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South Tyneside Homes public sector Apprenticeship target survey response 2021

As a public sector body with more than 250 staff in England, we have a target to employ an average of at least 2.3 percent of our staff as new apprentice starts over the period of 1 April 2017 - 31 March 2021.

Survey responses

Number of employees working on 31 March 2020

632

Number of employees working on 31 March 2021

637

Number of employees who started working between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021

45

Number of apprentices who were working on 31 March 2020

32

Number of apprentices who were working on 31 March 2021

27

Number of new apprentices between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021, including new hires and existing employees who started an apprenticeship

10

Full time equivalents (optional)

616

Additional questions

What actions have you taken this year to meet the target? How do these compare to the challenges experienced in the previous year?

South Tyneside Homes has a well-established apprenticeship programme which has run for several years and forms part of succession planning arrangements.

The Company has previously exceeded its public sector targets since 2017 however due to the COVID-19 pandemic it has not for 2020/2021. 

In addition to new apprenticeship starts, the Company has reviewed requests for internal development against apprenticeship standards and implemented these where possible.

They have also taken the following actions:

  • The Skills Team organised a week of activities during national apprentice week to promote apprenticeships and South Tyneside Homes as an employer. 
  • The recruitment process was simplified due to social distancing restrictions as a result of COVID-19.

The drop in the number of actions taken to meet the target has been due to the home working directive and the additional pressure on services due to COVID.

What challenges have you faced this year in your efforts to meet the target? How do these compare to the challenges experienced in the previous year?

The biggest challenge has been the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as they have been;   

  • Unable to train additional employees to be apprentice ambassadors.
  • Unable to attend jobs fairs/school recruitment events with current apprentices/managers to promote apprenticeship opportunities and South Tyneside Homes as an employer.
  • Unable to participate in any 'Ask the Employer' live chat events, which usually give students and parents the opportunity to discuss apprenticeships and South Tyneside Homes as an employer.

Another area which still limits the number of apprenticeships which can be offered is the 20% off the job training for certain apprenticeships which do not require a day release format.

There are concerns which have been raised about the impact on productivity within services to enable 20% off the job training and this also reduces the number of employees within teams who can undertake apprenticeships at the same time especially in small very teams.

Also, the cost of the new construction standards are significantly higher than the previous frameworks and this has impacted on how many apprentices the company can take without additional funding into the levy.

How are you planning to ensure you meet the target in the future?

The Company will continue with its annual apprenticeship programme which is reviewed against service needs.

Requests for development from existing employees will be reviewed against apprenticeship standards and agreed where possible.