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  • Why we are launching a Data Analytics SAS® apprenticeship

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Jul 07, 2022

    We’ve recently launched a Data Analyst powered by SAS® apprenticeship, designed to provide learners with modern analytical skills and the ability to analyse trends through data visualisation.

    We know it’s a great apprenticeship, but why? And why would someone want to do it?

    The most popular technology

    We have other data analysis programmes that use other popular technologies, but SAS is in the top three tools that analysts use. It’s always going to move with technological advances and give your organisation the insights it needs. By training your employees to use the platform effectively, you’re making sure they have the right tools and knowledge to really benefit your business.

    Collaborative working

    We’ve partnered with SAS so we can include special content. We use the content created by them and we deliver it around the apprenticeship framework. Our tutors have also gone through a training regime to ensure they are as proficient and skilled as possible in order to deliver it effectively.

    Having this specific SAS pathway for our Data Analyst apprenticeship means it’s not just a one size fits all solution, it’s very niche to the apprentices’ day job.

    - Beth Todd, Kaplan

    Give employees the right skills and the right tools

    By training your employees to obtain and analyse data, you’ll be able to see what’s going on in every aspect of your organisation. From sales reports, to web traffic, having the right skills to analyse data can give you enormous insight to trends, and foresight for potential risks.

    This apprenticeship is typically 15 months of learning, with three months for their end-point-assessment, to ensure they are fully competent. It starts with Excel skills, which are key for data analysts, and then goes into data visualisation and statistics using SAS. Your apprentice can even choose to take additional exams during their learning and become fully SAS certified, outside of the apprenticeship qualification.

    The way to unlock the power of SAS is through people

    - Jason Moss, Kaplan

    Why SAS?

    SAS technology is used across a whole range of industries, for example, a retail company can use data to understand the full customer journey. Things like loyalty cards provide data on spending habits and purchase information, which retailers can then use to optimise the customer experience. In the Financial Services sector, data is utilised to decide whether an individual is suitable for certain products like loans or mortgages. And they can also use this to recommend other products and services, so if someone has a banking account with them, they may also be a good fit for a new mortgage customer.

    Every single industry and organisation will have analytics involved somewhere

    - Nigel Armstead, SAS

    Why a Kaplan and SAS apprenticeship?

    Kaplan is the only commercial organisation in the UK and Ireland to deliver the SAS apprenticeship as an approved training provider. With SAS bringing their content, expertise, and support to the programme, including access to an official learning consultant. There are a range of training resources above and beyond what is included in the standard courses.

    Kaplan apprentices are also supported throughout their apprenticeship by tutors, academic support, SenCo coordinators, and line managers - they’ll get the knowledge they need, essential work experience, and a team of people focussed on their success.

    By working with Kaplan, SAS users can leverage years of apprenticeship experience and their tutors’ qualified skills

    - Nigel Armstead, SAS

    Interested in the Data Analyst powered by SAS Apprenticeship?

    If you think this apprenticeship would be the right fit for your organisation, have a look at our programme page for more information.

  • Webinar summary: Women in Technology

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Jun 09, 2022

    Recently, for International Women’s Day, we hosted a webinar with women in the industry to discuss their experiences and challenges.

    Our host for this webinar was Beth Todd, a Senior Business Development Manager here at Kaplan, and a huge advocate for women in technology. Beth was joined by our guests, Rebecca Lee and Pip Wilson.

    Rebecca is the Head of Business Support at JCDecaux. In her role she helps roll out new applications, processes, and integrations with other technologies in the business.

    Pip is the co-founder of Amicable, a tech-services firm focusing on divorce without lawyers. But this isn’t the first company she co-founded. After seeing a gap in the market, she co-founded a B2B SAP consultancy, which grew to around 300 people before being sold in 2015.

    Here’s a summary of some of the main points captured from the discussion.

    The importance of education

    Rebecca’s journey to her current position wasn’t particularly linear. 5 Years after leaving college with a qualification in nursery nursing, she was hired as a Personal Assistant. During this time, she took night classes which helped her land a job on an IT help desk. Since then, she has worked her way up through various roles to become the Head of Business Support.

    Having no formal technical qualifications, Rebecca jumped at every training or class offered along her career journey. Focusing on the business adoption of IT, she believes it’s beneficial to use any opportunity to learn new skills, and to utilise formal qualifications alongside the learning of softer skills.

    Pip's journey was a bit different, in her first job out of uni they made sure everyone learnt how to code no matter what their background, and she feels that this helped propel her through her career. She believes that having the ability to code can help you solve problems on a day-to-day basis.

    Pip explains how just having a grounding in technology allows you to not be afraid of it and helps you to understand how you can apply it to problems. Your knowledge means you know what solutions there are and where to go to find out the information you need, which is a valuable skill from a business perspective.

    Keeping up with technology

    Younger generations have grown up with technology so the fear of working with computers and applications isn’t as daunting as it used to be. But what should be communicated is how varied the space now is, so it is key for people to continually develop and take any opportunities to learn new skills. If you like the idea of working in a fast paced environment where things are constantly changing, then technology is for you.

    Pip also touches on the subject of returning to work. Whether it be for maternity, looking after a family member, or simply requiring some personal time. Explaining that the fear of rejoining the workspace can be quite daunting, but how this can be a great time to retrain and upskill, with plenty of tailored courses now available specifically for those looking to return to work.

    With recent world events, and the advancement in collaborative technologies, the business environment is in a much different place than it was a few years ago. The ability to work remotely and retrain from home has made creating opportunities more abundant and has made the jump back into a career a little easier.

    Working in tech isn’t just for men

    Technology is still perceived as something that men do. Stereotypes need to continue to be broken down as to what someone in tech looks like and does on a day to day basis.

    Pip comments that this awareness has to come from every angle. From changing the masculine language of job descriptions for technical roles, to girls in schools being encouraged from younger ages, to not writing off a technical career path.

    She explains how International Women's Day is a great time to help highlight and raise awareness around particular topics, as well as celebrate the achievements of Women and raise the profile of female role models.

    Rebecca went on to say how the occasion is also a great opportunity to reflect on your own career and the colleagues around you, and how you can support each other in a male dominated space.

    How can businesses support women rights and encourage more women in tech?

    Pip is a strong advocate for closing the gender pay gap and women returning to work, explaining that it isn't just about businesses encouraging women more, we also need to do the opposite. As a society we need to make it more acceptable for men to take more time off to raise a family, for it to be more equal at home.

    Removing the expectation that raising families has to be done in a traditional way will in turn reduce the gap in careers for women, and help to level the playing field. Although some businesses are offering this equal opportunity for parental leave, it won’t create full equality until it becomes the norm in society.

    However, Rebecca points out that with the development of hybrid working becoming more common, this can help catapult this ideal and support those who may not be able to return to the office full time to return to work sooner with more flexibility.

    When looking at hiring more women into tech based roles, businesses will need to be creative. With 9 out of 10 qualified candidates likely being male, and lots of competition to hire women in technology, businesses will need to offer options to support potential female hires with training or even flexibility, to improve their gender diversity.

    Importance of diversity in solving problems

    It’s really important that the people who are solving problems are reflective of society in general, so it’s vital to increase the number of women in these roles, as well as those from a diverse background.

    Having diverse teams can really help to bring a good balance of perspective and ways of working. Research shows that a diverse workforce not only provides a better understanding of customers or clients, but also increased employee retention, improved productivity, greater innovation, and also gives your company a wider talent pool to pick from.

    Find out more about our data and technology apprenticeships

    If you are interested in developing your personal skills or looking to upskill one of your employees, learn more about our full range of data and technology apprenticeships.

  • The cap of ten apprentices: what non levy paying employers need to know

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | May 19, 2022

    Updated: June 2022

    The apprenticeship cap for non-levy paying employers was reset on 1 June 2022. This means that for non-levy paying employers, they are able to recruit up to 10 apprentices over the next year.

    If your business doesn’t pay the Apprenticeship Levy you will have 95% of the cost of apprenticeships subsidised by the Government. From 1 June 2022 non levy paying employers are able to reserve funds for up to 10 apprenticeship starts. It had been due to be reset in April 2022, but wasn’t! It’s great news for non levy paying employers that the cap has been reset.

    The reset of the cap gives employers more stability over the coming year, and the opportunity to plan to bring new talent into their business, or develop existing employees. Non-levy paying employers can plan to employ more than 10 apprentices. This article highlights some of the options if considering more than 10 apprentices.

    What are your options as a non-levy paying employer?

    As your business gets close to its cap of 10 new starts, there are still a number of options for funding further apprenticeships:

    Use the levy transfer

    Larger employers, who do not spend all of their Apprenticeship Levy, can choose to donate up to 25% of their unspent levy allocation to other organisations. This is seen as a method of supporting the skills within the industries they serve, to build a more robust talent pipeline across the sector.

    Pay for the apprenticeship

    An employer could pay the full cost of an apprenticeship, without any additional government subsidies.

    This way, employees would still receive the additional support, guidance, content, and development our apprenticeships offer over and above the qualification. Helping to ensure they are fully supported in becoming well rounded professionals.

    Pay for the qualification

    An employer could look to pay for the qualification using their training budget.

    However, this would mean the employees wouldn’t receive the additional skills and behaviours support, and development that our apprentices benefit from. There also wouldn’t be any additional Talent Coach support and guidance. But, learners and employers would still receive tutor and academic support.

