We’re over one year on since the government introduced ‘The Apprenticeship Levy’. The government scheme, which launched in April last year, was designed to increase the quality and quantity of Apprenticeships in England.
But research shows that companies have been slow to unlock it. A total of £1.8 billion payments have been made since its launch, but organisations have withdrawn just £108 million.
What is ‘The Levy’?
If you’re a business with a payroll of over £3 million, you will have been paying 0.5% of your annual payroll into your Levy ‘pot’ since its introduction last year.
What happens if you don’t use it?
The money you have paid will expire 24 months after it enters your digital account unless you spend it on Apprenticeship training.
If you don’t spend it, it goes into a wider pot for the government to redistribute.
You wouldn’t usually throw away money which could be used on something beneficial? So why do it with your levy payment?
How do I use it?
Since April 6 last year, your levy has been collected by HM Revenue and customs through your monthly Pay as You Earn (PAYE). If you want to use your Levy, you can access your payments through an online digital service called The Apprenticeship Service (TAS). Your payments have been building up each month but will soon start being paid back to the government if you don’t spend it (see above).
To help you out, we’ve devised 6 steps to show you how to successfully unlock your apprenticeship levy.
Establish your spend
Hopefully by now you’ll understand how much your levy payments are. Now, you need to understand how you can unlock and use it to best enhance your team.
Don’t know how much your levy payments are? Register to access your TAS account on the government website to find out.
Identify your business needs
In order to make the most of the training available you need to understand what areas of your department would benefit from a skills boost. Would your finance department benefit from hiring some fresh talent to help alleviate the workload of other team members? Or would your current team benefit from some training in order to quicken efficiencies and increase productivity?
You can use your levy to bring in new talent or to upskill your current team. You need to decide what your business or department would benefit from the most.
Selecting the right standard
Apprenticeship Standards have been developed by employer groups called Trailblazers. They are divided into different levels and are linked to what the apprentice will be doing and the skills required to do a certain job role.
Talk to your training partner who will be able to advise which is the most appropriate Standard for you based on your organisation and individual learner needs.
Choose a training provider you can trust
There are over 3,000 registered Apprenticeship training providers, so how can you narrow it down and find the right partner?
Not all providers are equal in terms of their experience in delivering apprenticeships and the support they can offer. When evaluating your options, some things to consider include: their expertise and track record in the specific Apprenticeship area you're interested in; will they help you find and recruit an apprentice if you are looking to hire; how flexible are they to fit around your business needs; how much support will the provide your organisation and the learner throughout the process?
Add your apprentices to the digital Apprenticeship account
Once you’ve decided on the right standard and know you want to train, you can then add your apprentices to the Digital Apprenticeship Service (TAS) and start to unlock your Levy.
Levy paying employers manage their Apprenticeships online through TAS. It’s simple and easy to do. If you need some support navigating TAS, we’ve created an easy 5 step guide to help you out.
Once you’ve got your apprenticeship scheme up and running and you’re reaping the benefits of upskilling your workforce, it’s time to ask what next? Now you can begin to look at offering more Apprenticeships and explore progression options into higher level programmes.