Procurement Apprenticeships – Supply, Demand and the Impact of the Levy

How is the Apprenticeship Levy Impacting the Procurement Industry?

It’s still early days for the Apprenticeship Levy – the new tax initiative that underpins the Government’s ambitious plan to train 3 million new apprentices in the UK by 2020. But procurement companies are already seeing the benefits of the initiative – having finally been provided with specific, cost-effective procurement apprenticeships to transform their staff training investments.

Barbara Keighley, Operations Manager at SR Supply Chain Consultants, discusses how the levy is impacting the procurement industry – and shares insights that may help companies form their apprenticeship strategies.

Are you planning on delivering more apprenticeships?

Our area of expertise is procurement, and for now, that’s where we will maintain our focus, but of course, we will look at offering new procurement based standards as they are developed. We’ve been delivering procurement training for over 10 years, specialising in the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) qualification and are a recognized Centre of Excellence. We are one of only a handful of CIPS training specialists offering the Commercial Procurement and Supply Apprenticeship. Our programme includes the CIPS Level 4 Diploma in Procurement and Supply, which will give our apprentices a huge advantage.

“Organisations have been crying out for a procurement apprenticeship”

Will you also be training apprentices from non-levy-paying companies looking to utilise government co-investment funding?

Currently, we can only offer the apprenticeship to levy paying employers. We do however offer open CIPS training courses and several one-day courses at our study centres across the UK. We can also develop bespoke training programmes which may suit those not wanting to work within a formal apprenticeship structure.

Have you seen a big increase in apprenticeship training enquiries since the introduction of the levy?
Yes. We received several tenders within days of being on the register, but we’re not surprised by that – organisations have been crying out for a procurement apprenticeship. Previously, they could only have generic business admin apprenticeships, which left employers paying separately for training in the crucial procurement skills.

Any notable trends?

We have had interest from all industry sectors, from the MOD and the NHS. Local authorities are also very keen on the Public Sector Commercial Apprenticeship.

How do you think the levy will impact procurement and supply – and the training industry in general?
We believe the levy is a positive step for the training industry and that it will generate increased business. But we’re also certain that the quality of training will become more and more important as employers get more familiar with the scheme. They will demand high standards, relevance and responsive provision. As industry changes the training will have to change too. Providers will be in a highly competitive sector and those that serve the industries best will be the ones that thrive. For procurement and supply, we’re confident that the levy will lead to more people recognising the vital importance of the profession.

What do you think are the biggest challenges that companies are facing with regards to the levy?

The levy is without doubt a massive shake up for employers and will take some time to settle and deliver its benefits. The largest employers will probably cope best, but those with smaller HR functions may find it a struggle to administer and ensure they get the best value from the scheme. There is also a necessity for employers to consider what happens post apprenticeships and to plan roles suitable for a highly skilled workforce.
SR Supply Chain Consultants welcome the levy. We’ve been following the discussions, developments and plans for some considerable time and are right behind the scheme. There will, of course, be some providers who will struggle to adapt to the new landscape.

“Everyone needs to be at the top of their game to make this work”

Do you have any advice for companies looking to spend the levy funding in the most effective way?

Yes. Do your homework and check everything you can about providers, their experience and how their offering fits your needs. Think about long-term objectives and find people you trust and feel comfortable working with.

What do you see for the future of apprenticeships?

We’re quite confident about the future, but will admit this transitional stage could be challenging for many. The skills shortage in the country must be addressed and we believe that apprenticeships are a fundamental part of that. Our young people need to know there’s an alternative to university that will offer them a rewarding career and transferable skills.
We’re excited to be playing our part and will continually evolve our provision to meet what’s required.

Anything else you think people should know?

The levy is a huge change and often there’s a lag between introduction, acceptance and successful adoption. We hope that momentum can be sustained and that support for the levy comes from all sectors of industry, commerce and the public sector. We’re doing our bit. but everyone needs to be at the top of their game to make this work.

The Apprenticeships Hub

Apprenticeships offer a seriously valuable way for companies to recruit, train and retain highly skilled new or existing staff. With funding support from the UK Government via the Apprenticeship Levy and other initiatives, companies have never been in a better position to utilise the benefits of apprenticeships. Find out more on The Apprenticeships Hub:


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Procurement Apprenticeships – Supply, Demand and the Impact of the Levy
Staff Member

Jen Shepherd

Admin and Customer Service Manager

Jenn completed her Apprenticeship in Business and Administration in 2008 and has since built upon a foundation of knowledge and skills in the administration and customer support areas.

Jenn has a degree, as well as a master’s degree, in English which have helped support her commitment to compliance and attention to detail.

Since returning to work from maternity leave in 2020, Jenn has worked in education settings and has an in-depth knowledge on Safeguarding and Child Protection, which she believes is a key part of all employees’ role when working with learners.

