Apprenticeship Discussion Groups with Emma O'Dell

Over the summer months, BPP held five discussion forums to establish best practice from employers on how they are tackling various operational challenges surrounding apprenticeships including;

  • Engaging existing staff to apply for apprenticeships
  • 20% off the job development time requirement and the positive solutions around this
  • Reward strategy for apprentices of all levels and population types
  • How to programme manage effectively to ensure apprentices complete their programme
  • Redesigning early career programmes to apprenticeships

The sessions were attended by employers and BPP clients from across a variety of sectors spanning; Financial Services, Professional Services, Legal, Health and Public sectors. With such an employer mix, there was a strong debate with differing views and approaches that came to light. How to obtain buy-in for and practically manage the 20% off the job requirement was as expected, one of the hottest topics being discussed.

BPP also ran these sessions is to identify new areas of focus for BPP’s next installment of our Apprenticeship Levy Research (in conjunction with Group GTI and Trendence) launching in the Autumn. It is important that this survey tackles the challenges employers are facing in respect of apprenticeships and the levy to make this a useful market benchmarking tool.

Emma O’Dell, Head of Financial Services Apprenticeships and Strategic partnerships, said ‘ the discussion forums are really important to us at this time in the apprenticeship space, not only are we enabling employers to discuss the challenges they are facing, we are going through the motions of scoping our second phase of Apprenticeship Levy research. We are always being asked by clients to  share market insight and best practice, sessions and research like these help us to consult more effectively in this space.

Keep up to speed with our upcoming events and progress of our second Apprenticeship Levy research report on our insights section of BPP’s employer page. And, if there are any pertinent topics you would like to see included in the research, please let us know by sending us an email at

Areas of focus within the sessions:

Engaging existing staff to apply for apprenticeships:

  • The importance of educating and obtaining buy-in on apprenticeships across key internal stake holder groups.
  • Whether to create an internal apprenticeship brand or not
  • What the internal engagement journey and awareness campaign could look like
  • What toolkits and for which stakeholders might be needed to support internal attraction
  • How to use successful plots to rive future growth of apprenticeships at an organisational level

20% off the job development time:

  • What it is
  • Why it is important
  • How its calculated
  • How to positively position, dispel any myths and brand it internally to key internal stakeholder groups
  • How to successfully deliver on it without impacting the wider business

Reward strategy for apprentices:

  • How to reward apprentices (starting salary, salary progression, bonus and non-financial incentives) and the impact of.
  • Population type (new hires v existing staff)
  • Career level (entry level v senior management)
  • Geographic location
  • How headcount is funded (centrally v local team)
  • Contract type
  • Type and length of programme

Effective programme management to ensure apprentices complete their apprenticeship:

  • Importance of having a strong programme team in place to manage cohorts
  • Need for an organisational wide engagement communications plans across all stages of the apprenticeship lifecycle
  • Impact of HR and contractual policies, performance management and talent management processes
  • Positive engagement and support of apprentice line managers

Redesigning early career programmes to apprenticeships:

  • Design options when repositioning early career programmes to apprenticeships
  • Whether or not to rebrand early career programmes to apprenticeships at schools or universities
  • How to engage and educate schools and universities and early career populations on your new proposition
  • What to watch out for – considerations, risks and practicalities of rebadging early career programmes as apprenticeships.

To speak to one of our levy experts then visit our meet the team page here