RSPCA embrace apprenticeship scheme at Chichester College

April 6, 2018

A national charity is working with local colleges to transform training within its organisation.

The RSPCA and Chichester College have teamed up to deliver apprenticeships to staff, highlighting the different ways employers can embrace apprenticeships.

The charity has so far signed up nine members of staff at its Horsham-based headquarters onto apprenticeships with Chichester College, with more set to follow later this year.

It is the first stage in the charity’s masterplan to transform the way they offer in-role skills development and enhancement, ensuring investment in staff without compromising vital charity funds.

John Wilkins, Head of Volunteering and Apprenticeships at the RSPCA, said: “Following the introduction of the new apprenticeship levy back in April last year, we could see the benefits that the new scheme would bring to the RSPCA.

“As a charity, we have a moral obligation to ensure we are delivering value for money, so we needed to make sure the levy was being spent properly and we were investing in people who have been working for us and committed to the RSPCA in the first phase before bringing in new staff on apprenticeship schemes.

“We looked at our skills gaps, at roles that we find it hard to recruit and retain and considered what apprenticeships could offer our teams – we invited everyone to let us know if they would be interested in apprenticeships.

“I was expecting that around 2% of our staff would be interested in apprenticeships – I was very pleased that around 11% of our staff wanted to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.”

Laura Swan, Apprenticeship Development Manager at the RSPCA, added: “It’s really important to us that we invest in our people – since introducing the apprenticeship scheme, we’ve seen motivation and enthusiasm increase, which is fantastic.

“Apprenticeships are hard work – learning and working at the same time is demanding, but we’ve been delighted to see how our colleagues have embraced the opportunity to join an apprenticeship and receive the development that they wanted.

“We have one member of staff who has worked for the RSPCA for more than 25 years, who is now greatly benefiting from a level five management apprenticeship.

“We have good relationships with local colleges close to our centres around the country. It’s important for us to work with local providers and we are proud of our connection with Chichester College.

“We have been impressed with their commitment to us and making sure we have the right courses for our teams.”

The charity’s decision to commit to offering apprenticeships to current staff demonstrates an additional way of giving staff valuable training. This flexible approach is something Chichester College places as a key priority in their work with employers.

Julie Kapsalis, Managing Director (Commercial) at Chichester College Group, said: “We are proud to have developed a range of apprenticeship options that are benefiting staff at the RSPCA.

“Apprenticeships aren’t always about recruiting new people – actually they work very well for existing staff, giving them development and qualifications that can add real value to their employer – as we’re seeing at the RSPCA.

“At Chichester College – and at Crawley College – we work closely with employers of all sizes to design bespoke training and apprenticeship programmes which meet the needs of their businesses.”

As part of the charity’s commitment to apprenticeship training, the RSPCA is currently leading in the development of the new level 2 Animal Care and Welfare apprenticeship, which will be available for delivery later this year.