    Additional options

    There are some further solutions that we could advise clients on, depending on their individual circumstances. Our knowledgeable team can help with this, but options could include: Encouraging employees to start on shorter, lower level qualifications at a discount or utilising our new CFAB school leaver programme.

    These options would be used with the hope that in future the cap would be lifted and an employer could then choose to fully qualify staff through the level 7 apprenticeship with exemptions upon completion.

    Are you getting close to your cap?

    If your business is planning to recruit more than 10 apprentices we can advise on the most cost effective way of using your remaining allocation. The advice will vary depending on your situation and the apprenticeships you are considering, so we recommend speaking to us directly to discuss your specific needs.

    It’s worth noting that the cap of ten includes any apprentices who may have left since they started the apprenticeship, and includes anyone who wants to progress to a higher level apprenticeship on completion.

    Get in touch

    If you would like to speak to our team and learn about the best options for your organisation, you can get in touch via our employer contact form.

  • Kaplan’s new Apprenticeship programme wins at the PQ Awards

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | May 05, 2022

    The PQ Accountancy Awards returned to a live setting as Kaplan and Deloitte won for Apprentice Training Programme of the Year.

    The Awards were held at the Proud Embankment cabaret club in London and a great time was had by all, with comedians and a mariachi band ensuring that the evening was entertaining long into the night.

    Kaplan were nominated for seven awards:

    • Newly Qualified student of the year - Haider Ali

    • Apprentice of the Year - Callum Keating

    • Apprentice Training Programme (WINNER) - Deloitte and Kaplan

    • Best use of social media - Kaplan, using TikTok to support additional learning needs students

    • Innovation in Accountancy - Kaplan Learn Better Podcast

    • Study Resource of the Year - ACA OnDemand

    • Accountancy Personality - Neil Da Costa

    We were delighted that our innovative school leaver programme took the honours. This programme included a five week experiential learning simulation for Deloitte’s new Level 7 BrightStart apprentices. It was rolled out in autumn 2021.

    The submission detailed that within the programme:

    Apprentices learnt skills vital for their role and the L7 Accountancy and Tax apprenticeship. They acquired decision making skills by discussing pricing, analysing data and collaborating to overcome unexpected situations, in this real time simulation. Kaplan taught presentation skills so when teams presented to senior leaders in the finale/awards ceremony, they were ready to impress.

    The programme gave apprentices the freedom to learn through their experiences within a safe environment.

    It was a true collaboration between Kaplan and Deloitte, resulting in a learning experience which set the apprentices up for success.

    We were so grateful to receive recognition, particularly as the feedback was so strong from the learners themselves:

    “The decision making aspect was most beneficial. We made decisions based on changing circumstances, reflective of the real world.”

    “I’ve felt my confidence increase, especially when talking to new people at work.”

    “I’m more resilient to potential challenges.”

    “Working with a team I’d never met before over Zoom helped me the most.”

    So congratulations to our team, our partner Deloitte, and all the apprentices who were the first to take part in such a programme.

    Special thanks must also go out to Kaplan employees Kur Lewis, Nici Caesar, Jenny Pelling, Linda Chiou and Lynsey Stephens. It was their great work that resulted in this award win.

  • Data Analyst powered by SAS - the first apprenticeship of its kind

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | May 05, 2022

    We’ve exclusively partnered with SAS® to deliver a brand new apprenticeship. Creating a specialist pathway to provide SAS users with modern analytical and data visualisation skills.

    We spoke to David Hanby, Insight Manager here at Kaplan, to find out more about SAS and how it can benefit both businesses and individuals. Find out what he had to say…

    So, what is SAS?

    Originally, SAS stood for Statistical Analysis System but as they now develop more than just statistical software, SAS (pronounced "sass") is more of a brand than an acronym. I liked the acronym at first because I felt like I could pretend I was part of the special air service.

    You can use SAS for anything within the insights and analytics arena: database management, unstructured data, interrogate data, modelling, data interpretation.

    There are different versions of SAS, some are easier to use than others. I currently use SAS Studio which is basically the base level version.

    It’s its own software, and unlike other options, has its own language so doesn't rely on SQL.

    SAS has a certain level of prestige surrounding it.

    By aligning yourself to SAS, automatically you’re at the cutting edge of data analytics.

    Thoughts on SAS’s Data manipulation and efficiency

    It’s a programme I log into and I do all my work from within that. You bring data into the programme and manipulate how you want to use it. Then you can output the data however you want, and in whichever format you want, such as excel, word, powerpoint.

    It’s really fast in terms of handling big data very quickly. You can clean up messy data really well and it has an amazing ability to talk to different platforms through API connectivity to enable live transactional data.

    The user experience

    SAS language is continually evolving. For instance something you wrote a couple of years ago which took 15 lines of code can now be done with a new function or procedure.This constant improvement helps optimise the user experience to make analytics easier.

    The SAS community is also a great open forum. It’s there if you are struggling to do something. They provide a vast resource of advice and support through forums.

    What do you use it for on a daily basis?

    I use it to centralise all our different student data points to answer business questions. This could be based on student performance. For instance, when results are coming out, work will be required to compare those who failed versus those who succeeded.

    SAS enables me to review what they did on our platforms to get the results they ended up with. And it helps me analyse the data and come to conclusions.

    Once we have the conclusions, we talk to our Learning & Curriculum team with recommendations as to how to further optimise the learning experience. It helps us create an idea of what an ‘engaged’ student looks like, based on this data.

    Essentially, SAS lets us get really detailed if needed, but then brings it back and informs a top level summary view of what the users need and helps us understand how to deliver this.

    You know in the TV show 24, everyone wanted to be Jack Bauer, but I didn’t. I always thought the data nerd (Chloe) was the real hero.

    How does it benefit the business?

    As a business, SAS enables us to make data driven decisions. We can create bespoke reports in a timely manner to put in front of the right person. Whether that be the learning or commercial side of things.

    In terms of our commercial reporting, we use it to give commercial managers a live view of which courses are selling well and which are at risk - by incorporating transactional data. It forms the basis of our marketing KPI reports, in terms of student numbers, and allows us to create commercial targets throughout the year.

    Its power is applicable to any business. I worked for Shopdirect for 10 years and used it then. You don’t forget your first experience of SAS.

    I was a report runner back then and didn’t know how to use it that much, so I had to play with it to learn how to use it. I used it to run and build web, affiliate and basic translation reports. The first report I ever ran was a ‘daily offers report’.

    How could training benefit personal development?

    Although I never had formal training on SAS, I can see the value in it because if I did I would be able to understand what it’s doing on a foundation level. Understanding everything from the ground up, the ins and outs and why you are doing it. You’d be less likely to make mistakes and make incorrect assumptions about how it’s manipulating the data.

    Ultimately it would make you much more efficient.

    It is a massive door opener being proficient in SAS. If the skill is on your CV, you have an advantage from an employability perspective. It shows that you can put the work in. It also shows that you are up to speed with the latest in data analytics as SAS is always evolving and improving.

    By aligning yourself to SAS, automatically you’re at the cutting edge of data analytics. SAS’s slogan used to be ‘the power to know’ and that couldn’t be more true.

    Any final thoughts on SAS?

    I can’t overstate how accommodating it is. If I'm working with IT then I can translate and tailor the data to their ways of working. If a team uses SQL as their language then I can write in that language within SAS which makes the conversation much more fluid. So efficient.

    Be a SAS hero - find out more

    Support your decision-making by upskilling your employees or develop your own personal skills through our exclusive partnership with SAS. Check out our Data Analyst powered by SAS apprenticeship to learn more about this programme.

  • Our process for designing your apprenticeship programme

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Apr 28, 2022

    Successful apprenticeship programmes should compliment the way you and your teams work.

    Whether you’re looking to take on school leavers, graduates or up-skill internal members of staff at Kaplan, we know having an apprenticeship programme that meets your business needs is critical. That is why we have a team of design experts to help create a programme that is right for you.

    Initial conversation

    It all starts with an initial conversation, a chance for us to get to know your business.

    If you are unfamiliar with apprenticeships, we can help you make sense of the funding rules and any apprenticeship jargon you might have come across. Having worked with countless employers on apprenticeships, you can be confident you are in safe hands.

    We will want to hear from you any ambitions you have for a new programme, what roles your potential apprentices would be doing and what career aspirations you have for them beyond the apprenticeship.

    It’s vital for us to fully understand your values as well as some of the challenges you may be facing as a business. With this understanding in mind, when further in the design process we can make recommendations on how to address your concerns. Ideas can range from restructuring the order of technical exams to arranging additional line manager information sessions.

    Skills gaps

    Once we understand your business, we can help you to identify any skills gaps you might have. You may have already done some of this research yourself. We have a wealth of support and innovative resources tailored to your employees and their job role that can be built into your programme.

    We can look at job descriptions from key departments you want to focus on and map these to the appropriate apprenticeship standards. This has the added benefit of highlighting to you the knowledge, skills and behaviours you can expect to see from any potential candidates.

    Your internal training and work activities

    Many employers that come to us already have a wealth of internal resources and training. This training often is tailored to the needs of the business and embodies their values. Where appropriate to the curriculum of the apprenticeship standard, we can map your internal activities to the 20% off-the-job training required of all apprenticeship programmes.

