The Open University and KPMG launch joint apprenticeship services

14 September 2016

The UK Government’s Apprenticeship Levy, which will go into effect from next year, provides businesses across the UK with funds to train apprentices. To support businesses create robust apprenticeship programmes, KPMG and The Open University have come together to launch an apprenticeship service. The service will initially offer three higher apprenticeship trajectories.

The UK Government’s Apprenticeship Levy will require employers with a pay bill of over £3 million to pay an annual levy to support apprenticeships across UK businesses. The levy amounts to 0.5% of annual pay bill, with a levy allowance of £15,000 per year to offset payments below the £3 million threshold. The levy will fund apprenticeships for all UK businesses, further opening up apprenticeships as a path towards work, while allowing participants to be paid while they learn. Businesses will be able to access the apprenticeships programme through a new digital apprenticeship service account.

The new scheme is set to create increased demand for apprenticeships, as more government funding becomes available to more businesses to train people up as apprentices. In a bid to support employers identify and fulfil their future training needs, KPMG and The Open University (OU) have come together to launch a new apprenticeship service.

The Open University and KPMG launch joint apprenticeship services

The partners will work together to offer a combination of KPMG’s workforce analysis and OU’s apprenticeships and online learning programmes, supported by expert tutors. According to the partners, the new offering will “help organisations to understand their future workforce needs, identify skills gaps and provide and manage training programmes through apprenticeships. A central feature of the service is the extensive use of online learning, which will encourage greater access and opportunity to expand the scheme across businesses.”

KPMG and the OU will initially provide three higher-apprenticeship scheme programmes for businesses seeking to train: Healthcare Practitioner Assistant Higher Apprenticeship; Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship; and Digital and Technical Solutions Degree Apprenticeship.

The partners are the first of the ‘Big Four’ organisations to support businesses provide apprenticeships in this way – and is aimed at meeting the demand from businesses across the UK seeking to leverage the opportunity the Apprenticeship Levy creates.

Mark Williamson, Partner at KPMG, says, “The new levy has the potential to help organisations unlock productivity in their workforce by up-skilling employees in areas which align to their overall commercial objectives. This will enable them not only to plug current skills gaps, but reshape their workforce to meet the future demands of their business.”

Ian Howell, Director of the Business Development unit at The Open University says, “More than ever, it is vital that UK businesses develop their staff to ensure our country has the skills it needs to compete on the world stage. The OU has a strong track record of working with employers to train and develop their workforce – including through higher level apprenticeships. By working together with KPMG, we cannot only help organisations tap into unlocked potential of their people, but help increase the confidence and skills of individuals in key sectors for the benefit of our national economy.”

Earlier this year KPMG made tweaks to its recruitment approach aimed at shortening the process from weeks to a matter of days.



Two consultancies among UK’s best office breakout spaces

05 April 2019

A pair of Bristol-based consulting firms have been recognized for having among the UK’s best office break areas. People Source Consulting and Ashville were marked out for their vibrant and fun spaces, which feature table games, picnic areas, and even beer.

With competition for talent in the UK continuing to heat up – as the nation continues to enjoy its highest employment rate since the 1970s – firms have been upping their game on multiple fronts to help attract the cream of the crop. In order to successfully court the best candidates, companies are not only taking into account pay and benefits, but are also working to lure potential employees to their firms with the promise of innovative and vibrant work spaces.

In late 2018, employment website Glassdoor announced ten offices had been named the coolest places to work in the UK. Among those lauded for their work in enriching the working day of their employees was Capco – the only consultancy to make the grade.

Two consultancies among UK’s best office breakout spaces

Now,, a leading games room specialist based in the UK, has announced the ten offices it believes have made the cut for its inaugural Office Breakout of the Year competition. The contest has pitted a diverse range of companies against one another to be named the best office-based breakout space that the UK has to offer. Research from recently revealed that 65% of workers would consider switching employers for a better working environment, making the appearance of two consultancies on the list especially important for their recruitment ambitions.

People Source Consulting – a recruitment business from Bristol – hosts a brightly lit and vibrant space, complete with faux grass and picnic benches, along with a well-stocked beverage fridge – alcohol appears to be an option – as well as an array of tabletop games, including pool. Ashville, an asset management consultancy also based in Bristol, meanwhile boasts a break room decked out with table football, a table tennis court and even arcade machines.

Two consultancies among UK’s best office breakout spaces

The other eight finalists exhibit offerings including swinging hammocks, scooters and a bizarre and brilliant variety of other features. The other nominees are accessplanit – a software business from Lancaster; Digital 22 – a marketing and design agency from Clitheroe; Roc Search – a tech and engineering recruitment specialist from Reading; Sales-i – a provider of sales analytics software from Solihull; SEC Group – an office fit out company from Stevenage; SLG Brands – a portfolio of beauty brands with a head office in Cheltenham; Zest Digital – a digital marketing agency from Oxford; and 16i – a digital design agency also from Cheltenham.

Andy Beresford, MD of, said, “According to recent reports, the UK is currently seeing record levels of employment, and while that might be a great statistic, the knock-on effect is that it’s becoming harder and harder to recruit top talent… Being named as a finalist gives those shortlisted businesses the opportunity to showcase how they go about delivering a better working environment for their employees, with some top effort evidently involved judging by what we’ve seen.”