From April 2017 the government’s apprenticeship levy will take effect, and any organisation with an annual wage bill of more than £3m will be required to contribute 0.5% of this amount in the form of a tax. UCFB is committed to working with the football, sport and events industries to help organisations maximise their levy investments, by providing flexible, relevant and employer-centric apprenticeship programmes to tackle the challenges faced by sports organisations today.

Click on each of the expandable headings below to find out more about apprenticeships at UCFB. Alternatively, if you are a UK employer and would like more information about UCFB apprenticeships, please email or call 0203 319 4973.

The changing face of apprenticeships+

Apprenticeships have a long-standing history in the UK and, for most people, they represent on-the-job learning of a practical ‘trade’, combined with off-the-job training, usually on a day-release model – a perception which is now changing. An apprenticeship is essentially a job with a structured programme of training and/or study which is applied in the workplace, and what many people may not appreciate is that apprenticeships can now be applied to almost any profession at any point in an employee’s career.

The recent introduction of higher and degree apprenticeships has created the opportunity for an apprentice to attain a degree, and often a professional qualification, as a result of their apprenticeship programme.

This radical development, supported by the government, has naturally opened up opportunities for apprenticeships in ‘professional’ roles that would ordinarily require a degree (or equivalent) or where the skills required to perform the role to a high standard lend themselves to degree-level learning. As a result, apprenticeships are also now just as valuable a tool to upskill/re-skill current employees, especially where hiring high numbers of new apprentices is not feasible, and we see this as the major area of opportunity for organisations in the sports industry.

But why has the UK government chosen to revolutionise apprenticeships now? Research from the UK Commission for Skills and Employment recently outlined the following key findings:

  • UK businesses are now facing a huge skills gap at high levels
  • UK productivity output per hour is 21% lower than the average across the rest of the G7
  • Time wasted by poor management has been estimated to be costing the economy as much as £19 billion a year

The government’s initiative aims to tackle these findings, overhauling the way that apprenticeship frameworks (now standards) are developed, now placing the power firmly in the hands of the employer to ensure that all apprenticeships meet specific challenges faced by business. Additionally, from April 2017 the apprenticeship levy comes into effect, which will see all organisations with an annual wage bill of more than £3 million contribute to funding apprenticeships, irrespective of whether an organisation chooses to claim back their levy funds to upskill their workforce or bring new blood into the organisation.

What is the apprenticeship levy?+

From April 2017 the government’s apprenticeship levy will take effect, and any organisation with an annual wage bill of more than £3m will be required to contribute 0.5% of this amount in the form of a tax. However, your business can claim back this amount into a digital account, plus an additional 10% ‘top up’ from the government, if these funds are used to train apprentices using a government approved training provider. This means that every £1 levied will be worth £1.10 in your business’s digital account and provides an opportunity which UK businesses simply cannot ignore.

The apprenticeship levy should not be seen by organisations as a burden. Businesses that embrace this new scheme have the potential to not only address current skills deficits but to completely redesign their organisations to ensure that their workforce are fully prepared with the skills required to meet the future demands of their industry.

UCFB is committed to working with the football, sport and events industries to help you maximise your levy investment, by providing flexible, relevant and employer-centric apprenticeship programmes to tackle the challenges faced by sports organisations today.

In order to calculate your organisation’s levy liability, you would have to take the following steps:

  1. Work out what your total pay bill is
  2. Work out what 0.5% of your total pay bill is
  3. Subtract the £15,000 allowance

For example, an employer with an annual pay bill of £5,000,000 will be subject to an annual liability of £10,000 via the levy:

  • Levy sum: 0.5% x £5,000,000 = £25,000
  • Subtracting levy allowance: £25,000 – £15,000 = £10,000 annual levy payment

If you would like to find an estimate for your potential levy contribution, please click here.

