creativity and writing, which led to the BTEC Media course I took at college.

After I had completed the course I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next, so I ended up as an Office Administrator in an Estate Agent. Whilst I loved the people and the world of work, I knew this wasn’t something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

A number of people suggested I go to University, but I wanted money and independence rather than a mountain of debt. I know there’s more to Uni than debt – for a lot of people it’s really important on a social and educational level – but I knew it wasn’t for me.

This was when I discovered Apprenticeships. My parents were very supportive and thought they were a great idea, which was brilliant as I knew a lot of people whose parents didn’t really understand them. I knew right away the hands-on style of working that apprenticeships offered was for me. Earning, learning and no debt; it was perfect!

I took my Level 2 Apprenticeship in Social Media for Business at Springfield Education and Training Ltd, before moving to Swanstaff Recruitment for my Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship. Throughout both levels of my Apprenticeship I have gained knowledge, skills, and experience; both of marketing and the way businesses are run in general.

I feel like they have really given me the opportunity to flourish and develop personally and professionally. My confidence has grown significantly and I love being a member of a dynamic team. I am trusted with tasks and projects that I can plan and really take pride in. I feel very fortunate to have found a career that I enjoy so much.

Anyone who says an apprenticeship is just about making teas and coffees (though I do make a great cuppa!) has clearly never experienced one. The best thing about my job is working with great people who really believe in my abilities and encourage me every step of the way. I have even been lucky enough to take part in charity events, attend awards evenings and go to parties. It’s a real experience to be an apprentice and not just work wise!

If you’re umm-ing and ahh-ing about University then I’d definitely recommend an apprenticeship as another valid option. An apprenticeship won’t stop you from going to university in the future but it may help you decide exactly what you want to do, so that you can pick a course you know you’ll enjoy.”

To view her original blog post and to follow on LinkedIn:

And to find out more about Swanstaff recruitment:

For more information regarding Apprenticeships – please contact us on 01843 609300 or email us at

You’re hired! David Cameron makes Lord Sugar his ‘enterprise tsar’ to promote apprenticeships!

“Not enough of our young people know about apprenticeships and what they offer” says the successful business man and the star of the hit TV series The Apprentice.

Businessman Lord Sugar has been appointed by the Government to be its new enterprise tsar – championing apprenticeships and business start-ups as part of the drive to encourage more young people to start their own businesses and to consider apprenticeships and to support the governments commitment in creating 3 million apprenticeships

“I’m delighted to be taking on this challenge. I built successful businesses with the support of hundreds of talented young people who learned their skills on the job – exactly the kinds of skills you learn in an apprenticeship. But not enough of our young people know about apprenticeships and what they offer, and too few feel empowered to set up their own business.” – Lord Sugar says.

The Apprentice boss will be travelling the length and breadth of the country in a series of road shows to tell young people why apprenticeships are a great way for them to build new skills.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “We want every young person in Britain to get on and build a great life for themselves, whether it’s by starting an apprenticeship or setting up their own business. Lord Sugar has huge credibility among young people and I am delighted that he has agreed to help the government bang the drum for apprenticeships and enterprise.”

Our Governments response to our Save Our Early Years letter

Earlier this month we wrote to the Government in support of the #SaveOurEarlyYears campaign regarding the well warranted fears over future childcare provision, and to ask them to reverse their decision that will have a catastrophic effect on the childcare sector.

In 2014, the Government altered the requirements for those taking a Level 3 in childcare. Now, all Level 3 Early Years Educators (EYEs) must have at least a C grade in GCSE English and maths to count in the ratios – with alternatives such as Functional Skills no longer considered as an option.

So what are the effects of this policy?

First of all, the current policy is turning away a workforce. How are providers expected to meet the demand for childcare along with the additional 30 hour free entitlement when they are experiencing a shortage of staff members?

The Government’s current policy is at odds with the wider approach it has taken, both in Apprenticeships policy and in other sectors where Functional Skills are accepted. Without Functional Skills accepted as an alternative to GCSE English and maths for Early Years Educators to count in the ratios:

  • Childcare providers cannot recruit enough staff
  • Potential new recruits, who have all the skills, including good English and maths, to be excellent Early Years Educators, will be barred from the sector.
  • Parents childcare bills will rise as the cost to providers of employing highly qualified staff is passed on
  • The Government is limiting its own chances of hitting its target of achieving three million apprentices by 2020.

