BCF blog – Apprenticeship getting you down? Read this.

luxury yacht maintenance at the marina

In my four years at BCF, I’ve managed to wrap my head around some pretty complex topics – paint recycling, Brexit, and REACH to name a few. But I’ll admit that there is one area that still boggles my mind – and that’s the UK’s apprenticeship system!

In meeting more and more BCF members though, I take some comfort in the fact that I’m not alone in my confusion. The apprenticeship reforms that are now in place across the country have created challenges for multi-national and SMEs and a lot of questions remain. The process involved in taking on apprentices, collecting and using funds through the apprenticeship levy and accessing levy funds as an SME can leave some daunted by what seems to be a confusing and complex landscape. A lot of BCF member feedback is that they don’t have time or resource to make sense of it all.

In light of all this, this month we officially launched our new apprenticeship service, which ensures that the complexities and associated administration involved in managing apprentices, and making use of levy funds, is taken care of. Our service has been purpose built by the Apprenticeship Management Group (AMG) and offers a single-point solution for apprenticeship management and apprenticeship levy support.

The BCF’s service can be used for both your new apprentices and existing employees you’re looking to upskill.

The service offers a range of benefits, including:

  • Advertising, filtering, phone interviewing, shortlisting, ‘eligibility to work’ checks of candidates
  • Organisation of interviews
  • Drafting +issuing employment contracts and support documentation
  • One to one guidance and support for both apprentice and manager
  • Comprehensive payroll services
  • HR support
  • Legal overview
  • In-year performance management and review
  • Levy management service to help you make use of funds, use your digital account, or gain access to funds if you’re not collecting them

In other words – they’ll do everything for you.

This service offers coatings specific apprenticeships with two key features:

Coatings specific standards

As part of the BCF’s apprenticeship service, members can access coatings specific apprenticeship standards created by Cogent Skills in partnership with BCF. You can download full details of the standards available on our website: www.coatings.org.uk/apprenticeships

Coatings specific coursework

Another key benefit of our service is the option to introduce coatings specific modules from the Coatings Training Institute (CTI) to fulfil the coursework requirements of an apprenticeship. Many BCF members have students enrolled in CTI already, the new apprenticeship service could cover the cost of the modules through the use of the apprenticeship levy. There are over 60 coatings and inks specific modules, the choice of courses can be tailored for the specific needs of the apprentice.

The costs to your company –

The service will cost 10% of the apprentice salary, plus a 10% contribution to training costs is applicable.

The cost of the levy management service is £45 per month for each apprentice managed via AMG, plus the 10% contribution to training costs if applicable.

One more thing –

Something members may not know, is that apprenticeships now cover a wide variety of roles – from technical positions to marketing, finance and more general business departments. Find a few examples here:





We hope that BCF members will take advantage of this service and get in touch with any questions or feedback. To get started, email [email protected] or ring Tricia Henry on 07990 002 072 or Michelle McCutcheon on 07990 002 071. There’s also further information about the service on our website at www.coatings.org.uk/apprenticeships.


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