Mark Bignell (MBA) has over 25 years’ experience in technical recruitment as both a consultant and senior manager, providing a professional and consultative approach to clients and candidates.
With extensive account management experience, Mark has nurtured and developed strategic relationships within the transportation industries including automotive, aerospace, motorsport and rail, sourcing high calibre candidates for positions on both a contract and permanent basis, from engineers to senior managers.
Adept at delivering contingency, retained and project based recruitment activities, Mark is an advocate of a partnership approach, building strong relationships through effective communication and robust recruitment processes.
Chief Engineer £Highly Competitive Plus Benefits Location: Banbury Chief, Principal, Project, Design, Development, Engineering, Prototype, Build, Innovation, Performance, Leadership, Delivery, DFM, DFA, CAD, Manufacturing Do you want to work for one of the most iconic and exciting British Motorcycling brands, driving engineering excellence across their range of products? We are looking for an experienced and innovative Chief Engineer to help grow the product range and support the delivery of strategic projects across all design and engineering in the UK following a significant recent investment in the business. As a Chief Engineer you will need to be able to demonstrate experience in delivering projects from a new product development perspective to meet corporate objectives and targets within a highly technical and innovative environment. As a Chief Engineer you will be responsible for: Creation of technical solutions, this role also requires proven team leadership capability and offers commercial development opportunity Delivery of technical solutions (often new or novel to meet demanding client requirements) for motorcycle chassis and body system Lead cross functional delivery teams, typically encompassing; chassis design and the integration of styling, powertrain and electrical systems, calling upon domain specialist expertise support as required Provide senior input and approval to proposals, presentations and concepts / reports / drawings etc. including leading client meetings and providing significant customer management All technical and potentially commercial aspects of project delivery of self and team, as well as awareness of and adherence to common project management techniques Leading technical authority for the company in chosen area, shaping company position on subject, promotes excellence both internally and externally Project variety, encompassing many different customer markets, highly varied product sectors e.g. scooter, off-road and cruiser at any or all project phases, from clean sheet to production Managing and leading simulation, analysis and diagnosis, design, planning, implementation and evaluation of technical systems and problem root cause analysis Contributes to significant commercial and organisational planning being able to approve documents, deliverables, proposals and requisitions according to defined limits Contributes to the development of design guidelines, tools and techniques, supporting relationships both internally and externally while developing commercial opportunities customer project work As a Chief Engineer you will have the following skills and experience: Highly competent in the application of a comprehensive range of fundamental Engineering principles to generate or guide the creation of optimal motorcycle specific solutions and sufficiently flexible to adapt first principle techniques across a wide range of known and sometimes novel contexts Capable of writing technical standards and promotion of excellence in motorcycle vehicle design, through coaching of others, and engagement in technical reviews Operated within a similar role at an OEM / Tier 1 or Engineering consultancy, ideally in a design, analysis, test and development, manufacturing related discipline. Track record in delivering project and programmes within the product development arena in the motorcycle, automotive and/or motorsport sector (ideally two wheels, innovation, EV or advanced technology) is essential. Applications will be welcomed from Engineering Professionals with a practical approach to leading product development programmes in the automotive, motorsport, EV and/or innovation arena. Interest in the Chief Engineers position is expected to be high so if you have skills and experience required to deliver products from concept through all development phases and into production and are interested, please contact Mark Bignell on 01384 446167 to discuss further or email firstname.lastname@example.org . Your CV will be forwarded to Jonathan Lee Recruitment, a leading engineering and manufacturing recruitment consultancy established in 1978. The services advertised by Jonathan Lee Recruitment are those of an Employment Agency.Permanent / Banbury
Project Manager (Full Vehicle) £Highly Competitive Plus Benefits Location: Banbury Project, Design, Development, Prototype, Build, Innovation, Performance, Leadership, Delivery, DFM, DFA, CAD, Manufacturing Do you want to work for one of the most iconic and exciting British Motorcycling brands, driving engineering excellence across their range of products? We are looking for an experienced and innovative Project Manager to help grow the product range and support the delivery of strategic projects across all design and engineering in the UK following a significant recent investment in the business. The role of the Project Manager will be to manage and oversee all elements of new product development programmes, from scoping out objectives through to capacity and resource planning to ensure gateways are achieved and budgets are realised. As a Project Manager you will need to be able to demonstrate experience in delivering projects from a new product development perspective to meet corporate objectives and targets. As a Project Manager you will be responsible for: Determining and defining project scope and objectives Predicting resources needed to reach objectives and manage resources in an effective and efficient manner Preparing budgets based on scope of work and resource requirements Tracking project costs to meet budget Developing and managing a detailed project schedule and work plan Providing project updates on a consistent basis to stakeholders about strategy, adjustments, and progress Managing contracts with vendors and suppliers by assigning tasks and communicating expected deliverables Utilizing industry best practices, techniques, and standards throughout entire project execution Monitoring progress and adjust as needed Measuring project performance to identify areas for improvement This is a challenging and exciting role for a forward thinking and hands on Project Manager who has led and delivered projects within the automotive arena (preferable two wheels, EV or motorsport) who can demonstrate the following characteristics and experience: Ideally degree qualified with a track record in project management within product development and innovation Project Management Professional (PMP) certification preferred Proven ability to solve problems creatively, managing timing plans and budgets effectively Strong familiarity with project management software tools, methodologies, and best practices Ability to deliver projects through the full life cycle pulling together cross functional teams and stakeholders Excellent analytical skills with strong interpersonal and communication skills and extremely resourceful Proven ability to complete projects according to outlined scope, budget, and timeline Applications will be welcomed from Project Professionals with a practical approach to leading projects/programmes in the automotive, motorsport, EV and/or product development arena. Interest in the Project Manager position is expected to be high so if you have a proven track record of delivering technical projects from concept through all prototype stages and into production, please contact Mark Bignell on 01384 446167 to discuss further or email email@example.com . Your CV will be forwarded to Jonathan Lee Recruitment, a leading engineering and manufacturing recruitment consultancy established in 1978. The services advertised by Jonathan Lee Recruitment are those of an Employment Agency.Permanent / Banbury