    In a similar way, informing us of any work-related activities that you anticipate arising during the programme. For example, an annual company conference or client event could provide apprentices with ample opportunities to display their communication and networking skills. Or a regular internal audit could allow the apprentices to project manage and implement the recommendations made at specific points in the year.

    Ultimately, the more we understand about your internal training and the work activities you expect apprentices to undertake the better. Kaplan can then create a programme that compliments and builds on what apprentices are already learning in the workplace.

    Kaplan’s training offer

    Your Kaplan apprenticeship design will enable you to develop future talent that will have a significant impact on your business's productivity and performance, while providing an ambitious career opportunity that is right for your employees.

  • Vocational training benefits businesses and employees

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Apr 07, 2022

    So what exactly is vocational training? In this article, we unpack some of the different types, explore the benefits, and address common concerns.

    Vocational training is gathering momentum. People with vocational qualifications are believed to be more technically skilled, work-ready, adaptable, proactive and innovative than university graduates, research* for the Social Market Foundation has found.

    What is vocational training?

    Vocational training encompasses ‘learning by doing’ to gain job-specific skills and knowledge.

    Unlike theory-based academic study, vocational training provides hands-on experience and instruction for the day-to-day realities of performing a particular role. It’s designed to prepare candidates for the workplace, and emphasises the skills and behaviours as well as the technical knowledge needed to shine in a particular industry.

    How is vocational training delivered?

    Vocational training opportunities are available in a variety of formats, such as:


    From manufacturing to media broadcasting, there are vocational schools dedicated to a whole host of sectors. Learning includes classroom-based elements such as lectures, demonstrations and class discussions.

    On-the-job training

    This can include onboarding for new hires, or continuous professional development courses. Employees may also receive training to prove their proficiency in using a product or service. For instance, a bookkeeper or accounts assistant might want to study AAT to brush up on their accounting knowledge.


    Not to be confused with other vocational training methods such as a short internship or work experience, an apprenticeship is a real job with a paid salary and benefits.

    The apprentice is employed in a role relevant to the course they are studying. They then complete a combination of work-based training and off-the-job coursework. At the end of the programme – which can last between one and four years – the apprentice demonstrates all they have learnt in an independent assessment which will prove their competence in the job role.

    Not just for trades – vocational training for professional careers

    There is a perception that apprenticeships and other vocational routes are only for trades, but vocational training covers a wide scope of other well-paid and satisfying jobs in professional sectors, including finance and technology.

    At Kaplan, our apprenticeship programmes develop accountancy, tax, finance, data and IT professionals. They can fit into all career stages and be used to train and upskill new and existing employees across every level of the business.

    The business benefits of vocational training

    Like a quick win? When taking into consideration the productive output and subsidies vs the cost of training and wages, employers who take on an apprentice gain an early net financial benefit to their business of almost £2,500**. The government’s apprenticeship website*** has other very encouraging statistics, such as 74% of employers say apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service.

    Increase retention rates

    Apprenticeships can also help turn the tide on ‘the great resignation’. Staff churn is costly and disruptive, so many employers are utilising apprenticeship schemes as a tool to improve retention rates.

    Research by the National Apprenticeship Service**** reveals that 69% of employers say apprenticeships improved staff retention. And 65% of apprentices stay working for the company that trained them when they complete their apprenticeship.

    Attract millennial talent

    Training makes a company more attractive to new recruits. Having an apprenticeship programme as part of your training strategy signals to potential top candidates that your company will help them improve their skills and progress within your organisation. This is particularly important to millennials.

    The millennial generation, born between 1980 and 2000, is a significant portion of the talent market. Attracting the best of these millennial workers is critical to the future of any business, so it’s worth nothing that 35% of millennials believe excellent training/development programmes make an organisation compelling to work for, according to a survey conducted by PwC*****.

    Distinguish your business from the competition

    Apprenticeships lead to nationally recognised qualifications, which may give your business a competitive edge. Having staff fully qualified for particular job roles is a big plus point when tendering for contracts.

    And don’t underestimate the importance of soft skills. Research published by the Department for Education shows at least 80% of apprentices report improved softer skills such as communication and team-working.

    Apprenticeships – answers to common concerns

    The ‘university-for-everyone’ mentality has pushed awareness of vocational training paths to the margins and created some concerns about apprenticeships. Let’s address them:

    Will apprenticeships be expensive for my business?

    Far from it! Apprenticeships are an incredibly cost-effective way to train your staff. If you pay the Apprenticeship Levy, there is no cost to you for taking on an apprentice. And if you don’t pay the levy, you only pay 5% of the training cost, and the government will cover the remaining 95%.

    What about the 20% off-the-job training?

    While much of an apprentice’s knowledge will be gained from day-to-day working duties, apprentices must spend 20% of their paid working hours in training and development. However, the 20% rule doesn’t mean apprentices need to be out of the office one day a week.

    As long as 20% of their overall programme is spent in training, then it can take place whenever and wherever suits both parties. It can be completed online or in a classroom, or done at work via mentoring, shadowing, and developmental one-to-ones. It’s very achievable – particularly with the help of an experienced apprenticeship training provider like Kaplan.

    Kaplan has a dedicated Client Solutions team, tasked with working with our employers to ensure that 20% off-the-job training is planned and mapped in a way all parties are comfortable it can be achieved.

    - Jenny Pelling, Director of Apprenticeship Development and Diversity, Kaplan

    How Kaplan can help your business gain the apprenticeship advantage

    With a track record of more than 15 years in delivering apprenticeships, Kaplan can help your business use vocational training to reap the rewards of a well-trained workforce.

    Find out more about the apprenticeship programmes we provide in Accountancy and Tax, Financial Services, and Data and Technology.


  • 10-step process for taking on an apprentice

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Apr 07, 2022

    Adding new talent to your business via apprenticeships is a smart move. But it’s a little different to recruiting other employees and the process can seem overwhelming. Here we break down the process of getting an apprentice.

    Firstly, the good news is you don’t have to go it alone. You can get support from an approved apprenticeship training provider like Kaplan.

    We offer a full range of accountancy and tax, banking and financial services, and data and technology apprenticeships. And we will be with you every step of the way – from helping you identify your training needs to finding the best candidates and delivering the programme once your new apprentice is on board.

    Ready to get started?

    1. Begin with the role

    First, identify the job an apprentice would fill in your business. Remember, apprenticeships aren’t just for people in the early stages of their career – they can also provide opportunities for middle-ranking and senior roles.

    At Kaplan our courses, or ‘apprenticeship programmes’, to give them their official name, range from Level 2 (for roles such as Credit Controller or Finance Assistant), to Level 3 (moving up to jobs such as Software Development Technician or Assistant Accountant), to Level 4 (think Internal Audit Practitioner or Data Analyst), on to Level 6 (for roles such as Financial Services Professional or Senior Compliance Risk Specialist), and finally Level 7 (for your Senior Investment/Commercial Banking Professional, or Accounting and Taxation Professional).

    All can be delivered through an apprenticeship with seamless progression from one level to another.

    2. Create an apprenticeship service account

    All apprenticeships in England must be managed through the government’s apprenticeship service – an online portal through which you can manage your apprenticeships.

    To create an account you will need an email address, permission to add your PAYE schemes to the account, and permission to accept the employer agreement on behalf of your organisation. You’ll also need either the Government Gateway login for your organisation, or your accounts office reference number (AORN) and employer PAYE scheme reference number.

    3. Know your funding

    While you’re at this early stage, you’ll need to get to grips with funding. For employers in England, this varies depending on the size of your company.

    If you have an annual payroll of more than £3m, you’re already investing in the apprenticeship levy. Your contributions will appear in your online apprenticeship service account, as detailed above. You can use these funds to cover the cost of apprenticeship training and End Point Assessment with an approved training provider like Kaplan.

    Levy funds can’t be used towards an apprentice’s wages or wider training programme – and after 24 months, any unused funds will expire and return to the government.

    If you don’t pay the apprenticeship levy, or if you use all your levy funds and want to engage in more apprenticeship training, you will pay 5% of the apprenticeship course cost, and the government will cover the remaining 95%.

    Organisations with fewer than 50 employees can get full training costs funded for young apprentices.

    There are also incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice. And you can get employers’ National Insurance relief for any apprentice under 25.

    4. Find a training provider

    Once you’ve chosen your apprenticeship standard, your next step is to pick a training provider to deliver it.

    Finding a training provider that’s right for your business is really important. Consider how well they communicate with you about the training, what other employers say about them, and how apprentices rate them.

    At Kaplan, we are trusted by industry as 75 of the FTSE 100 companies use us for training. We are also top-rated by apprentices – voted No.8 in a list of the top 50 apprenticeship providers on Rate My Apprenticeship.

    We will work together to source the best candidate for your role and we are committed to supporting and guiding candidates through the whole recruitment process, making sure both the apprentice and employer are the perfect fit.

    - Tanya Widdop, Recruitment Team Leader - Kaplan Financial

    5. Set the salary

    The government has set a minimum apprenticeship wage, but many employers decide to pay more to attract the best candidates.

