Apprenticeships

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Broader opportunities

There has never been a better time to think about how apprenticeships can work for pensions firms, and support the needs of your organisation. The PMI is keen to help employers to do that.

To support apprenticeships for the Pensions Industry, the PMI has been central to some of the exciting new apprenticeship developments in Workplace Pensions. The PMI has worked in collaboration with a number of employers and other professional bodies, as part of ‘trailblazer’ groups to create two new apprenticeships: the entry Level 3 Workplace Pensions Administrator or Consultant apprenticeship and the Higher Level 6 Financial Services Professional apprenticeship, which has a tailored Pensions pathway. As these new apprenticeships are designed by employers and other industry experts you can be confident that they have a great fit for your job roles, providing a new entry route and progression pathways for the profession.

The great news is that both these new apprenticeships include the relevant PMI professional qualifications, so you can use the apprenticeships to deliver the qualifications you need – using apprenticeship funding to pay for those (either from Government or via your apprenticeship Levy).

As well as being the awarding organisation for these aligned qualifications, the PMI are also approved as an end-point assessment organisation for the Workplace Pensions Consultant/Administrator apprenticeship. This adds another dimension of professional standing and rigour to the apprenticeship, and places the PMI in a great position to support your organisation’s apprenticeship journey.

Discover more about the detail of these new apprenticeships and the PMI qualifications included here:

Workplace Pensions (Administrator or Consultant)

Financial Services Professional

For employers

A way of attracting and growing new talent.

What are apprenticeships?

Simply put apprenticeships are a real job with structured training lasting at least 12 months.

An apprentice is employed like any other member of staff (for at least the duration of their apprenticeship), and is supported and trained by both their employer and an approved apprenticeship training provider.

The introduction of new apprenticeship standards has put employers at the forefront of the design of standards, so new standards are occupationally specific – based on real job roles, and define the minimum knowledge, skills and behaviours required for that occupation. Meaning that apprentices are trained to do the jobs you need them to do. To further add rigour and quality to apprenticeships the apprentice’s competence is tested at the end of their apprenticeship by an independent assessor. For example the PMI is an approved End Point-Assessment organisation for the Workplace Pensions standard.

 

Why apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are becoming an increasingly popular recruitment strategy – a way of attracting and growing new talent. But employers are also using them as a catalyst to review and re-design their whole workforce development strategy – in many cases driven by the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, or the attraction of government funding.

 

Funding an apprenticeship

Apprenticeships can be a cost-effective way of training new and existing staff due to the funding offered by the government.  This can include offsetting your current qualification costs.

Apprenticeship Levy

The introduction of the apprenticeship Levy in 2017 has given firms a strong incentive to use this approach to support their business.

Since April 2017, businesses with a pay bill of over £3million have had to pay an apprenticeship Levy of 0.5% of their UK payroll.  Those who pay the levy are able to use the English proportion of the contributions accrued to pay for approved apprenticeships. This is paid via an online account. Levy payers also receive a further 10% government top-up to their own contribution into that account. Levy funds are paid and calculated on a monthly basis.  Where there are unspent in an employers apprenticeship account after 24 months they are removed for use elsewhere in the apprenticeship system (i.e. funds entering the account in April 2017 will be available in the account until April 2019)

If you are Levy payer you must ensure you declare your levy contribution via HMRC, and ensure you have registered for your online apprenticeship service ‘account’ so you can access and spend your funds on apprenticeships.

Levy payers can:

 

Non-Levy Payers

Non-levy payers can receive a government contribution of 90% of the cost of the apprenticeship (employers with under 50 staff recruiting a 16-18 apprentice receive 100%). This level of government funding provides a fantastic supported platform to introduce apprenticeships in your business.

For example, if you are looking to provide development opportunities for your Workplace Pensions Administrators or Consultants, progressing them to more senior Pension Consultant or Pensions Manger roles, you could use the Level 6 Financial Services Professional apprenticeship to do that. Government would contribute up to £16,200 to the cost of that apprenticeship, with the cost to the employer of only £1800. This would include delivery of PMI’s Advanced Diploma in Retirement Provision, leading to PMI Associate Membership and APMI designation for that individual.

For both Levy and non-Levy payers, the government will also contribute additional funding in certain circumstances, such as for apprentices aged 16-18 or those who have previously been in care. This involves a further £1000 employer incentive.

Relevant apprenticeships

Find out more about pensions specific apprenticeships.

Workplace Pensions Apprenticeship – level 3

An entry-level apprenticeship standard for workplace pensions consultants or administrators – the standard has a core and options format allowing you to select the specialist requirements for either Administrators or Consultants.  The full details of the standard can be found here. This page also contains a link to the assessment plan for the standard, which provides further detail on how the apprentice will be assessed. 

 

Financial Services Professional Apprenticeship - level 6

This is a core and options apprenticeship that covers a broad range of occupations within financial services, and workplace pensions is one of 6 specialist options.  The Pension option aligns to such roles as Pensions Consultants, Senior Administrators or Pensions Managers. The full details of the standard can be found here. 

 

What PMI qualifications are included as part of these apprenticeships?

These apprenticeship standards include the following PMI qualifications (or parts thereof):

  • Award in Pensions Essentials
  • Retirement Provision Certificate
  • Certificate in Pension Scheme Member Guidance
  • Certificate in Pensions Essentials
  • Certificate in Pensions Administration
  • Certificate in Pension Calculations
  • Diploma in Pensions Administration
  • Advanced Diploma in Retirement Provision

 

Broader apprenticeships opportunities

Whilst the Pensions industry specific standards will be of keen interest to firms, there are also a wide range of other apprenticeships on offer. When considering your business’ requirements and ‘hotspots’ discussed above, you should look right across your organisation, from entry-level roles to senior positions (with apprenticeships spanning from level 2, right the way up to level 7 which is equivalent to a masters). This should include non-core areas of the business  - for example there are apprenticeships in HR, Marketing, IT, Finance and Internal Audit, plus generic leadership and management apprenticeships that could span all of those business areas.

A full list of apprenticeship standards are available on the Institute for Apprenticeships website, where you can search by occupational area, key word and level.

Useful links

Find out more about the standard.

End-point Assessment

PMI has been approved as the End-point Assessment Organisation for the Workplace Pensions Trailblazer Apprenticeship.

End-point Assessors

PMI has produced detailed Guidance document for End-point Assessors. A summary is also available for prospective assessors.

For training providers

This section contains further information for training providers who currently, or wish to, deliver the workplace pensions apprenticeship.