Manufacturing Operations Manager (SME) Salary: £Competitive Plus Benefits Location: Coventry Principal, Manufacturing, Production, Systems, Innovation, Digitisation, Improvements, Leadership, 8D, 5Y, automation, manufacturing systems, advanced manufacturing. We are looking for an experienced Manufacturing Operations Manager with a track record of driving and developing operational performance within an SME's environment, preferably within the automotive and/or engineering arena. As an enthusiastic and natural leader, you will be a capable individual with a hands-on approach to introducing new systems, processes and techniques into the manufacturing environment to improve efficiencies, increase productivity, eliminate waste and ultimately have a positive impact on bottom line profit. As a Manufacturing Operations Manager, you will need to demonstrate the ability to manage the identification, rationalisation and delivery of new systems, processes and techniques to target the improvements of production and manufacturing processes across the SME marketplace, being able to manage teams through effective leadership to delivery results in a quick and effective time frame and within budget constraints. As a Manufacturing Operations Manager, you will require: Support SME’s in the identification and implementation of modern manufacturing principles and practices to include areas such as digitization, automation, and modernization of the production arena. Day to day support to the manufacturing team in production of automotive and general engineering components and systems Identify wate within the manufacturing environment and make recommendations for improvements Developing manufacturing processes to support production driving continuous improvement. Optimising of manufacturing processes by improving efficiencies, reducing wastage, enhancing yield and reducing cost. Industrialisation of new products / New Product Introduction – take a design concept and find the best way of manufacturing it. Fully use the tools of APQP such as FMEA, PPAP, DFM, DFA to develop and support operations Lead teams in the delivery of effective manufacturing solutions across the SME market to positively impact operations. As a Manufacturing Operations Manager, you should have experience in the following: Driving improvements, performance and efficiencies within an SME environment from a senior managerial level to positively impact bottom line profits Deliver the introduction of advanced manufacturing technology, digitization, business transformation, automation and improvements across all engineering / manufacturing operations within the SME or 1st / 2nd Tier arena Ability to optimize manufacturing processes, equipment, and systems to increase efficiencies and eliminate waste to positively impact productivity, quality, and ultimately bottom-line profits Ability to support the development of a modern continuous improvement and lean manufacturing culture across the organization. Lead multiple manufacturing and digitization projects and programmes across various SME’s to understand needs and requirements while engaging with the organizations deliver solutions in a personal way to ensure buy in and delivery with minimal disruption Have exposure in driving change management and lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, or similar continuous improvement methods to drive effective change. So if you have a true passion for modern manufacturing, automation, digitisation, business transformation and process improvement and have exposure to driving and managing change with an SME environment having, have held a senior managerial level position (Operations, Manufacturing, General Management, CEO) with a proven track record of leadership and delivering projects, you should apply today as applications are expected to be high. For further information please contact Mark Bignell on 01384 446167 or firstname.lastname@example.org Your CV will be forwarded to Jonathan Lee Recruitment, a leading engineering and manufacturing recruitment consultancy established in 1978. The services advertised by Jonathan Lee Recruitment are those of an Employment Agency.Permanent / Coventry
Job: Quality Manager Location: Milton Keynes Permanent: £Competitive Plus Benefits Industry: Automotive Quality, Management, Quality Systems, Compliance, IATF 16949, ISO 14001, CI, Warranty, Auditing, MSA, Suppliers, DFMEA, FMEA, PFMEA, 8D, QMS A Quality Manager is required to manage quality processes and systems across all areas of the business within pressed and forged automotive manufacturing environment. Experience of managing quality functions, departments, and systems having the ability to drive product quality to IATF 16949/ISO 14001 standards would be well received. Due to the continued success and growth this company, a world class supplier of high precision pressed, and forged components requires a well organised and proactive Quality Manager for a new permanent role. As the Quality Manager, you will be responsible for the following: Develop and improve the QMS to support all business requirement in accordance with TS16949/ISO14001 Be focal point for all supplier/customer related quality issues to maintain effective communication on quality issues and resolve concerns quickly and effectively Champion all quality and process improvement initiatives across the business Taking responsibility for training and development of staff to ensure product quality and compliance are achieved within a high-volume manufacturing environment Liaise with all Engineering Departments and stakeholders to ensure quality standards are adhered to using effective tools/techniques such as DFMEA, PFMEA, MSA, CMM and Internal/external auditing Focus on driving forward continuous improvements and lean methodology using Kaizen, Six Sigma, 8D and 5S to eliminate waste while increasing efficiencies The Quality Manager must have the following: Engineering qualification or relevant quality manufacturing experience Quality Management or Senior Quality exposure in a manufacturing arena Conversant with continuous improvement methodologies and techniques Knowledge of quality standards, systems and procedures (TS/IATF 16949 preferable) Technical awareness of manufacturing processes and QMS Able to support customer requirements, validate auditing results, supplier performances and non-conformances In return, the Quality Manager roles offers a competitive salary with excellent career progression and development plus benefits package. Demand for this role will undoubtedly be high and interviews will be arranged very soon. If you have knowledge of Quality Management and you want to be considered, please apply today. If you have any questions about the Quality Managers position, please contact Mark Bignell at Jonathan Lee Recruitment on 01384 446167 or email, email@example.com Your CV will be forwarded to Jonathan Lee Recruitment, a leading engineering and manufacturing recruitment consultancy established in 1978. The services advertised by Jonathan Lee Recruitment are those of an Employment Agency.Permanent / Milton Keynes
Job title: Manufacturing Operations Manager Salary Range: £Comp Location: West Midlands Automotive, 1st Tier, Change Management, OEE, Lean, 8D, Six Sigma, Manufacturing Processes & Improvement A Manufacturing Operations Manager is required with knowledge of manufacturing operations, P&L, equipment efficiencies and process improvement within a 1st Tier Automotive arena. Candidates with experience of the automotive industry would be well received. Due to continued growth and an increase in orders this company, a world class automotive parts manufacturer based in the West Midlands requires a forward thinking, hands on Manufacturing Operations Manager with knowledge process improvement, manufacturing systems, productivity, waste elimination, man-management and P&L for a new permanent role. As a Manufacturing Operations Manager you will be required to: Effectively and efficiently manage the production area in line with customer specifications and demand, to meet all quality and delivery expectations, minimising costs where possible and ensure the required best working practices are maintained at all times Responsible for plant production, manufacturing, financial performance, customer requirements and maintaining the orderly and productive operation of planned activities Drive process improvements on OEE by appropriate data analysis while attending various meetings and action/communicate instructions Undertake continuous training and development of all personnel within the sphere of responsibility Identify and deploy the technical skill sets, resource levels and systems to deliver projects, including the engagement of external resources as required. The Manufacturing Operations Manager should have the following skills or experience: Good understanding of manufacturing operations, process improvement, waste elimination, change management and quality standards/systems/processes Excellent leadership qualities having a track record in driving and developing teams within a medium/high volume automotive arena Commercially astute with strong organizational and analytical skills with knowledge of P&L, cost reduction and supply chain. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone with knowledge of leading teams within a high volume 1st Tier manufacturing environment seeking a career opportunity with a growing business. In return for your experience, this specialist automotive company will offer you: £Comp plus benefits Excellent opportunity to work within a growing and forward thinking organisations, were change management, process improvement and manufacturing principles at the forefront of all operations Demand for this role will undoubtedly be high and interviews will be arranged very soon. If you have knowledge of leading manufacturing operations within the a 1st Tier Automotive environment and you want to be considered, please apply today. If you have any questions about the Manufacturing Operations Manager role, please contact Mark Bignell at Jonathan Lee Recruitment on 01384 446167 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Your CV will be forwarded to Jonathan Lee Recruitment, a leading engineering and manufacturing recruitment consultancy established in 1978. The services advertised by Jonathan Lee Recruitment are those of an Employment Agency.Permanent / West Bromwich