    6. Advertise your apprenticeship

    Now’s the time to attract some talent! You can work with your training provider to advertise your vacancy. At Kaplan, your apprenticeship will be advertised on the most relevant sourcing channels including Find an Apprenticeship, GetMyFirstJob, CareerMap, and our own website. We also proactively search for high calibre candidates using the GetMyFirstJob database and our own pool of more than 1,000 active candidates.

    Your advert should cover all the basics such as the apprenticeship qualifications offered, the job location, starting salary, any benefits, a description of the role and typical duties. It’s also useful to include any skills or interests that are desirable. For example, if you’re hiring a Financial Services Senior Customer Adviser apprentice, you’ll want someone who is a good communicator, likes problem solving and can maintain confidentiality.

    7. Shortlist applicants and conduct the interviews

    This is the time-consuming part, but your training provider can help. At Kaplan, our Recruitment Team will screen candidates via a telephone or video interview to establish their drive and motivation for the role, as well as their culture fit for your organisation. We aim to understand their personalities, strengths and weaknesses, and what they’re looking for in their careers.

    We’ll assess whether an apprenticeship is the right route for the applicants, and go through any candidate-specific circumstances to ensure they are successful during their apprenticeship. We’ll then send you the screened shortlist for your review and the final decision is yours.

    Our Recruitment Team will then help you organise interviews with the selected candidates. We will conduct preparation sessions with them to ensure they feel ready and fully equipped before meeting you. Bear in mind that some younger candidates won’t have much work experience. Let them talk about their life skills, and use the interview to see if they show enthusiasm for the apprenticeship.

    If you prefer handling the recruitment process yourself, we are also able to provide a less extensive service whereby we can advertise vacancies and direct suitable candidates to your own online application page.

    8. Sign an apprenticeship agreement

    Once you’ve chosen your apprentice, you’ll need to sign an apprenticeship agreement with them. This gives details of the skill, trade or occupation the apprentice is being trained for; the name of the apprenticeship they’re working towards; the start and end dates for the apprenticeship; and the amount of training you’ll give them.

    You can write your own apprentice agreement or download an apprenticeship agreement template.

    9. Confirm your commitment statement

    You must sign a commitment statement with your apprentice and the training provider. It must include the planned content and schedule for training; what is expected and offered by the employer, the training provider and the apprentice; and how to resolve queries or complaints.

    Your commitment statement will also set out how you intend to meet the requirement for your apprentice to spend 20% of their paid working hours doing off-the-job training. Take a look at our blog to get an idea of what counts as off-the-job training.

    10. Support your apprentice

    To give your apprentice the greatest chance of success, you’ll want to offer encouragement and support, along with the practical training. Help them find their feet by providing a thorough induction. Include them in social enrichment and networking opportunities, and keep an eye on their mental health and wellbeing.

    Supported to achieve their full potential, at the end of their programme your apprentices will pull together all their technical knowledge, skills and behaviour training to demonstrate competence across the whole apprenticeship standard – giving you greater confidence your apprentices can deliver the best results within your business.

    Ready to hire an apprentice?

    To keep these steps simple, we have focused on new starters. But you can check out our blog on how to upskill your current employees through apprenticeships.

    And if you’re ready to recruit an apprentice, find out more about how we help employers.

  • Cut your employee training costs with government-funded apprenticeships

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Mar 31, 2022

    Is your business facing a training budget squeeze? You’re not alone. Figures from the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development show the pandemic is forcing employers to do more with less. About a third of organisations polled in a recent survey have seen reduced training budgets and resources.

    Training is having to adapt – and smart employers are finding new ways to upskill their workforce. Many are cutting training costs by using government-funded schemes, which includes apprenticeships. But how can they help your business?

    What are government-funded training courses?

    The government has set aside millions of pounds in funding and grants for adults with all different training needs. Some schemes are completely paid for by the government and others are part-funded. These include Advanced Learner Loans, the Adult Education Budget, and of course Apprenticeships.


    You’re no doubt aware you can take on new recruits via government-funded apprenticeships. But did you know you can also upskill your existing employees? No matter how long they’ve been working at your company, everyone from junior members of staff to senior management can enrol as an apprentice. It’s a great way to fill skills gaps and boost productivity.

    Today’s apprenticeships put an equal emphasis on skills and behaviours as well as technical knowledge. At the end of the apprenticeship, your employee will demonstrate their new skills in an End Point Assessment to prove their competence in the job role.

    It’s an increasingly attractive option for employers. In a survey commissioned by the government, 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation. A further 78% said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity. And 74% of employers highlighted “improved quality of product or service”.

    With so many advantages, it’s no wonder we at Kaplan see apprenticeships as the best government-funded option, and the only one we support as a training provider.

    In my mind Apprenticeships are the best funding method because of the structure and opportunity around them. Apprenticeships ensure that not only is the knowledge learnt, but the apprentice has the opportunity to apply skills in the workplace, and show there is impact. There are other funding methods out there but none of them measure impact and progress in the same way. Apprenticeships are also available for everyone as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

    - Matt Rawlins - Director of Sales and Account Management, Kaplan Financial

    How to fund your apprentices – the Apprenticeship Levy

    If your wage bill is more than £3m a year, you’re already paying the Apprenticeship Levy at a rate of 0.5% of your total payroll. This tax is collected by HMRC and held in a Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) account – an online portal similar to online banking.

    Employers can then direct the funds held in these accounts to approved training providers, like Kaplan, to pay for their apprenticeship training.

    Bear in mind that your levy funds will expire 24 months after they enter your digital account – so it’s a case of ‘use it or lose it’.

    Funding for non-levy paying employers

    If your business doesn’t pay the Apprenticeship Levy, you will have the cost of apprenticeships partly funded by the government. You’ll pay 5% towards the cost of training an apprentice, and the government will pay the rest up to the funding band maximum. You’ll pay Kaplan, or another approved training provider, directly.

    Employers can reserve funds for up to 10 apprenticeship starts. From 1 April 2022, the reservation levels will be reset to 0, enabling each employer who does not pay the Apprenticeship Levy to make up to 10 new reservations to fund new starts in the financial year 2021-22.

    If you employ fewer than 50 employees, the government will pay 100% of the training costs up to the funding band maximum for apprentices aged 16 to 18, or for those aged 19 to 24 who meet certain eligibility requirements.

    Why choose Kaplan as your apprenticeship training provider?

    Kaplan has a wealth of experience in designing and delivering apprenticeships. We train more than 10,000 apprentices every year, and 75 of the FTSE 100 companies use us for training.

    Our apprenticeship programmes can solve your training challenges in accountancy, financial services such as mortgages, pensions and investment banking, and in data and IT skills.

    If your business is looking to beat the training budget crunch and take advantage of government-funded courses, Kaplan’s apprenticeships are a valuable resource.

    To help you further, read about apprenticeship levy funding or the apprenticeship programmes we provide in Accountancy and Tax, Financial Services and Data and Technology.

  • What the apprenticeship levy transfer rules mean for your business

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Mar 24, 2022

    The apprenticeship levy can be incredibly beneficial to businesses, boosting essential training and developing apprenticeship programmes. But how do you transfer your unused levy funds to another business?

    Why transfer?

    Transferring levy funds is a great way to support other businesses by deciding which sectors, skills, or local areas you’d like to fund. It’s completely up to you and your business who, or what, you choose to support - for example you might want to support the financial sector, or fund tech apprenticeships in a particular town in your area.

    How much can I transfer?

    You can transfer 25% of your previous financial year’s apprenticeship levy funds. The apprenticeship service calculates this amount as 25% of:

    • the total amount of levy you declared in the previous tax year
    • with the English percentage applied (the percentage of your employees that live in England)
    • plus the top-up payment of 10% from the government.

    You cannot transfer more than your 25% allowance in each financial year.

    Which businesses can I transfer the levy to?

    It’s totally up to you - any business can receive a transfer, whether they pay the apprenticeship levy or not. Businesses that pay the levy can choose to send or receive levy transfer funds - there are no rules on who can or can’t transfer.

    What can the level transfer pay for?

    They can only be used for apprenticeship training and assessments, and up to the maximum of the funding band for that apprenticeship.

    They can also only be used for a new apprentice. That doesn’t mean they have to be a new employee, just that they can’t already be on an apprenticeship.

    There is one exception to this - if an apprentice changes employer, they can continue their apprenticeship funded by a transfer of levy funds.

    What do I have to commit to when I transfer levy funds?

    A levy transfer is not a one-off payment - it’s a commitment to pay for an apprenticeship for its duration, until it’s completed.

    As all apprenticeships are a minimum of 12 months, you have to agree to transfer funds over multiple financial years. You will need to think carefully about the amount of levy funds you expect to have available in your account before you commit to a transfer.

    Transferred funds will leave your accounts on a monthly basis, and prioritised over payments for your own apprentices.

    What are my responsibilities when I transfer levy funds?

    You are only responsible for the cost of the apprentice’s training and assessment until they complete their apprenticeship. You are not responsible for their wages or employment. That is up to the business receiving the funds.

    How can I transfer levy funds?

    If you pay the apprenticeship levy you can transfer your levy funds using your apprenticeship service account on the website.

    There are two ways of making a transfer:

    • Pledge and transfer your levy funds so other businesses can apply to you for funding
    • Make a transfer to a business you know by inviting them to make a connection

    Pledging and transferring levy funds

    In your apprenticeship service account you can create a pledge and organise a transfer. For each pledge you will need to specify a maximum amount of money available for that financial year.

