Apprenticeship Levy anniversary: five ways for employers to grasp the benefits

April 9th, 2018

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, the centrepiece of flagship government reforms to improve Britain’s skills base.

Since April 2017, employers with an annual wage bill of more than £3m have been paying an Apprenticeship Levy of 0.5% of their wage bill into a fund. Employers have two years to draw on this pot of funding to help cover the costs of upskilling their existing workforce and developing new talent.

Businesses have paid £1.39bn into the levy but have drawn down just £108m for training, recent research shows, meaning the vast majority are missing out on the opportunity to use their levy fund to upskill staff.

Skills Training UK has responded to this by offering a full turn-key consultancy service to help employers understand and manage their Apprenticeship Levy account and ensure they receive maximum return on investment. 

Stephen Crawley, Director of Skills at Skills Training UK, said: “Crucially, levy funds expire after two years if they aren’t used, so it’s important for employers to act soon if they want to take full advantage. Otherwise it’s money just sitting there, going to waste.

“The Apprenticeship Levy does not need to be complicated and we can help with the process from start to finish - by working in partnership with employers to help them understand how they can use their account to pay for Apprenticeship training. They often discover that Apprenticeships are more affordable than they think because the payments are spread across the duration of the programme.”

Ramsay Rubber, a leading manufacturing firm in the West Midlands, benefited from BIT training from Skills Training UK to improve efficiency. Find out more here.

Skills Training UK has a proven track record of maximising returns on investment for levy paying employers. Here are five ways employers can grasp the levy’s benefits:

1) Productivity Growth. New apprenticeship standards empower employers to shape the design and delivery of training to meet their needs: improving efficiency, reducing waste, giving return on investment –

2) Developing Future Leaders. The Apprenticeship Levy tackles concerns over ageing workforces by providing opportunities for existing employees of any age to develop their potential as future leaders –

3) Technical Skills. Apprenticeship training perfectly addresses the skills gaps which many businesses fear will hamper their growth, particularly in the manufacturing and engineering sectors. Recently, we have introduced new partnerships with several organisations to deliver specialist training in the materials testing sector –

4) Communication and Teamwork. Bespoke Apprenticeships programmes for existing employees improve communication and teamwork skills, leading to increased commitment, higher morale, better retention, and improved productivity –

5) Financial Incentives. There are financial incentives available to help employers develop their workforce or recruit new talent – but employers should ‘use or lose’ their levy pot because funds begin to expire after 24 months in April 2019 –

You can find out more about Skills Training UK and our Apprenticeships at the UK’s premier manufacturing technology event – MACH 2018 – at the Birmingham NEC next week. We’ll be at stand H17- H34, offering our unrivalled expertise on how employers can best use their Apprenticeship Levy to create bespoke training packages that suit their needs.

Stephen Crawley will be presenting a seminar on Apprenticeships for the manufacturing sector on Friday (April 13), at 12 noon.