Process Engineer (CNC/NC/Cutting Tools) £30,000pa - £40,000pa West Midlands Process, Engineer, Machining, Tooling, CNC, NC, Systems, Manufacturing, Coordination, Planning, Problem Solving, Improvements, Tool Change & Management A Process Engineer is required with knowledge of managing and developing processes within a machining environment looking at tooling, tool changes, tool management, CNC/NC Program definition, SMED and waste elimination to support manufacturing operations. As a Process Engineer you will be required to: Design and create tooling plans, storage, and management of cutting tools to increase tooling change, eliminate waste and improve standardisation. Implement new Process layouts for the capture, logging, coordination, and standardisation of CNC/NC programmes for machining operations. Capacity Planning and support with new and existing product range to improve quality and performance across all areas of tooling and machining programming. Manufacture Route Planning and take control of identifying issues within the tracking, monitoring, and standardising of cutting tools and machining programmes to increase performance within all manufacturing operations. Implement process improvement initiatives to support the reduction of waste while driving efficiencies across all areas of tooling and CNC/NC programming. Education / Skills / Experience Good level of standard Education Knowledge of process engineering, machining, cutting tools, CNC/NC programming, standardisation of processes and improvement within tooling change, machine set up and CNC/NC programming. Good exposure to continuous improvement tools Kaizan, Six Sigma and 5Whys. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills This is an excellent opportunity for anyone with knowledge of process improvement, machining processes, cutting tools, tool management and standardisation and CNC/NC programs seeking to develop your career. In return for your experience, this West Midlands based company will offer you: Circa £30-40K pa plus benefits Excellent opportunity to progress your career and develop your skills Demand for this role will undoubtedly be high and interviews will be arranged very soon. If you have knowledge of Process Engineering within a machining environment, supporting the development of tooling schedules and plans along with standardisation of CNC/NC programs for machining operations and want to be considered, please apply today. If you have any questions about the Process Team Leader role, please contact Mark Bignell at Jonathan Lee Recruitment on 01384 446167. Your CV will be forwarded to Jonathan Lee Recruitment, a leading engineering and manufacturing recruitment consultancy established in 1978. The services advertised by Jonathan Lee Recruitment are those of an Employment Agency.Permanent / West Bromwich
Principal Engineer (Interior & Exterior) Salary: £Competitive Plus Benefits Location: Coventry Principal, Design, Development, Project, Delivery, engineering, Test, Innovation, Leadership, Advanced Materials, Suppliers, Plastic, Interior, Exterior, Closures. We are looking for an experienced Principal Engineer (Interior & Exterior) with a track record of delivery within the automotive and niche vehicle arena. Covering both interior and exterior components and systems our client is seeking an enthusiastic and capable individual with a hands-on approach to new product design, development, and delivery for new vehicle programmes. As a Principal Engineer (Interior & Exterior), you will need to demonstrate the ability to lead and manage teams in the innovation, design and delivery of products and systems for new concept and niche vehicles supporting all design, development, test and prototype stages prior to production build. As a Principal Engineer (Interior & Exterior), you will require: To define the system strategy, targets and testing of the system, and engineering design, liaising with the senior project leaders, suppliers, and partners to agree on content. To actively participate in high-level decision making for the direction of the project as part of strategic planning reviews with the Chief Engineer and other relevant personnel. To provide technical leadership of vehicle interior design and development, including, dash and instrument panel, doors trim, plastic closures, exterior plastic including body panel components and bumpers, leading to the successful and timely delivery of outputs from the project. This includes effective: planning, monitoring, use of resources, analysis, and presentation of results to meet project targets. To represent the organisation system design, development, and technology to a wide range of current and future collaborative partners. To translate the project deliverables into a successful plan of work through the management of the team, to deliver within the project budget and timescale. To generate system ideas and liaison with Chief Engineer to secure a stable income funding stream. To ensure that the design and industrial collaborative activities within the project offers the most appropriate solutions for the organisation and the industrial partners. To disseminate project outputs through presentations, seminars, technical papers etc to a wide audience, as appropriate. As a Principal Engineer (Interior & Exterior), you should have experience in the following: Extensive industrial experience of the system design/development, primarily focused in lightweight / high stiffness structures and, with additional experience in managing suppliers and delivering to SOP. Ability to lead design/project teams in the delivery of new and innovative interior & exterior systems from concept through all design, development, test, and prototype phases within a new/niche vehicle programme. Strong communication, organization, and project delivery skills, being able to pull together cross functional teams and stakeholders to ensure gateways and timing plans are achieved. Ability to demonstrate an innovative approach to complex problems and into the system product design, allowing for the implementation of new technologies into the design. So if you have a true passion for leading product design and development projects with a track record in delivering interior & exterior programmes for new vehicle design programmes and would like to be considered for the Principal Engineers (Interior & Exterior) position, you should apply today as applications are expected to be high. For further information please contact Mark Bignell on 01384 446167 or email@example.com Your CV will be forwarded to Jonathan Lee Recruitment, a leading engineering and manufacturing recruitment consultancy established in 1978. The services advertised by Jonathan Lee Recruitment are those of an Employment Agency.Permanent / Coventry
Job title: Senior Supplier Quality Engineer Salary: £Competitive Plus Benefits Location: Norfolk Quality, Supplier Engineer, Production, Warranty, Auditing, SQA, Root Cause Analysis, Leadership, QMS, MSA, PPAP, APQP, NPI A leading provider automotive manufacturer based in the Norfolk area is seeking a Senior Supplier Quality Engineer to support them in rationalisation and development of their suppliers for new vehicle launch programmes. As a Senior Supplier Quality Engineer, you will be focused on site supplier quality related activities as part of a larger Quality team that will deliver visible and measurable improvement of the production supplier base worldwide by implementing best practice automotive quality and supply chain strategies. To assist in managing supplier’s quality activities within the supplier base to ensure day to day production targets are achieved. This will involve defect prevention and timely problem resolution. Key responsibilities: Manage production related PPAP and concern resolution activities for current production series and new projects Produce reports including action plans for management, supplier development plans and CCARs. Manage, plan and carryout supplier manufacturing site assessments. Develop and agree supplier development activity plan with internal stakeholders ensuring the team meets the plan and PPM/Quality improvements are achieved. NPI and/or new supply source, develop PPAP activity plan in conjunction with SQ projects team. Ensure all supplier visits are completed to process and any actions raised are taken to closure. Report part approval status. Current Production Support, interface with Resident SQ team to ensure issues are prioritised and addressed in a timely manner to minimise any effect on production and quality targets. Experience of quality tools such 8D, FMEA, APQP Control plans, MSA, SPC & Process Mapping. Support SQA site manager and SQA engineers to meet supplier quality targets and requirements. Key skills and experiences: HND/HNC or Degree level in Engineering or similar related discipline Broad understanding of manufacturing processes related to automotive production Technically aware and capable of interpreting manufacturing processes Automotive OEM or 1st Tier supplier experience having performed as an SQE/SDE Effective communication skills with the drive to resolve supplier related quality and production problems with strong attention to detail Demonstrate a quality mind set and can-do approach to problem solving with the willingness to travel worldwide at short notice, working at suppliers` sites to resolve problems Demand for this role will undoubtedly be high and interviews will be arranged very soon. If you want to be considered, please apply today. If you have any questions about the Senior Supplier Quality Engineer role, please contact Mark Bignell at Jonathan Lee Recruitment on 01384 446 167 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Your CV will be forwarded to Jonathan Lee Recruitment, a leading engineering and manufacturing recruitment consultancy established in 1978. The services advertised by Jonathan Lee Recruitment are those of an Employment Agency.Permanent / Norwich
