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Getting Started

Improving staff performance

Shirley Wolfe of Boom Training discusses little-known government subsidies available to small firms

Improving staff performance

Improving staff performance

Training that achieves real behavioural change and business impact is expensive. You may not be aware but a game-changing 90% subsidy is available to bring this within the financial reach of small firms


Weak UK productivity is a direct consequence of weak leadership and management

If you’ve ever listened to the media or Whitehall think tanks talking about how UK productivity lags behind comparable countries in the EU and wider OECD, you’ll know that the refrain for as long as anyone can remember is that the UK is held back by weak management skills; especially amongst SMEs.

The issue primarily affects middle managers, many of whom are promoted into their role because of their occupational expertise. For example, teachers promoted to become department heads because of their outstanding performance in the role.  But managing a department and a team of colleagues working in these areas requires a completely different set of skills.


Staff turnover is expensive

Staff turnover rates among SMEs - especially in admin roles can be a high as 40%.  The cost of this in terms of recruitment (managers’ time, advertising costs and agency fees) and reduced productivity (every time you replace a staff member the new employee takes time to get up to speed) is also huge.


So what’s the solution?

There is good news which has been a very well-kept secret for a number of years now.  The Government want to promote it but relies on training providers to do so.


The Apprenticeship scheme for everyone

The Apprenticeship scheme is a way of helping people enter their first employment and develop knowledge and skills through training on-the-job.  It’s also generally thought of as being unique to manual trades and crafts. Wrong on both counts!

The apprenticeship scheme is open to anybody right up to retirement age and can be used to provide professional development for a huge range of professional and managerial occupations. Many professional membership organisations now offer chartered status through apprenticeship training. In some cases, these means Masters Degree level training and the number of degree level apprenticeships is growing rapidly. Here are some examples of professional status that can be achieved:

  • Accountancy/Taxation Professional (master’s degree)
  • Architect (degree)
  • Business to business Sales Professional (degree)
  • Chartered legal executive
  • Chartered Manager (degree)
  • Chartered Surveyor (degree)
  • Digital Marketer (degree)

If you are bringing new talent into your organisation, the scheme provides a recruitment service which saves you a lot of time. Some training providers, including Boom, offer this service at no cost to you.

Good quality training is expensive and when budgets are tight, it’s often one of the first costs targeted for reduction.  However, the apprenticeship scheme also offers a solution here for the following reason:


90% of the cost is paid for by the Government

The government pays 90% of the cost of training. The 10% you do have to pay usually comes in at between £500 and £1,000 per person depending on the apprenticeship.  And of course, you do pay the individual’s salary, although if you are considering recruiting a young trainee, the salary is very considerably less than you would expect to pay an experienced employee (usually less than £10,000 and exempt from NI).


Boom Training is among one of the goverment-endorsed training firms to provide advanced level in key office-based occupations such as administration, finance and management working with clients across all industry sectors and our geography covers central southern England, including most of Hampshire, Berkshire, Surrey, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire. It also operates in Leicester, Nottingham and Derby. For more information about subsided training, please the visit the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) website,, which is part of the Department for Education. 


Where the opinions of third parties are offered, these may not necessarily reflect those of St. James’s Place.