What are the benefits as an employer?+

Aside from the compelling nature of the levy, the benefits of apprenticeships can be significant for your business if approached in the right way. Just a few of the benefits and capabilities investing in apprenticeships can provide include:

  • Upskilling current staff
    • High level skills of your organisation’s current workforce can be developed in areas where gaps or underperformance has been identified. As the demands of the industry shift, apprenticeships can be used as a strategic tool to meet a fundamental business challenge.
  • Attracting new talent into the business
    • Higher and degree apprenticeships allow businesses to recruit from a growing talent pool of individuals who are looking to pursue this attractive combination of education and employment, enabling you to bring fresh ideas into the business.
  • Relevant, contextualised and practical development
    • Apprentices are awarded the opportunity to immediately apply what they learn and, from April 2017, apprentices will be undertaking apprenticeships which have been designed by businesses. This ensures that the skills, knowledge and behaviours that are taught are relevant to that business and address the key challenges being faced.
  • Loyalty, commitment and retention
    • Retention of top talent is an important challenge faced by organisations. Research from the National Apprenticeship Service has shown that 80% of companies who invest in apprentices report a significant increase in employee retention.
  • Professionalisation of your commercial operations
    • Investing in apprenticeships, particularly at higher levels whereby the apprenticeship is linked to academic and professional qualifications, can significantly increase the overall professionalism of your commercial operations. This can lead to a sustainable high level of performance with cutting-edge knowledge and an understanding of the skills required to be a world-class leader and manager in any business.

Why choose UCFB?+

UCFB, a world first in higher education, is committed to providing the opportunity for current and future sport business professionals to gain on-the-job training and unique, in-house teaching at the very top level in the football, sport and events industries.

Our close links to the football industry, which includes partnerships with The Football Association and League Managers Association, makes UCFB the outstanding choice in the education and training of individuals in the unique arena of the football business. Your apprentices will gain regular access to the UCFB community and our partners, which includes a high calibre of teaching that will upskill them to go above and beyond the demands of their jobs.

Choosing the right training provider to meet your organisational objectives is crucial. By investing your levy with UCFB, the apprenticeship training provision and benefits are many and varied:

  • Direct relevance to your business as informed by the industry
    • With three world-class campuses, leading partnerships and a deeply embedded position within the football, sport and events industries, UCFB has extensive knowledge and understanding of the demands placed on football and sport businesses. UCFB apprenticeships have been designed in collaboration with the industry to meet the distinctive challenges faced by this unique sector and as such, will be applicable to tackle genuine challenges faced by your business.
    • UCFB offers the unique opportunity to study a traditional academic subject within the context of a subject which your current and potential future staff have a personal interest and passion for. Such an approach drives engagement, facilitates achievement and enables us to ensure that learning resonates, is deeply embedded and that the desired change in behaviour happens and, most importantly for your business, endures.
  • Flexible, employer-centric approach
    • UCFB will work with you to design a delivery model that best suits the requirements of your business. UCFB can offer the option of face-to-face delivery centres in the north and south of the UK, in and around the iconic Wembley Stadium, London, and the state-of-the-art Etihad Stadium, Manchester. UCFB’s flexible approach will also consider campus-based vs online/blended delivery methods and short, regular interventions vs longer, less frequent ‘study blocks’ to manage workflow around your peak periods. Training can also take place at your workplace as part of UCFB’s flexible delivery.
    • UCFB will help you to attract the best talent to your business, and assist in analysing your current and future skills needs to identify the areas in which you can maximise the effectiveness of the levy for your business.
  • The UCFB Complementary Curriculum
    • UCFB apprenticeships will afford your staff access to UCFB’s unique Complementary Curriculum, an optional additional service which provides various opportunities for professional and personal development alongside the academic curriculum, helping to create fully rounded sport business professionals. UCFB can provide targeted opportunities appropriate to the needs of the apprentices, which can include:
      • Access to best-in-class industry guest speakers
      • Additional qualifications in areas such as IT, digital marketing, public speaking, vlogging, accounting, languages and law.
      • Additional personal development in areas such as crisis management, media engagement, negotiation and sport sponsorship.
      • Exceptional networking opportunities.

What apprenticeships does UCFB support?+

UCFB’s approach has been to work with and listen to the football, sport and events industries to understand where the most development value can be provided and to help you maximise your levy investment. Through listening to our industry network and utilising the knowledge of our leading team of experts, we have developed and are continuing to develop programmes in areas including:

      • Operational Football Club Management
      • Digital Marketing
      • PR & Media
      • Stadium & Event Operations
      • Football Club Leadership
      • Cyber Security

UCFB will continue to work closely with the employers from the industry to develop additional, bespoke football apprenticeships.

Each of the apprenticeship standards will be supported by UCFB and will be designed in collaboration with employers to address the universal challenges that businesses are currently faced with and, crucially, UCFB’s best-in-class provision has been developed to focus on the challenges relevant to the football, sport and events industries.