On a personal level, Steffan had always wanted to run his own business and work for himself. Before taking the plunge, he was really fortunate to work for some excellent people and previous fast growth 50 owners. He learned a huge amount from them and those experiences have served him well and gave him the confidence to start Skillcert. From a business perspective, he had worked in the apprenticeship sector for 10 years before starting Skillcert and was always surprised at the lack of focus that was placed on an employers needs during engagement of learners. He felt that the introduction of the apprenticeship ‘levy’ would result in new employers coming to the marketplace with a greater focus on the employers return on investment.

Success Factor

The introduction of the levy has seen several multi-national employers entering the apprenticeship marketplace for the first time. Employers are buying specialist provision and Skillset has invested heavily in ensuring that it has a team of experts delivering this provision to meet buyer demands. There has also been a shift in perception towards apprenticeships, particularly with the introduction of degree apprenticeships into a wide range of new sectors. Apprenticeships are now seen as valid alternatives to University degrees for a much wider group of employers and candidates. Skillset also saw a large increase in demand for its offender management programme as employers were looking at ways in which to widen their recruitment pool to meet staff demand/shortages post Brexit. In addition, clients are now also placing far greater emphasis on their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) requirements as they often now appear as contractual KPIs in supply tenders and supply chain arrangements. These include targets on often includes recruitment targets on offenders and apprentices which has supported demand for Skillset’s offering.

The Future

Skillcert is currently preparing and supporting employers for the introduction of traineeships programmes in England which will involve the setting up of regional hubs to support young people into their first apprenticeship. It will also be looking to diversify apprenticeship offering to meet ongoing client demand including supporting clients with coverage in Scotland which will to allow the firm to deliver an aligned recruitment and leaderships and development approach on a cross border basis.