    If you don’t already have a business in mind that you’d like to transfer funds to, you can choose from four optional criteria that reflect your priorities for your levy transfer:

    • location
    • sector
    • type of job role
    • apprenticeship qualification level

    Your pledge will then be put on to the website, and you can anonymously post your pledge should you wish to do so.

    Once your pledge is live, you can view applications, see the contact details of the applicant, and approve or reject applications.

    Can I transfer funds to a business of my choice?

    Absolutely - if you know where you’d like your levy funds to go, all you need is their apprenticeship service account ID. In your apprenticeship service account, select ‘Finance’ then ‘manage transfer connections’.

    Just enter the other business’s apprenticeship service account ID then wait for them to accept the transfer connection. Then you’ll need to agree the apprenticeship training details and cost, when they’ve been added to the service by the business receiving a transfer.

    Want to know more about how Kaplan can help your business?

    Whilst this provides an alternative for large employers who haven’t used up their levy, we would still recommend you utilise the funds where possible in your own business to attract new talent and to reskill or upskill your current workforce.

    We’re here to help you and your business with our expertise in delivering tailored training that delivers results. Take a look at our apprenticeship programmes for more information.

  • Transforming businesses through Apprenticeships - Case Study

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Mar 04, 2022

    Paul Fellows is the Apprenticeship Manager at Marston's PLC. We asked for his thoughts on using apprenticeship training programs to upskill and transform business practices.

    Why were you initially attracted towards apprenticeships for your business?

    Any kind of further knowledge, especially in Finance and Accountancy, is essential for our business. The education our apprentices pick up clearly improves their ability to carry out their jobs. The more knowledge they gain, the better their prospects, and the better we perform as a business.

    Ultimately this is what a lot of people want: the power to become masters in their field and progress. Also, by having official recognition and becoming a member of a professional body is a win-win too.

    The business will benefit due to the accountancy and financial knowledge that they will acquire, and it keeps the Internal Audit function in a position of strength.

    - Jonathan, apprentice line manager

    How does the business specifically benefit from apprenticeships?

    Better engaged team members.

    In hospitality, retention rates are always an issue, as there is often a high transient population. However, our reports state that the apprenticeship programmes are at 75% retention. This massively bucks the trend in the hospitality industry.

    Through apprenticeships, the business can now look at retraining options for those who show a willingness to learn and expand their knowledge.

    Anna is studying to gain her accountancy qualification so she can gain an accountant position within the team. Her exams are necessary for her to have the relevant qualifications to input into our company accounts.

    - Georgina, apprentice line manager

    Do you hire directly into these positions or do they come through internally?

    We hire people into apprenticeship roles from internal and external sources.

    We’re hiring through a kickstarter scheme and support those who couldn't find roles after finishing their degree. It’s important we let people know what is out there and that we educate teachers and schools about apprenticeships as a genuine route into work.

    I can see that so many different companies don't consider, or understand, apprenticeships.

    What would you say to someone who is considering apprenticeships to train their workforce?

    Go for it. The apprenticeship route offers such a great way for people to practice what they learn and put skills, knowledge, and behaviours into practice immediately.

    Also, utilise the levy. It's such an important pot of money and unfortunately not many people use it.

    Finally, don't be put off. Apprenticeships aren’t just for trades any more. Apprenticeships can help in all fields.

    The scheme supports students in a practical way, and helps track studying and structure the timing of the training.

    - Jonathan, apprentice line manager

    How does one convince senior stakeholders?

    Get all the facts. Work with the providers, like Kaplan, to get the real detail. Speak to similar companies to get their take on how apprenticeships work and get information from people already invested in them.

    How has it helped with diversity?

    It offers more opportunities to more people. We did an impact study and found that there is greater diversity in parts of the country where apprenticeships are prevalent.

    They make the job market more accessible and the candidate pool a lot wider. Maybe more disadvantaged people don't get the same opportunities via the university route. I think apprenticeships are great for diversity.

    Not only have I watched our apprentices develop personally and professionally as they go through the programme, but they also develop a great connection with the company.

    - Georgina, apprentice line manager

    We also spoke directly to some of the apprentices who have been on the programmes…

    How have you found Kaplan’s support with these schemes?

    Helen (Apprentice):

    The support is very good when studying the modules. However, it was a tricky start as Marston’s wasn’t an approved training provider with ICAEW initially, so there were some delays with being able to register and book exams.

    Although I had a bit of a shaky start, my first meeting with a Talent Coach has now taken place so I can now move forward knowing what the process and expectations are.

    Anna (Apprentice):

    The support has been excellent from the get go. I have catch up meetings on a regular basis with my talent coach who not only guides me through the apprenticeship process, but checks in to make sure that I’m on track with my studies and exams.

    They’ve provided me with links/webinars/reports to look at and I didn’t have these resources before I was put on the apprenticeship. My talent coach is extremely friendly and approachable, making me feel comfortable and equipped going into my final year of studying.

    In terms of materials, lectures and communication how is everything going?

    Helen (Apprentice):

    For my first two units I studied Live Online. I found the lectures intense, but very useful and worked well with the training material.

    Kaplan employees have been very knowledgeable and always sign-post areas for additional help and support. I have recently started studying my third module using the OnDemand service.

    I’m using a different way to study this module, due to the extensive screen time. The units do tell you to take a break, which is very important with screen strain and to allow information to embed.

    Anna (Apprentice):

    The materials are great, because you receive a wide variety and they cater for all learning types. For me personally, and for the way I learn, the textbook, the question book, and the online 500+ question bank are the most beneficial. They give me detailed explanations that the lectures don’t have time to cover.

    Also, they allow me to practice questions over and over again to obtain a full understanding and better prepare me for the exam.

    The communication and quality so far are great and I have not had any problems. Kaplan have been good at sending email updates, exam scores, webinar invitations, and other related information in a timely manner.

    If your company would like to explore the potential benefits of onboarding apprenticeships, then please view our range of apprenticeship programmes available.

  • Boosting careers through the Credit Control Apprenticeship

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Feb 16, 2022

    Anita Foxall was looking for a way to progress her credit control career, and she found it. We find out how the CICM apprenticeship helped her prospects and professional knowledge.

    How did you come to hear about Kaplan?

    I heard about Kaplan at work, as a few of my colleagues were already doing apprenticeships.

    How has your experience been?

    Kaplan has effectively guided me through my Credit Controller L3 apprenticeship with CICM (Chartered Institute of Chartered Management).

    I found it really beneficial to have the admin and learning sections divided, as it enabled me to focus on my studying more efficiently.

    There were many details provided that I had to wade through and that was quite daunting at first. Sometimes I felt confused as to what to do. However, the regular catch ups and monitoring helped me overcome that.

    Kaplan also provided different workshops, and encouraged all learners to take part. I attended courses such as: Time Management, Presentation Skills and Business Writing. All of these sessions were excellently delivered and provided me with further development opportunities, thus enabling me to think of my daily work and how to improve myself as a worker.

    What impact has the Advanced Credit Controller L3 Apprenticeship made to your career so far?

    I had been wanting to do the Credit Controllers qualification for a long time, so when I started working at Ageas and this opportunity was finally offered to me, I didn’t think twice.

    This course gave me a broader vision of the Credit Management and Finance world, which has now led me to seek how I can progress further within the company.

    I would like to apply the knowledge I gained in the course and experience how specific tasks are performed in my company, with a view to progress to a different area within the finance department.

    As the course exposed me to different areas, which broadened my horizons and sparked new interests, I will be exploring the work that is being done by the Credit Risk and Finance Reporting teams.

    Where do you see yourself once you have finished your Apprenticeship?

    A series of regular meetings have been arranged with my senior managers, with a view to lead me into job shadowing sessions, or even possible secondments.

    I would like to experience, first hand, the knowledge and skills I acquired in the course by observing others do them in my company, and then getting engaged in them myself.

    Throughout this year I aim to establish which areas are of most interest to me and where I would like to progress. Ultimately, I would like to continue working in the finance department, possibly with a job role more oriented to analysis. I would also like to continue learning and take on new challenges at work.

    Would you recommend this Apprenticeship to others?

    I would always recommend learning to everybody, as it makes our minds richer, and richer minds make better professionals and better people.

    This particular apprenticeship benefited me personally, as I’ve been working in the credit control area for a few years now, both for small and larger companies.

    I really felt that I needed to build up a more solid foundation and broaden my knowledge and skills, and this helped with that. The different modules offered a complete overview of the credit management and business environment world, and undoubtedly filled gaps in my professional knowledge.

    Therefore, even for those who have experience in the area, it will most definitely make them a more rounded Credit Control professional, with a more open mind and a new analytical perception of the job role’s tasks.

    Interested in this apprenticeship? Visit our CICM apprenticeship page for more information.

  • Empowering apprentices to be the best they can be

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Feb 10, 2022

    We spoke to our client, HSBC UK, to find out the benefits of their Kaplan apprenticeship programme and how it helps them prepare for the future.

    What does HSBC UK’s landscape for learning and development look like in 2022?

    Our aim is to continue educating, inspiring, and empowering more people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and helping to make HSBC UK an inclusive employer of choice. We do this by spreading awareness of our early careers programmes and working collaboratively with wider areas of the bank.