Here at Profile we also agree that English and maths are important – but the insistence on GCSE as the only accepted qualification for those wanting to work in my sector, without the consideration of equitable alternatives such as Functional Skills, is short-sighted and potentially disastrous and believe the English and Maths skills should be relative to their sector. We are sure that you do not need to understand Pythagoras Theorem or how to solve trigonometry when working with 0-5 year olds.

So what was the response?

“Dear Mrs Webb MA

I am writing on behalf of the Secretary of State to thank you for your email of 14 May about the qualification requirements for Level 3 Early Years Educator staff. I have noted the concerns you raised as part of the Save Our Early Years campaign.

We recognise that early years staff do an incredibly important job and want to make sure that those working with our youngest children have the specialist knowledge and skills they need to support early learning and development. Strong numeracy and literacy skills, amongst others, are essential for staff working with young children because a key part of their role is to help children learn how to communicate effectively and understand basic mathematical concepts.

In 2013 government introduced the Early Years Educator qualifications criteria to make sure that level 3 qualifications prepare learners for the role they may hold in a childcare setting. Individuals can gain Early Years Educator status either through a standalone qualification or via the apprenticeship route which will support them to achieve GCSEs. Staff working in level 3 roles can have a range of responsibilities, all of which require them to be highly skilled and well-qualified. Level 3 staff are likely to work directly with children, many will have additional responsibility as room leaders and some will lead and manage an entire childcare setting.

The requirement for level 3 staff to hold a GCSE maths and English at grade C or above was introduced to make sure that new entrants to the workforce have the numeracy and literacy skills they need to operate in a level 3 role. Government chose to require GCSEs because they cover a wider breadth of content than functional skills and because they are designed to support further study, which is important for career progression.

I note the concerns you have expressed about a reduction in the number of learners taking up level 3 early years qualifications. Our position on GSCEs is designed to develop a well-qualified and highly skilled early years workforce. The provider survey (2013) showed there was a substantial increase in the number of staff working in full day care providers between 2008 and 2013, with the number rising by 31 per cent, from 178,500 to 233,200. We also know from the provider survey that there were 13,500 apprentices employed in full-day care settings. That’s equivalent to 6% of all staff in full-day care settings.

We do not want to unintentionally undo the excellent progress that has been made over the past few years in which qualification levels have continued to rise. In 2013 an impressive 87% of the 233,200 staff working in full day care settings held at least a level 3 qualification. When early years employers expressed concerns about GCSEs as an entry requirement for level 3 early years courses, we listened and moved to an exit requirement. We continue to value the views of those who work in the sector and the views of parents and we will make sure that we consider all of the evidence available to us on such an important matter.

As part of the work to develop an early years workforce strategy, Minister Gyimah and policy officials have been talking to childcare employers and training organisations about early years qualifications, including the GCSE requirement. Officials have also been considering the available data on the take up of early years training routes. We want to understand the challenges that some childcare employers are telling us they are experiencing, and find ways to tackle these whilst ensuring a quality workforce remains.

We are considering the information that we have gathered on this matter.

Thank you for writing on this important matter.”

The effect it’s had so far?

We found it rather interesting that when they quoted the figures in their response that they only included up to 2013, when the policy was beginning to change. Below we have included figures of the number of apprenticeships within the Early Years setting from 2013 and the steady decline since the inclusion of these new government rules.

2012/2013 – 26,300

2013/2014 – 24,320

2014/2015 – 21,900

Our MD Mrs Andrea Webb has Functional Skills in Level 2 and a Masters Degree in Education and has taught in schools for nearly 16 years and even Andrea would be unable to work in a childcare setting.

How do you show your support?

To show your support for #SaveOurEarlyYears campaign:

  • Share this post by using any of the social media icons below
  • Visit their site and share it across social media site using the hashtag #SaveOurEarlyYears
  • Send a message to the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan that this policy needs to be amended.

If you are a childcare provider and you are looking for more information on apprenticeships, please contact us on 01843 609300 or email us at