The future of transportation is exciting, and is poised to dramatically change how we live our lives and travel. It is also fundamentally changing the related labour markets. Industry’s move towards automated, connected and electrified technologies in addition to the digitisation of manufacturing will affect existing workforces and the careers available within electric vehicle (EV), connected and autonomous (CAV) and infrastructure (charging points) industries. There are plenty of studies, research papers and strategies that discuss future skills. However, they generally only go as far as to open the debate; provide a perspective, vision or even an idealistic view of jobs in the future. In the here and now, there is a lot of uncertainty and very little practical guidance out there, particularly for employees. So what's most important is for people and companies to be proactive and start to prepare... WHAT IF YOU'RE AN EMPLOYEE? We are increasingly finding candidates concerned about their future job prospects, and asking: Will my job or skill set become obsolete? What skills will be in demand in the future? What transferable skills do I have? Is there a natural job role or area could I move into? How do I go about upskilling? I want a job in EV and CAV - what do I need to do next? With fossil fuel powered cars set to be banned as soon as 2035, traditional powertrain as we know it could creep into extinction – alongside the jobs that support the function. This is a daunting prospect for those that have dedicated their career to the specialism. Traditionally training in the automotive sector has been difficult to navigate - characterised by a complicated patchwork of colleges, universities, private providers and in-house training. For those looking to upskill now, however, many of these issues are being addressed and many employers have started to collaborate with academia to create new courses that evolve and adapt quickly to include the latest technological advancements and trends.Danial Gill
Following my last blog where I considered some of the misconceptions surrounding Industry 4.0, I want to get 'back-to-basics' and look at what the component parts of Industry 4.0 actually are. Without descending into the ‘white noise’, as described in my previous blog, it is important to have simple descriptions of what I understand big data, connected technology, connectivity, the Internet of things (IoT) and cloud computing to be: Big Data Big data is a term that describes the large volume of data – both structured and unstructured – that a business may collect on a day-to-day basis. Big data can be analysed for insights that lead to better strategic business decisions. Connected Technology, Connectivity and Internet of Things The combination of big data plus the internet is called connectivity or the Internet of things (IoT). We often control simple systems/everyday objects via computer devices by means of an app. Alternately we could combine with other control/display technologies to create a more complex system in which computers or robots make decisions instead of humans which is called artificial intelligence (AI). Cloud Computing Over the last 5 years, computing technology has evolved to enable us to collect, store and manipulate large amounts of data, usually off site in the cloud. The cloud is really a collection of large purpose-built data farms and companies pay to access their data on a pay-as-you-go basis. As you can imagine, transferring high volumes of data requires high speed internet and protection from malicious and non-malicious threats (cyber security). Sometimes these data companies or third-party companies will store whole programs tailored to specific sectors and supply them on a pay as you use basis (either per request or via licence) – this is called Software as a Service (SaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS). Faster internet connection has also evolved to allow this data to be transferred or accessed in almost real-time. The mobile internet has meant that this transfer can be done anywhere that there is a good internet connection (hence we have music and video streaming). Connected Technology and how it could Apply to your Business With a basic understanding of the definitions above, it’s important to next consider the real-world application to your business. There are four main areas where connected technology could have an impact: SMART Products These are ‘connected’ products – by this we mean controlled via internet/ethernet/Wi-Fi or similar. They can be simple products or include further technologies such as AI or augmented reality (AR). Do not be fooled into thinking that SMART products are complex and therefore do not apply to your business. Many simple products are using SMART technology for product registration (consumer warranty), while manufacturers can monitor the use, misuse, performance and service intervals. SMART Manufacturing If we follow the conventional manufacturing sequence from sales, design and development through to manufacturing and quality - each department depends on an input from the previous department and human intervention during the process itself. Sales departments frequently collect customer requirements, add them to a SAP system, order prototypes and answer questions regarding supply and stockists. Designers are required to optimise a product and design them on CAD – once their part in the process is complete, they then pass the design to manufacturing, who use subtractive manufacturing techniques to make the final product. Companies embracing SMART typically have customer apps where the customer can customise their order – the app can automatically link to request a sample order or SAP so parts are automatically ordered, manufacturing is then scheduled, while a CAD design is made ‘generative’ (rather than relying on designer skill) and a 3D printed prototype or similar is created. In essence, SMART Manufacturing removes many forms of waste. SMART Buildings Space comes at a premium; housing people, heating and lighting spaces alongside having the required software and IT infrastructure all comes at a price. At the same time flexible working and working from home is becoming more commonplace. What if you could understand how the space in your building is being utilised? What are the people flows? When and how are offices occupied? Can I limit the space required by buying software as a service instead of a licence hosted on your servers (i.e. pay-as-you-go)? SMART Logistics Being able to track your product seamlessly from raw parts, through manufacturing to delivery using location finding services. Skills in Demand Today We are seeing huge demand for specialists in the market, for example cloud developers, app developers, AI specialists. These people have been educated in specific disciplines, and, usually command a salary premium. To satisfy demand in lower level positions, it is quite common to take parallel skills from other industries and cross train, for example, games developers. Diversifying Skills for Tomorrow The impact Industry 4.0 will have on conventional jobs could be profound. Within a short space of time we may see additional skills move from ‘unheard of’ to ‘desirable’ and ‘mandatory’. For example, a manufacturing engineer in automation, who may have SCADA experience, may now be required to have an understanding of vision systems or a proximity location system. Or a facilities manager who, only within the last 12 months, is now expected to be proficient in specialist workspace optimisation software. It is the sheer rate of change that will catch many companies and candidates off-guard. When considering future skills, carrying out an organisational skills audit can highlight home-grown specialists and where upskilling on the latest innovations could futureproof a business. Increased automation and adoption of Industry 4.0 concepts will lead the way to a new landscape of skills and jobs. With the right planning and a pro-development culture, employees could seize the opportunity to move into fulfilling new, previously non-existent jobs, while allowing the business to move forward. What's Next? If you aren’t sure how Industry 4.0 will affect your business, then take a look at my previous blog where I outlined the benefits of utilising trade associations and the Future of British Manufacturing Initiative as starting points on your journey.Danial Gill
