While the levy is doing a fantastic job in motivating business owners to discover and invest in fresh talent, many employers are reluctant to take on new apprentices and would prefer to invest their levy funds in training their existing staff.
The good news is this is possible, but it needs to be done correctly.
There is a common misconception that apprenticeships are only available for school leavers or in manual industries, but apprenticeships in 2020 are completely different to what they were in years gone by.
For example, apprenticeships in the UK are awarded at levels 1 to 8, which means a business could use the Apprentice Levy to send one of their current employees on a level 8 apprenticeship and they could come out with the equivalent of a Masters qualification.
In essence, it would work the same as any other apprenticeship.
For businesses that are required to contribute to the Apprenticeship Levy there are a number of questions about the amount they have to pay. Including:
One of the mostly commonly asked questions is how Apprenticeship Levy funds can be spent.
In short, Levy funds must be spent on training employees within your organisation and end-point assessments with an approved training provider. How you train your employees is completely up to you.
However, the important thing to note is the Apprenticeship Funding Rules state that the Levy cannot be spent on:
This is partly to prevent misuse of funds, but also to ensure that all apprenticeship courses associated with the levy fund adhere to the same standards and level of quality.
If your business meets the £3m payroll threshold and is required to contribute to the Levy, you will receive access to an Apprenticeship Services Account (ASA). This account will then be used to purchase and manage apprenticeship courses directly from the register of government approved programmes.
Once your account is setup, simply select an organisation (likely your own), and start looking for a training provider. You can then add your apprentice and the training provider will receive an application and get in touch to confirm the placement.
Next, we’re going to talk about the expiration of the Apprenticeship Levy funds and whether your business needs to be worried.
If you are not going to use your funds before they expire, you are able to apply to have them transferred to a smaller business in your local area. In which case, even if your funds do expire after two years, your contribution is not going to go to waste and will be reinvested in the apprenticeship economy.
So far we have established that the levy funds
We’re now going to look at which courses are available through the Apprenticeship Levy so you can decide whether or not it might be a good fit for your business.
At the time of writing there are almost 5,000 registered training providers in the UK providing a multitude of courses. All of these trainers are vetted and moderated by the Government to ensure they adhere to the same standard of quality and consistency.
However, it is important to know that not all organisations that deliver training courses are also able to run the end-point assessment necessary for your candidate to get their qualification. For that reason, the government has two databases - one for training organisations, and one for end-point assessors or examiners. Normally, employers will use the end-point register to select a course provider and liaise with them directly to enroll candidates.
Apprenticeships can be used to help candidates with everything from basic training to post-graduate qualifications such as Masters and MBAs. The most popular course types in 2020 are business management, finance, engineering and construction, but there are courses available for virtually any field.
We have already discussed a few of the benefits earlier on in this post, but now is a good time to
While the Apprenticeship Levy is a venture designed to increase the number of apprenticeships across Great Britain by 2020, there has been some confusion over its application in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Apprenticeships are a devolved policy. This means that authorities in each of the UK nations manage their own apprenticeship programmes, including how funding is spent on apprenticeship training.
What this effectively means is that Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales manage their own apprenticeship programmes, independent of England.
We have already mentioned that there are no restrictions on who you can spend the Apprenticeship Levy funds on, but are there any advantages to choosing one individual over another? Let's find out.
This is no longer the case because the levy funds are available for staff at all levels – from those who left school at 16 right up to postgraduate level. There really is no limit and no discrimination when it comes to who you can spend levy funds on.
Despite there being no age limits on apprentices, the Government does incentivise the hiring of young apprentices such as school and college leavers. This is due to a lot of businesses preferring to hire experienced staff and seeing younger employees as a risk. Therefore,
Sometimes larger businesses can get frustrated when choosing what to spend their levy funds on because they don't want to expand their payroll by hiring new staff.
In this scenario, there is the option of upskilling existing employees in preparation for a future promotion. It’s very easy for someone in a mid-management position to go on a year long apprenticeship course and get the skills they need for a promotion.
Now it's time to take a look at how you can put the levy funds into action and implement an apprenticeship training programme throughout your workforce.
So, you've got your funds, you’ve opened an online account and you’re ready to go… what's next?
The biggest mistake people make is thinking of apprenticeships as young people they bring into their organisation and start at the bottom. Instead, think of apprenticeships as an opportunity for any new or existing employees of any age to level up their skills and gain new qualifications.
Conduct a review of your existing workforce and identify any skills gaps. Then analyse the best way to fill these gaps, whether that is developing existing staff, bringing in juniors or hiring new department heads.
One important thing to remember with apprenticeships is for all of the growth opportunities there are some concessions to make short-term. Employers will need to be aware that several hours of their apprentice’s week will need to be devoted to study, learning and even passing exams.
To wrap up this article, here is a brief summary of the Apprenticeship Levy and the key facts to remember: