Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 15

Sustainable plastics,
sustainable workforce
Adrian Grove, Business Development Director at Qube Learning, looks at how
the sustainable plastics industry can benefit from financial support to develop a
sustainable workforce before the funds are lost for good.
T
he Business Conditions
Survey for the
UK Plastics Industry
2021 from the British
Plastics Federation (BPF)
showed that 42 per cent of the
industry, BPF members, experienced
difficulty when recruiting
staff and over one fifth (21
per cent) of those roles which
were troublesome to fill were
apprentices.
It is therefore not surprising
that as well as reaching for
greater sustainability within the
plastics manufacturing process
itself, those in the industry are
also preoccupied with how they
may also ensure the sustainability
of their future workforce.
This comes especially at
a time when the industry is
showing signs of stabilisation
in terms of staffing - when the
BPF last surveyed members
six months previously, 22 per
cent of companies were looking
to decrease staff over the
next 12 months, this time only
7 per cent - the lowest number
ever witnessed by the BPF in
this survey.
So how can sustainable plastic
manufacturers overcome
this skills gap and where can
they access the funding needed
to do so? The answer lies in
Apprenticeships Levy Transfers.
Advantages of the
Apprenticeship Levy
Transfer
Many manufacturers could
benefit from funding through
the Apprenticeship Levy
scheme. Within the plastics
industry itself, Apprenticeship
roles include polymer processing,
polymer manufacturing,
manufacturing engineer, product
development and design,
manufacturing engineering
technician and the new engineering
manufacturing technician,
a level 4 apprenticeship
created by BPF now approved
for delivery.
Many larger organisations
with an annual payroll of £3
million+ may be aware of the
Apprenticeship Levy, far fewer
seem to make use of the
Levy Transfer option which is
designed to allow levy-paying
employers to transfer up to 25
per cent of their company Apprenticeship
Levy payment to
multiple employers.
Sharing part of their levy total
helps cover the costs of training
in smaller companies. This
might be a smaller company in
its supply or research chain that
might not have the resources to
fund Apprenticeships itself, or
perhaps a charity supported by
the company which would benefit
from taking on apprentices.
Additionally, employers can
utilise Apprenticeship funding to
help develop support staff within
these sectors and other types of
business, including roles in customer
services, administration,
and team leadership. There are
Apprenticeship courses such as
Customer Service Practitioner,
HR Support, Project Management,
and Chartered Manager
which build skillsets applicable
across industry.
Utilising the Apprenticeship
Levy Transfer is a chance to
upskill and grow small business
workforces from Level 2 upwards
at low expense.
Missing millions (or
billions, even)
However, much of the current
funding is going to waste. In
April 2021, £157 million was returned
to government coffers
when this money could have
been used to develop and reinforce
British workforces
post-pandemic.
April's figure marks the
Adrian Grove
highest monthly amount to
have 'expired' in the government's
Apprenticeship Levy
Fund since May 2019, when
the transfer facility was established.
In fact, in May this year
the apprenticeships minister,
Gillian Keegan, replied to a
parliamentary question that £1
billion " had expired between
May 2020 to February 2021 " .
So why aren't manufacturers
within the plastics industry
grabbing the opportunity with
both hands?
Firstly, there is the lack of
knowledge to overcome. Many
within plastic manufacturing
may simply not know that the
funds are available and there is
disconnection between larger
and smaller bodies which may
mutually benefit from a transfer
arrangement.
Secondly, many may perceive
the idea of establishing an Apprenticeship
programme
as being too
costly, complicated,
and time-consuming,
especially when
other manufacturing
related demands
take precedent.
There's no doubt
that transferring unused
levy funds can
be complicated. Yet,
because of its potential
to boost productivity
and profit, and
the sheer scale of
money involved, the
transfer option is too
valuable to ignore.
Streamlining
the process
On the flip side, an
accredited learning
provider such
as Qube Learning
can provide the link
between those with
unspent levy funds
from larger organisations with
smaller firms helping to deliver
Apprenticeships that are
needed.
Reaching out to an organisation
with proven experience
in this area is an easy way
to unlock the potential this
money could release - and
prevent billions more being
returned and the opportunity
for growth wasted.
By tapping into this available
resource, members of the
sustainable plastics industry
can help to bridge that skills
gap and ensure that technical
knowledge is secure for the future,
whilst also developing the
next generation.
For more information on Apprenticeship
Levy transfers or for
help finding a donor/recipient organisation,
visit www.qube-learning.co.uk/levy-transfers
August/September
2021
15
http://www.qube-learning.co.uk/levy-transfers http://www.qube-learning.co.uk/levy-transfers

Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021

Contents
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - Cover1
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - Cover2
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - Contents
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 4
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 5
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 6
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 7
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 8
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 9
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 10
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 11
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 12
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 13
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 14
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 15
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 16
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 17
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 18
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 19
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 20
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 21
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 22
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 23
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 24
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 25
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 26
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 27
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 28
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 29
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 30
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 31
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 32
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 33
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 34
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - Cover3
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - Cover4
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