Outside of work, Jenn lives with her husband and two young daughters. She had her first book published in 2022 and advocates for the mental wellbeing of new parents.

michelle whalley

Michelle Whalley

Course Progress Mentor

Michelle graduated from Liverpool John Moore’s University in 2003 with a BA(HONs) in Physical Education, Sport, Dance and English, with Qualified Teacher Status. Michelle now holds 20 years’ experience of working in education. Her experience to date is hugely diverse, with a love for learning and striving for excellence across all areas of her life developed from when she was a young girl, representing her country at Athletics. It was from this platform Michelle developed a disciplined approach to every tasks set of her. During her time in teaching, she has taught a wide range of subjects, been a pastoral leader, and led ITT programmes.

Michelle prides herself on her ability to get the best possible outcomes out of people. This has been proven not only in the time she’s spent in education, but also in the set up and running of her own business.

Working in a fast-paced environment, especially becoming a Head of Year as well as teaching has consistently challenged her and ensured she’s flexible and adaptable

Lucy Eckersley

Lucy Eckersley

Administration Assistant

After recently graduating university and achieving a first-class degree in Drama, Lucy wanted to apply her production management experience to an administration role in business. Having worked part time jobs as a waitress and office receptionist during her education, Lucy has good customer service skills and enjoys helping customers and clients by addressing their queries. Lucy is excited to be working at SRSCC and is keen to use her process driven way of working to increase the effectiveness of SRSCC’s administrative processes. In her free time, Lucy enjoys watching musicals and running. She also enjoys spending time outdoors, and loves going hiking from her caravan in the Yorkshire Dales.
Tom Himsworth

Tom Himsworth

Administrative Assistant

Tom graduated from Edgehill University in 2015 with a degree in Creative Writing. After Tom’s journey through university, he worked extensively within the Healthcare sector in mostly administrative roles. It was here that he found his natural organized and observant manner was best suited as it allowed him to understand how each work environment operated, and where processes, customer service and communication could be improved for the benefit of everyone. Throughout his working life, Tom has gained experience with varying mental health conditions and is passionate about advocating the importance of mental health support and well-being. He is currently looking into various volunteer schemes to help champion mental health awareness. Along with this, Tom is an avid writer and is usually working on a story or two and is passionate about learning more about all forms of creative media.
Estelle Marsden

Estelle Marsden

Customer Support Coordinator

Estelle has completed apprenticeships in both Business Administration and Customer service. Her first Role after leaving school was a receptionist at a Podiatrist and that is where she found her passion for helping people and providing positive customer experiences. After 4 years she then moved into retail where her skills progressed further. Estelle has several years’ experience in a customer facing environment, which has led her to the role of Customer Support Coordinator here at SRSCC. Estelle is hoping to expand her expertise further and progress with SRSCC. Other than her passion for Customer Service. Estelle enjoys walking, Hiking, and exploring in her free time. She also enjoys going to the theatre and watching true crime. Estelle likes to spend most of her time with family and friends.

Emma Jackson

Course Progress Mentor

Emma joined SRSCC in 2019 on a freelance basis taking on a teaching and learning consultancy role. She has 20 years of experience in education as a qualified teacher, working in adult learning, secondary and primary school settings in the UK as well as abroad, namely Japan, Hungary, and France. 

More recently Emma has been teaching yoga, resilience, and mindfulness in primary schools to promote the physical and mental well-being of both pupils and staff.

Being multi-lingual and having a zeal for communication, cultural exchange and life-long learning Emma jumped at the opportunity to join the company as a Course Mentor. Building a good rapport with her learners, supporting them to overcome any challenges on their apprentice journey and facilitating them to fulfil their potential is her motivation.

Cumbrian born and bred in the Lake District, Emma enjoys the outdoors. When not relaxing in tree pose, she is most at home trail running in the hills with her husband and dog. Having clocked up 4 marathons to date, the application of her long-distance running mindset of perseverance, determination, discipline and patience is key to supporting her learners in their studies.

SRSCC Staff Images Ashlee Scribbins

Ashlee Scribbins

Office Administrator

Ashlee has joined the SRSCC team as an Office Administrator, and with a level 2 and 3 in Business Administration, she fits right in!

Ashlee has a wide range of experience from working as a Legal Secretary for the Royal Air Force to managing a team. Ashlee is eager to use her customer service and business administration skills for her new role at SRSCC.

SRSCC Staff Images Declan Hemingway

Declan Hemingway

Business Development Account Manager


Declan recently graduated University studying BSc Business and Management with Marketing achieving a 2:1 and was looking for a role in Business Development to put his knowledge and education to the test.

He has a strong desire to grow the SRSCC brand and customer base. Working alongside our Business Development and Relationship Manager; he looks to strengthen both our Commercial and Apprenticeship learner portfolio by liaising with potential and existing learners through building customer relationships and understanding their requirements.