    How does HSBC UK identify where apprenticeships add value?

    It starts with our Early Careers team speaking to senior managers and key stakeholders in various business areas. Their expertise and insight helps to highlight how apprenticeships would benefit the team, customers, and wider business.

    We then work together to ensure that the programme gives apprentices the opportunity to learn new skills and knowledge. It also helps them to network across the bank, establishing their own personal brand and expanding their future career opportunities.

    What impact do you hope to achieve both for the business and the apprentice?

    We value difference, with diverse ideas and perspectives helping us to innovate, manage risk, and grow our business in a sustainable way. In terms of business impact, we encourage apprentices to bring their true and authentic selves to work, in turn bringing new ideas and viewpoints into the bank.

    For the apprentices, we aim to help them be the best they can be through tailored, engaging, and relevant training delivered in a blended method by Kaplan that suits the individual.

    It is also an opportunity to join one of the world’s largest financial services organisations in a permanent role to start and grow their career, working across all business areas and functions, and developing their skills and knowledge.

    What skills gaps do you hope to fill?

    With many of our apprentices being part of a younger generation, they can bring insight into what Gen Z employees and customers want from HSBC UK.

    Soft skills such as curiosity, desire for new experiences, creativity, and resilience not only helps them as individuals to develop and adapt, but also helps HSBC UK grow and transform as new innovations develop.

    What are the business priorities for HSBC UK?

    We want to be a truly inclusive business – opening up a world of opportunity for our customers. We are bringing together the people, ideas and capital that nurture progress and growth, helping to create a better world – for our customers, our people, our investors, our communities and the planet we all share.

    Banks have a major role to play in the fight against climate change, and HSBC is committed to helping lead the transition to a global net zero economy. We’re helping our customers make a successful transition by providing world-class sustainable finance and advice, and are also working to achieve net zero in our own operations and supply chain by 2030 or sooner.

    The wellbeing of our employees has always been paramount, and continues to be a high priority in regard to the impact the pandemic has made on people’s wellbeing. We are making sure we continue to provide support, make relevant adjustments, and create a safe and flexible environment to work in.

    Apprenticeships help to achieve these priorities by offering an alternative pathway for individuals to join the organisation, whether they are school leavers, returning parents, or career changers. They help us attract a diverse demographic of talent, with different strengths and skills, that are essential for HSBC to be innovative, collaborative, and to become industry leaders, fit for the future.

    What EDI considerations do you make whilst recruiting?

    We are a disability-confident employer that supports candidates with disabilities and long term health conditions by making reasonable adjustments not just during the selection process, but throughout their career with HSBC.

    Also, prior to all campaigns, we run open events which allow candidates to hear from an apprentice regarding their journey, help them find out more about the opportunities and the role itself. We also have colleagues from disadvantaged backgrounds share their stories to help inspire others.

    From these events, we have seen an increase in applications from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as making a positive impact on social mobility.

    We also run briefing sessions at each stage of the selection process. These are open to all candidates to help them be the best they can be, and especially supports individuals who haven’t had any support and lack confidence due to their background or disadvantages.

    Quote from Mr Ian Stuart, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, HSBC UK

    “Apprenticeships add enormous value to our business and provide people who may not have gone to university with another route into a challenging and rewarding career with HSBC.

    “Apprentices bring with them many skills and behaviours – innovative thinking and ideas, motivation and determination to name but a few. Their hard work and commitment not only to their apprenticeship programme, but to their colleagues, our customers and the wider organisation is very much valued.”

    For more information about how a Kaplan apprenticeship programme can support your organisation’s goals, visit our Apprenticeships for Employers page.

  • Why your company needs an accountancy training provider

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Jan 27, 2022

    You probably know how important it is to give staff the training they need to grow professionally and become an essential part of your business. However, let us tell you why you need to add an accounting training provider to your list of resources.

    Close any skills gaps

    Ensuring that your employees have the right critical knowledge is a must. A modern-day accountant needs to know more than just numbers on spreadsheets. They need to know how data moves through automated systems, how to use analytical techniques, and deliver insights to solve problems.

    Develop and retain your staff

    With the right training, you can make sure your employees have the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Offering training can increase staff retention by 30-50%*, by making your employees happier within their role and giving them a more positive view of the company as a whole.

    Employees that complete their training can potentially be eligible for promotions and more responsibilities. This can be a great way to formalise personal development within your company, which benefits both staff and the organisation.

    Build knowledgeable teams

    Create a solid knowledge base and there will be fewer business-damaging mistakes. When employees are trained properly, they have more confidence in their decision making, and can feel more empowered within their role. They’ll also share their knowledge with team members, making the whole team knowledgeable and more confident.

    Get the right people the right qualifications

    There are many different qualifications available, from beginner accountants to experienced investment specialists. If you have employees who are just starting out, then AAT is an excellent introduction to accounting, and covers the basics of most aspects of accountancy.

    For those with more experience, ACCA, ICAEW and CIMA are the next level up, building on a base knowledge, and moving into specialisms such as tax ATT, CTA  and auditing IAP.

    We also offer a range of qualifications outside accountancy which can be great for employees looking to expand their knowledge and develop outside their current role. We can support you every step of the way with all of these qualifications, and ensure they are delivered with a consistent approach.

    Choose the right training provider

    It’s important to get the right training provider for your business. Here at Kaplan we’ve been training accountants and banking and finance professionals for over 70 years, and train over 40,000 students every year. Eight out of ten of the top accountancy firms in the UK use us to train their employees and we have amazing exam pass rates - beating national averages by a mile!

    As well as professional qualifications, we also offer a range of Apprenticeships. Ranked 8th in Rate My Apprenticeships top 50 training providers, we work in collaboration with employers and line managers to help students to succeed.

    Apprenticeships are an innovative way to develop the relevant skills and behaviours through work-based learning, whether you’re starting your career, or looking to upskill.

    By choosing Kaplan as your company’s training provider, you’re choosing experience, expertise, and dedication to success. We only succeed when our students, your employees, succeed.

    Whether you are sending us 100 students or 1 student we will support you every step of the way. Each client gets a dedicated point of contact in our Client Solutions team. Your contact will ensure your programme is delivering as expected, regularly reviewing and making sure you are getting the information you need to monitor your students progression.

    You can trust us to keep you up to date with the latest developments and any government funding available to support your programme.

    Find out what we can offer your business when it comes to financial training solutions.


  • Which apprenticeships lead to the highest paying IT jobs?

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Jan 13, 2022

    An Apprenticeship could be your springboard to a high-paying IT job. It’s an increasingly popular way to start a lucrative career in tech. And digital talent has never been more in-demand.

    The Jobs & Skills Report 2021 reveals that tech jobs make up a higher proportion of all vacancies in the UK - post-pandemic. The report also shows these jobs pay up to 50% more, on average, than all vacancies in the UK (£55,061 vs £36,422), and that figure is increasing.

    You could help fill the digital skills gap

    A recent report from the Open University shows 9 in 10 UK organisations admit to having a shortage of digital skills. But with Apprenticeship schemes now backed by government incentives such as Apprenticeship standards, companies are turning to Apprenticeships to close their digital skills gap.

    It’s a savvy business move endorsed by Jason Moss, Kaplan Apprenticeship Development Director. “Kaplan’s data and IT apprenticeship standards provide a great way of preparing businesses for the challenges of tomorrow,” says Jason. “They also have a vital role to play in helping jobseekers access the still-buoyant digital jobs market – providing opportunities for anyone to access well paid and rewarding careers.”

    What is an Apprenticeship standard?

    An Apprenticeship standard is a list of the skills, knowledge and behaviours an apprentice will need to have learnt by the end of their apprenticeship. At Kaplan, we have a range of data and IT Apprenticeships on offer, each with their own set of standards. They span all abilities, from entry level to senior management positions.

    Can anyone start an Apprenticeship?

    As long as you’re 16 or over, living in England and not already in full-time education, you can start one. It doesn’t matter if you’re a school leaver or university graduate, never worked or are seeking a career change in later life, the Apprenticeship route is open to you.

    Which Apprenticeships lead to high-paying IT jobs?

    Here’s our roundup of some of the best-paying IT jobs. Choose which interests you the most, and then discover how one of our data and IT Apprenticeships can help you progress into the role.

    Software Developer/Architect

    You’ll build and test high-quality code solutions to meet your client’s requirements.

    • Similar roles: Web Developer, Application Developer, Games Developer.

    • Average UK salary: £45,000 to £60,000 per year.*

    Business Analyst

    You’ll look at the organisation’s current capabilities, needs and technology gaps, then suggest solutions to improve internal processes and overall business performance.

    • Similar roles: Business Systems Analyst, Requirements Analyst.

    • Average UK salary: £45,079 to £65,000 per year.*

    Python Programmer

    You’ll be responsible for coding, designing, deploying, and debugging development projects, typically on the server-side (or back-end).

    • Similar roles: Python Developer, Machine Learning Engineer.

    • Average UK salary: £45,000 to £67,500 per year.*

    Big Data Engineer

    The aim is to get results from vast amounts of data, quickly. In this role, you’ll select and manage the tools and frameworks.

    • Similar roles: Data Scientist.

    • Average UK salary range: £50,000 to £85,000 per year.*

    Data Scientist

    As well as analysing data, you’ll use your skills in computer science, maths, and statistical modelling to help organisations make better decisions and plan for the future.

