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PPMA President, Caroline Nugent, shares her views on apprenticeships

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PPMA President, Caroline Nugent, shares her views on apprenticeships
Sam Wilson, The 19th of July, 2017

As the Apprenticeship Levy enters it’s fourth month, it continues to be a much discussed topic throughout the recruitment and HR worlds. We are delighted to have Caroline Nugent, PPMA President, write an exclusive piece for us to provide her thoughts.

As President of the PPMA, it’s always a privilege to share the views of our organisation to new audiences. We are a membership based organisation, representing HR & OD professionals across all public services. We work closely with a range of sponsors to ensure that our members have access to a range of products, services and thought leadership. I’m delighted that Jobsgopublic are one of PPMA’s Platinum sponsors.

PPMA lobbies relevant organisations on matters that are really important to the HR & OD communities and our broader organisations to give a professional viewpoint. One that is rightly getting a lot of attention at the moment is apprentices. There has been a lot of press about the new levy and whether or not it is a workable idea.

I’ll come back to that in a minute, but I want to say what that PPMA wholeheartedly supports any initiative which is designed to increase the number of apprenticeships across the country and not just in public sector organisations. I am absolutely passionate about it as I was once an apprentice myself. Any and all types of education are important, but the experience and learning I had was absolutely invaluable. There are so many students today coming out of university with huge amounts of debt, so I am so pleased that increasingly apprenticeships are available and are seen as a viable alternative.

We need apprenticeships for a whole range of reasons. One is that they are a fantastic way of engaging young people in employment and bringing them into public service. But, they are also a great way of attracting people of different ages too. We have some real challenges with youth employment, ensuring we harness the amazing skills and experiences of our older colleagues and also coping with the upheaval that Brexit is causing in our workforces. Apprenticeships aren’t a short term fix, but they are a vital component on an overall national skills and development strategy that government must invest in and continue to make a priority.

As public sector continues to develop, we hope to see apprenticeships that work across organisations so that we give people as rounded a development opportunity as possible. We’d love to see apprenticeships that work across sectors as well. For example, health and social care employers often compete for the same people and this causes us huge challenges and is costly for employers. If we developed apprenticeships that work across organisations this would really help us develop a talented pool of people who can work across health and social care.

There are of course challenges with the new levy scheme. The burden on public sector is disproportionately high and with all of the other issues on our plate, doesn’t feel fair. However, I am an eternal optimist and very tenacious, so I am absolutely determined that we make this work. So, you’ll see me speak and write in support of apprenticeships as often as I can, wherever I can. I’m really encouraged to see the work Jobsgopublic have done on their apprentice white paper, so I hope you will also keep up with what PPMA is doing about this critical initiative.

Caroline Nugent, is HR & OD Director at oneSource and PPMA President 2017/18. You can contact Caroline at president@ppma.org.uk and find out more about the work that PPMA does at www.ppma.org.uk.

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