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), Industry 4.0, the smart factory and smart manufacturing – terms we hear on a regular basis that are interchangeably used to describe the advent of disruptive technologies. But what does it actually mean to your business? Is it even relevant to your business? Whenever I speak to business leaders, they have most certainly heard of this revolution, however, the raft of articles that describe the endless possibilities and warnings can soon become white noise and hype. It sounds too good to be true. Diverse and Complex And here is why. When viewed holistically, there are many facets to Industry 4.0; the topic is vast and incorporates a wide mix of technologies. Because of this, its meaning can drastically differ from business to business and person to person, indeed, even within the same organisation. Our exposure to The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) as a consumer can also distort our understanding. There is an abundance of smart products and services that have filtered into the marketplace and into our daily lives; smart phones, apps, Fitbits, smart meters, smart motorways and Uber. B2C and B2B can seem like completely different worlds and leading some to believe it is more relevant to B2C businesses. Where to Start? Every business leader wants to make better products, improve productivity and gain a competitive advantage. But which disruptive technologies are relevant or beneficial to my business? How can I go about making the hypothetical a reality? What capital, time and resources are realistically required and when will I see a return? It's Good to Talk The first port of call would be to openly discuss it – speak to your customers and supply chain, trade associations, peers at events. Understand how it is affecting them – the likelihood is that you have already had some kind of contact with Industry 4.0 and may not realise it. Minor Tweaks Many manufacturers have continuously improved their processes over time; adopting advanced technology as well as utilising tried and tested methods of manufacture, often combined with lean and 6 sigma techniques. Industry 4.0 is the next improvement process and many businesses may have already begun to install sensors or have the software that, with a few minor adaptations, can analyse data in a slightly different way and be able to make more informed decisions. Trade Associations Trade associations such as Make UK, BFFF, SMMT, ADS, MIA, Rail Alliance are all aware of Industry 4.0 and each have their own bank of initiatives, data and expertise. They are there to represent you and your industry so get in touch with your account manager and find out what resources they have, which could range from improving supply chain collaboration, through to training or the mechanism to applying for funding. Future of British Manufacturing Initiative The Future of British Manufacturing Initiative (FoBMI) is a fantastic tool, free and available to all. All too often we attend events or read articles that ‘worship the problem’ rather than actually help! I would encourage any business to take the online readiness assessment tool which takes 15-20 minutes to complete. Even better, call me or one of our 4IR experts to go through the assessment with you. FoBMI is a great starting point for any businesses wanting to hone in on the areas of industry 4.0 that are relevant to their own business. The end result is a personalised report that plots how your business is doing in five key areas of competitive advantage. Listen to episode 1 of our podcast or visit our dedicated webpage to find out more.Danial Gill
British businesses have begun to lose out on up to £3 billion of unused levy contributions from April 2019. In the fourth and latest episode of the Skills Connection podcast, Colin Reeves and I discuss how businesses can utilise levy contributions to address skills shortages. The podcast is available to view by clicking here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-skills-connection/id1453527773?mt=2 We’ve summarised the key takeaway points from the podcast below. Get in touch with me if you have any questions. WHAT IS THE APPRENTICESHIP LEVY? In April 2017, the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced by the Government as a way of incentivising employers to reinvest in apprenticeships and upskill their workforce. WHO PAYS INTO THE APPRENTICESHIP LEVY? Businesses with a UK wage bill of £3million or more will contribute 0.5% of their total wage bill in a monthly payment to a DAS (Digital Apprenticeship Service) account. BUSINESSES HAVE BEGUN TO LOSE FUNDS PAID INTO THE APPRENTICESHIP LEVY - HOW DOES THAT WORK? There is a two-year lifecycle for every individual monthly payment that an employer contributes to the Apprenticeship Levy, so employers that made a levy payment back in April 2017 – if they haven’t utilised those funds, they will lose those that contribution in April 2019 – and the same will happens for May and so on. APPRENTICESHIP LEVY = STEALTH TAX? Many employers aren’t utilising their levy contributions – and for those employers the Apprenticeship Levy is a stealth tax. Given the timings and the figures, it is a very urgent and expensive problem. With a reported £3 billion estimated to be sitting in DAS accounts, not being used, a lot of businesses are missing out and gaining no return from the money paid into the Apprenticeship Levy. WHY AREN'T BUSINESSES REINVESTING THEIR APPRENTICESHIP LEVY CONTRIBUTIONS? There is a lack of education and direction coming from Government and the Department of Education (DfE) in terms of what an apprenticeship is or can be. If you were to ask 100 people off the street what an apprenticeship is, they would say it is for 16-18-year-old school leavers who do not have any qualifications. Many business models do not require a school leaver apprentice, and therefore switch off when they hear ‘apprenticeship’. For many others, there is a belief that ‘Apprenticeship Levy’ equals ‘stealth tax’. They think “I will never be able to spend it; it’s a tax and we’re just going to have to pay it. We don’t like it, but it’s not a huge figure, it a comparative smaller figure that goes out every month at 0.5%, so I’ll just pay it.” IF APPRENTICESHIPS ARE NOT JUST FOR SCHOOL LEAVERS - WHAT CAN AN APPRENTICESHIP COVER? An apprenticeship can cover anything up to Masters degree level – and there are new standards being introduced to the market on a regular basis. The Government has seen that there is no longer a ‘one size fits all’ apprenticeship that is suitable for all companies. We work with employers and learning establishments to create a process where an apprenticeship can be more bespoke to a particular position; the learners job role, responsibilities and skill-set. But the apprenticeship can vary in level from entry level progressing to a Masters degree. THE CHANCES ARE THERE IS AN APPRENTICESHIP THAT WILL COVER YOUR BUSINESS' TRAINING NEED? Yes – there are more and more new standards being developed and we are working tirelessly to keep at the forefront of the new standards so we can educate our clients. BUT DON'T EMPLOYERS LOSE APPRENTICES FOR DAYS ON END? It really depends on what job the apprentice is learning. Blue collar construction or ‘hands on’ engineering realistically need to go off-site to build those skills, although there are instances where you can learn in-house or certain training providers come to you for on-site training. There are some really good training providers out there who have adapted to allow a more blended learning approach. Blended learning is essentially a mixture of on-site and off-site training including classroom learning, but also virtual learning. These are easy ways to access and document learning within the apprenticeship framework, without necessarily having to lose an employee for a day or hours at a time. THE VAST MAJORITY OF APPRENTICESHIP TRAINinG CAN BE DONE WITHIN THE DAY JOB? Yes and this is often overlooked in the UK. It is frequently thought that apprentices have got to go off-site to learn and not do their day job. There is an element of that at times, but much of the training can be done whilst doing their job and still be productive to the business. HOW DOES IT AFFECT BUSINESSES THAT DO NOT QUALIFY TO PAY APPRENTICESHIP LEVY CONTRIBUTIONS? SMEs have been hit the hardest by the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, particularly because of the lack of guidance and support from the Government and other agencies. In essence, the introduction of the levy has monetised apprenticeships. Let’s not forget, before April 2017 apprentices were free, so any SMEs that really relied on apprentices to bring in new talent and address skill shortages. Up until March 2019, SMEs have had to contribute 10% towards the cost of the course. This has now been reduced to 5% to