    • Similar roles: Machine Learning Scientist, Applications Architect.

    • Average UK salary: £55,000 to £78,000 per year.*

    DevOps Engineer

    Your job is to get software to active users frequently and safely, reducing time to market and improving the quality of digital services.

    • Similar roles: Infrastructure Engineer, Build and Release Engineer, Full Stack Developer.

    • Average UK salary: £60,000 to £80,000 per year.*

    Cloud Architect

    A cloud architect deploys and oversees an organisation’s entire cloud computing strategy.

    • Similar roles: Computer Network Architect, Solutions Architect.

    • Average salary range: £75,000 to £90,000 per year.*

    Next steps

    Explore one of our Data and IT Apprenticeships below or take a look at our vacancies page today.

    *Salary information from (November 2021)

  • Starting a Apprenticeship after graduating from Uni

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Jan 06, 2022

    Tianna Oti shares her experience of starting an Apprenticeship after the traditional higher education route, and the challenges she overcame while on this journey.

    Following my GCSEs I went on to do the International Baccalaureate (IB). That gave me exposure to a broad range of subjects because at the time I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to do.

    After attending insight days with different banks, and following a summer working in finance at Shell, I realised I wanted to do something finance and business related.

    Going to university

    I looked for degree programmes which had an accounting and finance base, and ended up studying a degree programme in audit in partnership with PwC.

    I really enjoyed it and I learnt a lot from being at PwC. Some of the skills which I've been able to apply in my current role were: adapting to different situations, embracing criticism, working within a team, leading teams, as well as the technicalities of audit.

    Ultimately, however, I found that audit wasn't for me. I wanted something that every day was different and a challenge. So upon completing my degree, I looked for jobs and programmes in finance that would allow me to learn.

    Many don’t realise they can do an Apprenticeship once they graduate

    Studying an apprenticeship after uni

    I applied for RSA, which is an insurance business. Following my application I found out that it was an Apprenticeship.

    After being successful for several different positions, I was drawn to RSA because of the Apprenticeship attachment, as well as the fact that it was a finance based role. It would allow me to study towards my accounting exams and work on my personal development.

    The programme is supported and structured, and I am also getting paid to work.

    I wish there was more awareness of Apprenticeships, especially for students at universities, because many don’t realise they can do an Apprenticeship once they graduate. I used to think it was something you just go into after secondary school or sixth form.

    Additional challenges

    What made this process a little bit more tricky was that I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in January 2020, and I got this role in September 2020.

    The months before I joined RSA were quite difficult for me because I didn't know what and how fast things were going to happen. I didn't know how aggressive my form of MS was at the time.

    I was learning how to get a grip of that at the same time as trying to apply for jobs and finish off my degree. It was quite hard but I think having the support that's offered on the Apprenticeship has given me an ounce of comfort because I know there's someone there that I can talk to or get advice from.

    There was a lot out there to help me with my disability. I had a good relationship with one of my tutors and if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have known what support I could have gotten.

    I think that's another misconception about Apprenticeships. You don't think that you're going to get that support. I didn't think I would. I thought that I would just get handed a textbook alongside working, but it was more than that.

    The support comes in multiple ways. It's not just development support, but also personal. It helps you balance your working life with any problems that you may have. It’s quite helpful when you're making the transition from university to a full time job.

    Because of COVID I studied Live Online. With my MS, this helped as well because I wasn't able to be as mobile at times and it helped that I could study from home and after work. Also all of the sessions are recorded and saved, so if you can't attend, you can always watch the recording back. I found them useful and I've passed all my exams, the first time, so far.

    Support and further opportunities

    I've been at RSA for a year now and had an amazing time. I've learned so much. The Apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to work while studying to become a chartered accountant.

    I have regular catch ups with my talent coach who assesses me on my progress, gives me a training log, and sets me regular targets. I’m also allowed to invite my managers along to meetings, so there's a real sense of openness between my manager and my Kaplan talent coach.

    I've also found the Apprenticeship to be a really good opportunity for me to learn a wide range of skills. I've been offered to attend courses such as business writing, how to analyse data and the Excel beginners, intermediate and advanced training. These are all things that help to build your confidence in your role.

    Being offered these workshops by Kaplan is amazing, because had I not been on this course I might not have those foundations. With entry level roles, you're assumed to have known these things or you learn over time.

    It's definitely made me more efficient in my work and positively reflected in my performance at RSA.

    Advice for future apprentices

    The advice I'd give someone else is just get stuck into it. If you do get onto Apprenticeship, make the most out of it and make the most out of the resources that are offered. Don't sleep on it, because there's a lot of opportunities out there that can come from doing little things, so take every single one.

    I think what you put in is what you get out as well. So put the energy into developing yourself, you've been given the opportunity of this apprenticeship so make the most out of it.

    Don't underestimate the impact. Maybe you think you don’t need to attend a little simple session like a business emails workshop. But you can learn something from it.

    My Apprenticeship has helped me to develop in so many ways.

    Find out more

    To find out more about Apprenticeships and the programmes we offer, check out our Apprenticeship pages.

  • How Talent Coaches can help Apprentices

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Dec 16, 2021

    Our Financial Services Talent Coaches play an important role in supporting the journey of our Apprenticeship learners. So what does the role entail and how does it benefit?

    Providing valuable industry knowledge

    A talent coach's industry experience means that they can really understand and help the learner. They have the ability to break down technical jargon, impart key knowledge, and ask deeper questions to make sure that quality work is being delivered and that it’s in line with the Apprenticeship standards.

    Having first hand industry knowledge for the learners to tap into with someone whilst on their Apprenticeship is really important. Whether a learner is struggling to understand something, or is unsure about a term used by a colleague, a Talent Coach can support as an impartial person.

    Through my financial services background I am able to support apprentices on a daily basis in building their industry knowledge, skills and behaviours as I draw on my own experiences.

    - Shaunna Lee - Deputy Team Manager and Talent Coach

    Identifying strengths and weaknesses

    Building relationships with each learner to understand who they are and what support they specifically need is key to helping them succeed. By knowing who each individual is they can learn what their strengths and weaknesses are and provide guidance in regards to: developing skills in the workplace, personal development, the Apprenticeship journey and the end point assessment.

    Talent Coaches are also facilitators. They build strong relationships with learners’ line managers as well as the wider Kaplan team, making sure everyone is on the same page helping to set them up for success.

    I work closely with an Expert coach on specific learning standards, who helps learners prepare work-based projects. I also communicate frequently with a Quality coach and the End Point Assessment team behind the scenes.

    - Jackie Wilkes, Talent Coach

    Reviews, assessment and feedback

    Throughout a typical day, a Talent Coach will complete progress reviews with their learners. This is when they can hear all about their progress, knowledge, skills and behaviour development and what is happening in the workplace.

    Discussing their qualification, and what is being learnt and their portfolio work, Talent Coaches are able to clarify any feedback they have provided to make sure the learner understands what is needed from them.

    The Talent Coach will also be working on portfolio marking. This work involves reading through the learners portfolio submissions, assessing them against the standards and providing feedback to help them fully meet the learning outcomes of the Apprenticeship.

    My day job involves meeting with the apprentices at critical moments of the journey, critiquing their submissions of their Plans and Reports, to ensure they meet the criteria and produce a professional document that aligns to the learning outcomes.

    - Iain Groves, Expert Coach - Financial Services

    Staying on top of industry changes

    Alongside the development of learners, Talent Coaches continue their own personal development. This continuous development is essential when it comes to improving the service they provide when trying to remain up to date in the ever changing world of education, as well as changes in Banking and Finance.

    Prior to joining the team I did not have any formal coaching or assessment qualifications but have been given excellent support to gain these additional vocational skills to bolster my ‘lived’ experience in Banking and Finance.

    - David Ellis, Expert Coach - Financial Services

    Find out more

    We are extremely proud of all of our Talent Coaches and their role in supporting our learners to succeed in their Apprenticeships. Find out how our Talent Coaches helped a whole cohort to gain an incredible amount of exam success, with some of the feedback received directly from the learners.

    This blog was sourced from Kate Steart, Deputy Team Manager and Talent Coach, after speaking to a variety of our Talents Coaches and Expert Coaches.

  • WorldSkills UK National Champions winners are revealed

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Dec 01, 2021

    On 15th November our 4 finalist teams battled it out in the Accounting Technician WorldSkills UK Final. Find out which team managed to secure first place.

    During the Qualifiers, Riverside College, Lloyds Team 2, City of Glasgow College, and LIFO the Party (Bridgend College), all gained a place in the Accounting Technician Final. To prepare them ahead of time, a development day was run in October where the teams were given the knowledge and tools to help them succeed.

    On 15th November, at MediaCity in Manchester, each team arrived ready to work hard and tackle the challenge ahead of them. They were given four hours to complete a case study and tasks, set at a level slightly higher than what they are currently studying. This required them to demonstrate their talent, knowledge, and skills within the set time.

    The tasks didn’t just focus on ‘number-crunching’ and core principles like the previous stages, but instead looked at where the role of accountancy is going. They had to be more strategically minded and provide business consultancy.

    It was fantastic to see all the teams come together to compete face to face. There was a great atmosphere and it was inspiring to see each team thrive under the competitive pressure. Every one of our finalists can be extremely proud to have made it to the first ever final of the Accountancy Technician competition.

