Insights / Employers - 7 minutes

Upskill your Employees to Improve Retention and Job Satisfaction - Thomas Meadows, Newcastle University

It’s no lie that employers are faced with an array of problems to solve in today’s market – budget, staff, and recruitment to name a few. However, recent statistics revealed that one of the biggest challenges to employers is finding talented individuals to fill vacancies.

Upskill your Employees to Improve Retention and Job Satisfaction - Thomas Meadows, Newcastle University


Tech Talent Engine


While the North East offers a fast-growing tech sector with strong connections in the industry, employers are still forced to reach into their recruitment budget each year to be seen by candidates.

Combined with the pressure of the recession and rising living costs, this has created a skills gap that many businesses in the North East are struggling to overcome, let alone hypothesise. But with competition greater than ever, how do employers attract quality talent whilst increasing staff retention?

Tom Meadows from Newcastle University believes the answer is upskilling valuable staff and offering them apprenticeship opportunities to grow through the company. He describes the benefits of upskilling staff as ‘endless.’

Employees feel valued and recognised by focusing on improving expertise within the business, allowing them to work towards their goals alongside their careers, improving job satisfaction and expertise.

As the University’s Apprenticeship Partnership Manager, Tom works with businesses to help them understand how to access the apprenticeship levy to upskill staff.

In his experience, the reason many businesses are not taking advantage of the government levy funding is not because of disinterest, but due to a lack of understanding about who is eligible to access it.

Simply put, if more businesses were aware of the funding that was available to them, employees could sustain better pathways to promotion and become key assets to the team.

Statistically, we know that one of the strongest determinants of employees' staying at a company is feeling valued, so there’s no argument against investing in your workforce and improving overall morale.

What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

The apprenticeship levy allows businesses, of all sizes and sectors, to access funding of between 95%-100% towards the cost of training for their employees.

If an employee is interested in upskilling in a particular area, such as Leadership or IT, they can work with a provider to learn alongside their work whilst gaining an apprenticeship qualification, provided they are employed in a relevant role.

Whether you’re a company of 5 or 5000, any employer can access the apprenticeship levy funding and the maximum excess you will required to be contribute is 5%.

How Does this Help Businesses?

In the digital sector, recruiting for high-level positions can be difficult given the level of competition in the market.

By upskilling staff, it allows employees to improve their knowledge and offers employers an opportunity to promote them within the organisation without having to recruit externally.

Solid investment in staff equals higher retention and employee morale. It’s a win-win.

Is It Worth It?

Courses at Newcastle University are a minimum of 12 months, which means success is dependent on the cooperation between the employer and employee. Apprentices must show enthusiasm about professional development and employers must provide adequate support.

As an employer, it's only natural to feel a little apprehensive before passing your staff through a course, such as embedded learning.

However, the benefit of an apprenticeship is its tripartite nature, as it requires collaboration between the employer, apprentice, and training provider.

A common structure may include attending training either online or in-person on a Friday and then returning to work the remaining 4 days of the week. During their days of learning, they develop comprehensive knowledge and skills that impacts their productivity in the workplace, allowing them to challenge areas that might have often been overlooked and progress internally.

It’s not just academics that are seeing an improvement, however.

The statistics prove that apprenticeships are working, as Newcastle University has a 100% pass rate, with 73% of apprentices gaining distinctions in their endpoint assessment.

Why Newcastle University?

Aside from being a reputable and high-ranking university worldwide, Newcastle University boasts a strong network within the tech sector, allowing further opportunities for collaboration.

The benefit of undertaking training with a university is that apprentices have access to world-leading facilities and experts in their field. Resources and support networks such as the students’ union also provide a sense of community.

As for employers, they can benefit from investing in their team, which often leads to internal promotions. Working with a university also opens up opportunities for businesses to get involved in other activities, such as strategic partnerships, knowledge transfer partnerships and internships.

Right now, we are emerging into a new era, as employees are now shifting their values and, since the pandemic, have had more time to think about their long-term and short-term goals.

This has meant that employers are expected to prepare for changes to their workforce, with many long-term members choosing to switch vocations and prioritise their work-life balance over salary and career.

Amid this new change, employers can use this as an opportunity to invest in their staff and upskill employees. Given the length of the apprenticeship courses, employees will stay in the company for a minimum of 12 months. Upon completion, they often feel a sense of loyalty to the company.

Tech Talent Engine is Desperate for Employers to Collaborate

It’s clear that apprenticeships offer various routes into digital careers.

However, awareness around this type of funding is still scarce and many businesses are not taking advantage of what is available, unable to solve the recruitment issue they face each year.

If you are an employer that wants to find out more about this type of funding, the best way to stay informed is to sign up to the Tech Talent Engine to access information, advice, and insights into the digital sector.

To speak with Tom Meadows directly, simply email to find out more.

Join the Tech Talent Engine to create your profile and recieve job notifications

Join today

Sign up to our newsletter

By submitting your information you agree to the Terms & ConditionsTerms & Conditions and Privacy PolicyPrivacy Policy

© 2024 techtalentengine. All Rights Reserved.