make it more feasible and affordable for SMEs. However, there are still a number of solutions where we can help SMES, especially once we have an understanding of their business objectives and how we can incorporate the correct apprenticeship strategy to fit with their growth strategy. HOW CAN JONATHAN LEE SKILLS CONSULTANCY AID BUSINESSES? We offer an impartial consultancy service that acts on behalf of employers who are looking to find out what the Apprenticeship Levy is and what they can do with their levy funds. Not just for their immediate requirement – these funds aren’t going anywhere - but create a one to five year plan, to find the best ways to gain ROI (return on investment). First of all, we liaise with the employer and ask: Where would you spend the money if you could? Is it going to the tax man or is it going on your staff? Where on your staff would you invest? Where do you want to get better? From there, we can start to build a strategy, introducing employers to our large network of training providers and colleges who understand the benefit of providing a blended learning approach. Once a strategy is created, businesses will stop losing money from the Levy, which has already begun to happen from April 2019. We understand and appreciate that business leaders are very busy, making it difficult to find the time to plan a strategy. We are here to offer an educational piece; a truly impartial consultancy service where we can educate you as an employer, save a vast amount of time in research and development of what you can and can’t do with your levy contributions. We can then connect you with our network of education providers. We are working hard with employers to identify an apprenticeship levy strategy that will work in line with their business growth strategy. 'USE IT OR LOSE IT' Businesses should start looking at incorporating a levy strategy now before it is too late, because employers have already started to lose out on large sums of money. I would suggest reviewing exactly where you would like that money spent on existing staff – because it’s not just for new employees, it’s about upskilling your existing workforce. Making your workforces sharper, more productive, improving employee retention and addressing skills shortages – the apprenticeship levy can be used as a positive funding mechanism for growth. WHERE DO THE LOST LEVY FUNDS GO? No one truly knows exactly where those left-over funds are going – it’s meant to be for the SME market – the non-levy payers, but it’s still not clear. It’s going to be really interesting to see, within the next few months, to see how the landscape evolves, how things will change. CONTACT US For more information, get in touch with Addie Marks: 01384 446137,email@example.com. jonlee.co.uk/skills-consultancyDanial Gill
The Apprenticeship Levy is not a Stealth Tax! The deadline for British business missing out on a collective £2.2 billion in contributions is here and it is now more critical than ever that industry understands how best to utilise the Apprenticeship Levy. Since April 2017, any company with an annual employee wage bill in excess of £3 million has been required to make monthly payments to the Apprenticeship Levy, an initiative launched by the government to encourage employers to invest in training. Only 9% of Levy Funds Accessed Figures revealed by the National Audit Office in March showed, UK employers had deposited £2.2 billion into the Levy in 2017-18, but a mere nine per cent of the total has been accessed and reinvested in staff training and development programmes. Businesses can draw the total value of their contributions to fund apprenticeship schemes through recognised training providers within two years of the payment dates; any money not accessed within that timescale is lost to the Exchequer so the first contributions will be forfeit from April 2019. Lack of Clarity Preventing Uptake We have spoken to a number of business leaders in recent months and the recurring theme is a lack of clarity and understanding of both the Apprenticeship Levy and apprenticeships in general. There is a widely held misconception that the Apprenticeship Levy is a stealth tax which offers no benefit to their business model, however, the monthly payments should be viewed as an opportunity to address skills shortages. The Levy provides a real opportunity for employers to drive business improvement by addressing skills shortages and improving retention of key staff which can have a significant positive impact on productivity and help the company grow. How the Apprencticeship Levy Addresses Skills Shortages In the majority of circumstances, Apprenticeship Levy funds can be used to finance all of the training needs of a business; not just those of entry level employees. Despite this, Jonathan Lee Skills Consultancy is discovering that many employers are spending vast amounts on commercial training whilst simultaneously paying six or seven figures sums into the Levy. Many businesses simply haven’t realised that spending can be offset against their levy contributions and are therefore essentially, paying for training twice. Perception of Apprenticeships Outdated The perception of apprenticeships is also outdated. The term ‘apprenticeship’ can be off-putting for employers. They perceive the new system to be heavily bureaucratic, to lack access to directly relevant accredited courses and to be available only to school leavers. Apprenticeship Levy funds can only be used on apprenticeships, but this terminology now covers a very wide spectrum of subjects, specialisms and levels, some of which are equivalent to a Masters degree. The Government is bringing out new frameworks and programmes on an almost daily basis and our role is to educate employers in understanding the new system and how to use it as a vital training resource. We also hear concerns from employers about the need for off-the-job training, fearing they will lose their staff for one day a week to college. That is also far from a reality under the scheme; learning can be delivered in the workplace or in virtual classrooms so impact on productivity can be minimal. Apprenticeships are no longer off-the-shelf commodities; content can be tailored to make courses directly relevant to both the individual and the business needs, giving employers far greater control. How wE can Help Many businesses simply do not have the time, resources or knowledge to turn their Apprenticeship Levy into a funding mechanism. If you would like to find out how to make your Apprenticeship Levy work for you, then get in touch with me on 01384 446137 or email me. READ MORE "Fiendishly Complex” Scheme Results in Apprenticeship Levy Underpayments Understand and unlock your Apprenticeship Levy in our latest blog post. Read more here. Apprenticeship Levy Myths Debunked We debunk some of the myths surrounding modern-day apprenticeships. Read more here.Danial Gill
The number of organisations being pursued for Apprenticeship Levy underpayment has more than doubled in a year, highlighting the wider problems that are affecting the Levy’s overall effectiveness since its introduction in 2017. Figures obtained by accountancy group UHY Hacker Young show that 84 investigations were carried out in 2018-19 collecting an additional £6.2m, compared to 33 investigations in 2017-18. The 155% rise in investigations into Apprenticeship Levy underpayment, we believe, boils down to a lack of clarity and understanding. An increasing number of employers are finding the levy scheme difficult to navigate, and as a result, are miscalculating the amounts due, which is leaving them at risk of incurring significant fines from HMRC. There has been very little accessible advice or guidance for employers regarding the Apprenticeship Levy and many see the levy as another ‘stealth tax’, which fails to bridge the skills-gap. We’re discovering that many employers are spending vast amounts on commercial training while simultaneously paying six or seven figure sums into the levy. Many businesses simply haven’t realised that spending can be offset against their levy contributions and are essentially paying for training twice. Partner at UHY Hacker Young, Clive Gawthorpe, said the high number of investigations being launched by HMRC highlights the wider problems that are affecting the Apprenticeship Levy’s overall effectiveness, describing the scheme as “fiendishly complex”. The rise in the number of investigations suggests that HMRC is now widening its net after initially focusing on larger businesses where the value of underpayments was likely to have been higher. Understanding the Levy Since April 2017, any company with an annual payroll in excess of £3 million has been required to make monthly payments to the Apprenticeship Levy; an initiative launched by the government to encourage employers to invest in training. Unfortunately, there has been very little accessible advice or guidance for employers and many see the levy as another ‘stealth tax’ which fails to bridge the skills-gap. Figures revealed by the National Audit Office in March show that despite UK employers having deposited £2.2 billion into the Levy in 2017-18, only 9% of the total has been accessed and reinvested in staff training and development programmes. The scheme is part of the government’s strategy to boost productivity and aims to develop vocational skills by increasing the quality and quantity of apprenticeships offered by employers. Businesses can withdraw the total value of their contributions to fund apprenticeship schemes through recognised training providers within two years of the payment dates; any money not accessed within that timescale is lost to the Exchequer with the first contributions becoming forfeit from April 2019. That means businesses will start to lose money in just a matter of weeks and do not appear to be taking action. Unlocking the Levy Jonathan Lee Skills Consultancy makes it simple for clients to utilise Apprenticeship Levy funds to address skills gaps and improve employee retention, thus driving productivity and growth, all while putting money back on the bottom line. To find out more click here. Get in Touch If you would like to find out how to make your Apprenticeship Levy work for you, get in touch. Read More Take a Fresh Look at Apprenticeships Want to make the most out of your Apprenticeship Levy contributions? Find out how here. Apprenticeship Levy Myths Debunked We debunk some of the myths surrounding modern-day apprenticeships. Read more here.Danial Gill