    The results were revealed via a virtual awards ceremony on Friday 26th November, with the apprentices watching remotely to find out which team had won.

    The results

    1st place - Lloyds Team 2

    2nd - LIFO the Party (Bridgend College)

    3rd - Riverside College

    City of Glasgow College fell just short of a medal place, but can still be very proud of themselves.

    All of the teams competed brilliantly and it was great to see the effort put into their final presentations which were very impressive. This year’s top 3 teams will receive their medals to commemorate their fantastic achievements.

    A very big congratulations again to the winners Lloyds Team 2 who may even get the chance to compete internationally at the 47th WorldSkills Competition, due to take place in Lyon 2024.

    You can watch the virtual results ceremony now, or to find out more about the competition check out the WorldSwkills UK website.

  • Kaplan wins at the Learning Tech Awards for Best Learning Game

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Nov 26, 2021

    We have been awarded the Gold prize at the Learning Technologies 2021 Awards for a business game, which helped onboard ‘new to bank’ apprentices.

    This recognition is for our work with Lloyds Banking Group, and education tech company Interpretive, in our development and execution of an apprenticeship support game.

    Given the challenges that our learners were presented with last year (starting in the workplace during a lockdown) LBG’s latest cohort would not receive traditional face to face inductions, nor classroom skills training - so an online induction was necessary.

    Our business game was borne out of a need to keep apprentices engaged, connected, and make their first few weeks enjoyable, whilst being aligned with LBG’s values

    The game

    We designed an extension of one of Interpretive’s online commercial challenge games to help develop the skills and behaviours of the relevant apprenticeship standards.

    Within the game, apprentices competed for: the highest customer satisfaction, the highest profit, creativity and innovation, and best presentation, at a final awards session. Each team’s decisions affected other teams e.g. price, promotion, and their position within their market.

    This had a positive effect on the apprentices’ engagement, skills and development, and retention.

    The Award

    The impact and effectiveness of this new game clearly resonated with the Learning Technology Award panel. They commented:

    The judges felt that this entry provided a holistic solution with the use of numerous modalities, putting a serious game at the heart of a programme that clearly engaged and enabled the learners.

    - Learning Technology Awards website 

    The game offered up a simulation that facilitated meaningful opportunities to build the real-life relationships we were looking for.

    It created a genuine buzz amongst the apprentices and had a positive impact on their confidence, skills and creativity, resulting in measurable benefits for the business.

    We are delighted to be recognised for adapting to the changes our learners faced, and hopefully this reflects that they are at the heart of everything we do.

    For more information about the awards please visit the Learning Technologies website.

  • It’s raining distinctions for our apprentices

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Nov 05, 2021

    Despite the challenges that come with being a Junior Management Consultant Apprentice, many of our recent cohort excelled. Find out how they exceeded expectations.

    In 2019 a group of 25 PwC learners started their journey, undertaking the Level 4 Junior Management Consultant Apprenticeship. This career path is highly demanding and often requires students to go above and beyond.

    Throughout the apprenticeship, learners must put the skills and knowledge they are acquiring into practice, and embed them into their daily role. Our Talent Coaches support the apprentices at every stage of their journey, helping to draw out the learners’ full potential.

    The Junior management Consultant programme is just one of the examples of how PwC are raising the standards within Industry through the innovative design model and collaboration with industry leading organisations.

    - Tam Choudhury and Priti Miyangar (PWC)

    18 distinctions

    After putting their skills and knowledge into practice, 7 of the apprentices acquired a pass and a whopping 18 secured distinctions. This is a fantastic achievement from all the learners, and a testament to the support they received from their Talent Coaches.

    To complete the apprenticeship learners must take part in the End Point Assessment (EPA), which is no mean feat. They must produce a showcase portfolio which is built over several months evidencing their application of learnings in their workplace.

    Following the submission of the portfolio, they will take part in an interview and presentation with a third party assessor. This forces them to return the knowledge and skills they have learnt and apply it within the set task, proving their competency.

    Throughout the apprenticeship, Talent Coaches work to understand each learner and their unique challenges, tailoring their support to each individual to get the best out of each and everyone. This is particularly important during the EPA when learners must go into depth about the subject and make sure there is sufficient information to support their portfolio.

    The key to success

    It is a combination of hard working learners and supportive Talent Coaches that led to this success. Helen Daglish was one of the accomplished Talent Coaches supporting this cohort:

    "As a Talent Coach, I have found it a very rewarding experience. The students were all very committed to doing well, both in their technical qualification and the End point assessment process. Cannot wait to support the next cohort."

    Helen Daglish - Kaplan Talent Coach

    Not only were the learners committed to doing well, but Helen was committed to help every single one of them succeed. Here is what some of them had to say:

    “I felt comfortable reaching out to Helen any time of the day and she would always make time for me. She was very supportive and I felt that it took pressure off me.

    “At times when the deadline is approaching for something, Helen would ring me or send me a polite reminder notice. It really showed that she cared for my success.

    One key point that I feel is important to mention about Helen is her ability to explain things at its simplest form. This was super helpful, especially as I was writing my reflective statements.”

    Vitality - PWC Apprentice

    “Having successfully passed all of my exams by December 2020 I was in a great position to enter the Gateway review and commence the end point assessment (EPA). However, I suddenly got very ill where both my physical and mental health suffered greatly.

    “Despite this setback, with the help and support of the wonderful PwC PQ team and Kaplan leads, we were able to construct a new timetable that allowed me to complete the EPA on time.

    “It was then up to me to put in the hours and work hard to complete it. This simply would not have been possible without the exceptional support and guidance from Helen, my talent coach.

    “She went above and beyond to ensure I was able to achieve this. She was a kind and reassuring voice and found solutions to any and every query or worry that I had!

    “It truly was a proud moment to receive an email from Kaplan detailing that I had achieved a Distinction in my portfolio. Helen and I had built a fantastic and authentic relationship during our time working together and were both absolutely thrilled with the outcome.”

    Abbie - PWC Apprentice

    We are extremely proud of all of the learners and Talent Coaches, and congratulate them on their hard earned success.

    Interested in Apprenticeships?

    Whether you’re a student wanting to progress in your career, or an employer with staff you’d like to nurture, an Apprenticeship could be the right option for you.

    Find out more about our apprenticeships.

  • Why we are launching a Data Analytics SAS® apprenticeship

    by Katy Thomason-Stewart | Jul 07, 2022

    We’ve recently launched a Data Analyst powered by SAS® apprenticeship, designed to provide learners with modern analytical skills and the ability to analyse trends through data visualisation.

    We know it’s a great apprenticeship, but why? And why would someone want to do it?

    The most popular technology

    We have other data analysis programmes that use other popular technologies, but SAS is in the top three tools that analysts use. It’s always going to move with technological advances and give your organisation the insights it needs. By training your employees to use the platform effectively, you’re making sure they have the right tools and knowledge to really benefit your business.

    Collaborative working

    We’ve partnered with SAS so we can include special content. We use the content created by them and we deliver it around the apprenticeship framework. Our tutors have also gone through a training regime to ensure they are as proficient and skilled as possible in order to deliver it effectively.

    Having this specific SAS pathway for our Data Analyst apprenticeship means it’s not just a one size fits all solution, it’s very niche to the apprentices’ day job.

    - Beth Todd, Kaplan

    Give employees the right skills and the right tools

    By training your employees to obtain and analyse data, you’ll be able to see what’s going on in every aspect of your organisation. From sales reports, to web traffic, having the right skills to analyse data can give you enormous insight to trends, and foresight for potential risks.

    This apprenticeship is typically 15 months of learning, with three months for their end-point-assessment, to ensure they are fully competent. It starts with Excel skills, which are key for data analysts, and then goes into data visualisation and statistics using SAS. Your apprentice can even choose to take additional exams during their learning and become fully SAS certified, outside of the apprenticeship qualification.

    The way to unlock the power of SAS is through people

    - Jason Moss, Kaplan

    Why SAS?

    SAS technology is used across a whole range of industries, for example, a retail company can use data to understand the full customer journey. Things like loyalty cards provide data on spending habits and purchase information, which retailers can then use to optimise the customer experience. In the Financial Services sector, data is utilised to decide whether an individual is suitable for certain products like loans or mortgages. And they can also use this to recommend other products and services, so if someone has a banking account with them, they may also be a good fit for a new mortgage customer.

    Every single industry and organisation will have analytics involved somewhere

    - Nigel Armstead, SAS

    Why a Kaplan and SAS apprenticeship?

    Kaplan is the only commercial organisation in the UK and Ireland to deliver the SAS apprenticeship as an approved training provider. With SAS bringing their content, expertise, and support to the programme, including access to an official learning consultant. There are a range of training resources above and beyond what is included in the standard courses.

    Kaplan apprentices are also supported throughout their apprenticeship by tutors, academic support, SenCo coordinators, and line managers - they’ll get the knowledge they need, essential work experience, and a team of people focussed on their success.

    By working with Kaplan, SAS users can leverage years of apprenticeship experience and their tutors’ qualified skills

    - Nigel Armstead, SAS

    Interested in the Data Analyst powered by SAS Apprenticeship?

    If you think this apprenticeship would be the right fit for your organisation, have a look at our programme page for more information.

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