Welcome to the seventh article in our 18 part series on the Apprenticeship Levy. The levy is a new initiative from the Government that aims to create 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020. In recent articles, we’ve talked about who is eligible to contribute to the levy, how smaller businesses can access funds, and how to setup your online portal and start spending money on courses. This time we’re going to be focusing on whether or not it’s possible for you as a business to use levy funds to develop your own learning and development programmes.
Finding the right apprentices for the job
First of all, let’s make an important distinction. We’re not talking about whether or not apprentices taking the course can be existing employees or must be brought in externally, we’re talking about how that education is provided. An apprentice can be anybody your business sees fit for a particular role, be that an existing member of staff looking for a promotion or a brand new candidate that you interview for the role (and the apprenticeship). It doesn't matter who you spend the money on, so long as it’s funding an apprenticeship course provided by a reputable and certified source.
Are you limited by external course suppliers?
If you’re a business with an annual payroll bill of more than £3 million, you automatically pay 0.5% of your wage bill into the levy pot. Smaller businesses will need to apply to gain access and must also contribute 10% of any apprenticeship costs to use the fund. Whichever camp your business falls into, the same rules apply. You’ll be given access to an online portal, which lists all of the Government approved training providers. This is the route that most businesses will take.
That said, it is perfectly possible for a business to become an ‘employer-provider’ who delivers training to their own apprentices. This will add your business to the approved training register.
If you do decide to become an 'employer-provider' and use the funds to train your own apprentices, you’ll need to make sure that you select an organisation to deliver the end-point assessment from the Register of Apprentice Assessment Organisations. Only apprentices that pass through these end-point assessments will be eligible for funding.
In summary, it’s perfectly possible for you to use the levy to fund internal learning and development programmes, so long as the end-point assessments are provided by unbiased and Government approved assessors. Your business will also need to register as a trainer and prove that it’s capable of delivering courses to the required standards. In our next piece, we’ll talk about what happens when levy funds expire and why you shouldn’t panic and spend them in a hurry.
Ascento learning and development specialise in providing workforce development apprenticeship programmes to both apprenticeship levy paying employers and non levy employers. We work closely with employers to identify the key areas for development and design strategic solutions to tackle these with programmes that are tailored to each individual learner. With two schools of excellence focusing on Management and Digital Marketing we don’t deliver every qualification under the sun, but focus on what we know best and ensure that quality is at the heart of everything we do.