We’ve all seen the news... the internal combustion engine is dead; the future is electric! We live in exciting times as far as automotive propulsion is concerned, it used to be that the choice was either gasoline or diesel (some limited LPG/CNG). Just a few years later and there is a much wider choice; including cryo-engines, clean 2-stroke, clean diesel, fuel-cells, hydrogen as a fuel, even compressed air engines. Some of these technologies clearly have a place in specific applications but the big investments are being made in electric vehicles. We’ve all read the news, or know someone with one, so it seems a foregone conclusion that the future is electric right? Well maybe, but it’s not that simple. Many people do not realise there is a choice of electric architecture or agree on the best path to take for the future. So let's take an armchair view of what ‘electric car’ means by exploring the different architectures competing for the pound in your pocket. Mild HybridS These vehicles have been mainstream for several years. The vehicle uses a conventionally sized internal combustion engine (ICE) but replaces the starter motor & alternator with one unit – an ISG (integrated starter generator). These vehicles have no means of electric propulsion, the engine always drives the wheels. However, when stationary the ISG allows the engine to be turned on and off again quickly without the use of the ignition key. When in the off position the vehicle is using no fuel and producing no emissions. This means that average fuel consumption and average emissions are decreased when a homologation driving cycle is run. The frequent stop/start system can cause batteries to discharge quicker and so some form of regenerative braking is usually employed to convert wasted kinetic energy into useful stored battery power. Advantages: Conventional technology, limited change in architecture needed, inexpensive solution, some improvement in emissions and fuel economy. Disadvantages: Stop/start can be confusing at first, improvements in economy and emissions are limited and sceptics argue benefits are negligible in real-world driving. Parallel Hybrid (Self Charging) These vehicles have a conventional (usually gasoline) ICE plus an electric motor. Both the motor and engine can drive the wheels either separately or together. When pulling away, electric power only is used until the vehicle reaches approximately 20mph. Thereafter the ICE provides all of the propulsion and in addition charges the battery (regenerative braking is usually employed too). Under full load, the electric motor kicks in and provides additional power alongside the gasoline engine. An example of this technology being applied is the Toyota Prius. Advantages: True electric vehicle in that electric power does propel the vehicle under certain conditions, no need to manually charge the vehicle, no range anxiety, offers greater fuel economy, performance and lower emissions. Disadvantages: If used on shorter runs the battery never charges, as such it is propelled exclusively by the ICE. With the additional weight of the electric motor and engine, fuel economy and performance are reduced if in this mode. More costly to produce and more likely to fail due to ICE and electric motor. PARALLEL HYBRID (Plug-in phev) Propulsion architecture is the same as above, but the battery is replenished by plugging into a charger. With the ability to charge the vehicle, it can run for longer on electric power thus improving economy and emissions further. Examples of this technology being applied is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Advantages: Increased fuel efficiency, lower emissions, longer all electric range and thus cost/mile of motoring reduced. Disadvantages: Overall 'greenness' of using and ICE and e-motor is questionable; recyclability an issue as battery packs need more frequent changing, extra strain on national grid, no standardised charger, extra infra structure required. Range ExtenDED Hybrid Range extended hybrids have both an electric motor and small displacement ICE (500-700cc), but only the electric motor is connected to the wheels meaning all propulsion is electric. The ICE is used solely as a generator to charge the battery and as such can be optimised for this duty cycle (i.e. minimal changes in load/speed). This solution is really for those users where range anxiety is an issue. An examples of this technology being implemented is the BMW i3 range extender. Advantages: Reduced running cost per mile, high performance from electric motors, range anxiety reduced as engine can charge the battery, reduced weight compared to parallel system. Fuel economy and emissions can be zero depending how driven. Disadvantages: More complex and costly to produce than full electric; more a psychological fix than an ideal technical solution. Battery Electric Vehicle These vehicles have only an electric motor for propulsion– there is no ICE engine. As such they must be plugged-in to charge. These are pure all electric vehicles. Batteries are usually built as structural members, closely packed and fitted wherever there is space (usually floor to reduce centre of mass and thus vehicle handling). Examples of this technology include Tesla. Advantages: Zero emissions, lowest running costs, exhilarating performance, simple compared to ICE and thus price will fall with economies of scale, no local pollution. Disadvantages: Range is limited to 150-200 miles in good conditions, require owner to have charging point, long time to charge, pollution moved to power stations, investment in infra structure required, recyclability, battery flammability, architecture of vehicle significantly changed to reduce weight/improve dynamics. The Future of battery It seems most investment is going into pure BEV although several Japanese manufacturers see self-charging or PHEV as the winning solution. Regardless the race is on to increase range and decrease charging times. Here are a few changes we may see on battery vehicles of the future: More intelligent use of power: New heating/cooling technologies for HVAC, greener driving modes, intelligent connectivity that builds in charging stops (or reserves charging) into satnav. Solar cells (PV) cannot capture enough sunlight to propel a vehicle (at the moment) but could potentially be used to power ancillary systems and provide a trickle charge. Connected autonomous vehicles: The connected and self-driving car – if a car can navigate and drive itself, it can drive itself to local communal charging points while the owner is sleeping. Charging: Batteries that can accept a higher charge rate and an infrastructure than can deliver more power per hour, use of inductive charging, standardised plugs. Improved battery chemistry: Current lithium battery technology uses a 'slush' electrolyte, this is flammable and uses cobalt which is toxic. Improvements in battery technology include solid state, low cobalt electrolytes with ion carrying capability on par with slush. These will allow more tightly packed cells and thus overall higher energy densities and improved flammability safety. Chemists are also looking at sodium or even magnesium-based cells. WHAT ABOUT OTHER TECHNOLOGIES? Even with the improvements in battery technology, they will still have inherent disadvantages – time to charge, range, safety, additional infra structure. So are there any alternatives? Fuel cells: The use of electrolysis to combine oxygen (from air) and hydrogen (stored on vehicle) have been talked about since the 1950’s. They produce no noxious emissions and can be refilled like a traditional gasoline car and so surely this is the future? On paper they offer a lot, but in reality there are the following challenges to overcome – hydrogen infrastructure does not exist (volume production, storage and distribution), safety of storing hydrogen, reliability and durability are much lower than ICE. Very little R&D investment is going into fuel cells for cars (Hyundai excepted) and no government legislation has been shaped to hasten adoption. Its seems therefore that hydrogen is a dead end...or is it? Hydrogen as a fuel. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, has a higher energy density that gasoline or diesel and burning it as a fuel can be done in a modified ICE with no carbon pollutants (NOx may still be an issue). Furthermore, some vehicle by their nature eg PSVs, have duty cycles very unfavourable to current battery technologies (frequent stopping/starting, large volumes to heat, pressure to minimise down time. The challenges of hydrogen distribution and storage still remain, but some manufacturers are actively researching workable hydrogen fuel engines. So, there you have it! The future is electric we’re told. Unless it’s hybrid...or then again... is it hydrogen? Join the debate and let me know what you think.Danial Gill
When most people think of apprenticeships they think of teenage bricklayers or school-leaving mechanics. While those trades are important, in demand and offer great careers, apprenticeships are about far more than that – and can be real assets to any business. This week is National Apprenticeship Week which has given us the ideal opportunity to talk more widely about how Jonathan Lee Skills Consultancy can help businesses make the most of their Apprenticeship Levy contributions. Since April 2017, any company with an annual employee wage bill in excess of £3 million has been required to make monthly payments to the Apprenticeship Levy, an initiative launched by the government to encourage employers to invest in training. In reality though, many businesses have just thought of the levy as a stealth tax - another money-making scheme from Whitehall. Figures revealed by the National Audit Office in March show that UK employers deposited £2.2 billion into the Levy in 2017-18, but only 9% of the total has been accessed and reinvested in staff training and development programmes. Businesses can withdraw the total value of their contributions to fund apprenticeship schemes through recognised training providers within two years of the payment dates; any money not accessed within that timescale is lost to the Exchequer with the first contributions becoming forfeit from April 2019. That means businesses will start to lose money in just a matter of weeks and do not appear to be taking action. But why is this? We think it boils down to a lack of clarity and understanding. The levy is a funding mechanism by which employers can drive business improvement, address skills shortages and improve retention of key staff - all of which can have a significant, positive impact on productivity and help a company grow. What's more, in the majority of circumstances, Apprenticeship Levy funds can be used to finance all of the training needs of a business, not just those of entry level employees. Despite this, Jonathan Lee Skills Consultancy is discovering that many employers are spending vast amounts on commercial training while simultaneously paying six or seven figure sums into the levy. Many businesses simply haven’t realised that spending can be offset against their levy contributions and are essentially paying for training twice. Apprenticeship Levy funds can only be used on apprenticeships, but this terminology now covers a very wide spectrum of subjects, specialisms and levels, some of which are equivalent to a Master's degree. The Government is bringing out new frameworks and programmes on an almost daily basis and our role is to help employers understand the new system and how to use it as a vital training tool. We also hear concerns from employers about the requirement of off-the-job training, fearing that they will lose their staff for one day a week to college. That is also far from a reality under the scheme; learning can be delivered in the workplace or in virtual classrooms so the immediate impact on productivity is minimal. In fact, apprenticeships are no longer off-the-shelf commodities. Content can be tailored to make courses directly relevant to both the individual and the business needs, giving employers far greater control. So our message to businesses this National Apprenticeship Week is this: Think about the Apprenticeship Levy and how it can benefit you and your staff. Use the money you have already invested to give your people the training and development they need. The scheme is likely much more flexible than you think. Contact us for information on how Jonathan Lee Skills Consultancy can help.Danial Gill
The Apprenticeship Levy impacts every employer with an employee wage bill of more than £3million per annum. Introduced by the Government in 2017 to encourage employers to invest in training, there has, unfortunately, been very little accessible advice or guidance for employers and many see the levy as another ‘stealth tax’ which fails to bridge the skills-gap. With Department for Education figures showing that of the £2.7billion paid into the Apprenticeship Levy by UK employers only 14% of funds having been reinvested since its implementation, it’s clear that the take-up has not been as high as the Government would have hoped. With the skills shortage being cited as a barrier to past and future development within the engineering, technology and manufacturing sectors, particularly with the advent of technological advancements encapsulated within the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is critical that industry is active in training and upskilling its workforce. May 2019 also sees employers beginning to lose any levy contributions that have not been utilised for training, which is non-refundable and ultimately lost to the Exchequer. It is time to debunk some of the myths surrounding modern-day apprenticeships and embrace The Apprenticeship Levy as a key mechanism to address skill shortages. 1. THE APPRENTICESHIP LEVY GIVES EMPLOYERS LESS CONTROL FACT: The Apprenticeship Levy actually gives employers more control of the training that best suits their specific needs and moves away from the provider / college-led model, if utilised in the right way. Employers’ levy contributions are paid into a DAS account, which gives them more visibility of the apprenticeships available to them, and an easier way to manage and measure their investment. 2. apprenticeships are just for young people aged between 16-18 FACT: Apprenticeships are available to people of all ages and can be tailored to suit the individual’s job role and responsibilities to further enhance their skill-set. 3. apprenticeships are only for entry-level job vacancies - they are for low skilled people FACT: Apprenticeships are available from level 2 (GCSE level) to level 6 and 7, which are equivalent to a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree. 4. 20% of off-the-job training is inflexible: one day a week must be spent in college FACT: Off-the-job training does not have to involve one day off a week spent in a classroom environment. It can be delivered at a time and location that suits the employer, provider and apprentice, allowing the learner to acquire the new knowledge, skills and behaviours required. 5. the apprenticesip levy doesn't have any benefits FACT: By 2020, £2.5billion will be invested to increase the quality and the quantity of apprenticeships. The Government remains committed to achieving three million apprenticeship starts by 2020 in England and businesses will be able to tailor an apprenticeship to suit their own business objectives for growth, reducing recruitment costs, improving employee retention levels and benefiting from a stronger workforce. 6. APPRENTICESHIPS CANNOT BE USED FOR EXISTING STAFF FACT: Apprenticeships CAN be used to upskill and / or retrain employees of any age, including older workers or existing staff, as long as the apprenticeship is giving them new skills that enable them to achieve competence in their chosen occupation. 7. i want some of my unspent levy funds to be used to help others by aggregating some of my funds with theirs, but i can't do that FACT: You can transfer up to 25% of the funds in your Apprenticeship Levy account to other employers of your choice (your suppliers or partners), and you can work with others to agree how best to support your supply chains in this way. 8. all businesses must pay the apprenticeship levy FACT: Only businesses that have an employee wage bill of £3million or more pay into the Apprenticeship Levy account, which is set at 0.5% of the total annual wage bill, including bonuses. Businesses that don’t currently meet the wage bill criteria can still gain access to Apprenticeship benefits under the co-investment model, which covers 90% of the total cost of apprenticeship training, increasing to 95% in May 2019. skills consultancy Jonathan Lee Skills Consultancy makes it simple for clients to utilise Apprenticeship Levy funds to address skills gaps and improve employee retention, thus driving productivity and growth, all while putting money back on the bottom line. To find out more click here. get in touch If you would like to find out how to make your Apprenticeship Levy work for you, contact one of our team.Danial Gill