This is the eleventh article in our 18 part series on the Apprenticeship Levy. With each post, we’re trying to increase employers’ understanding of the Levy - how they can use it and how it can benefit their business. We’ve been on quite a journey over the past 10 articles, covering everything from eligibility and access, to how the funds can be spent and what can be achieved. While we may have touched on a few of the benefits in previous posts, now feels like a good time to review the key benefits of the Apprenticeship Levy and why it should be on your business’ radar.
Filling any technical skills gap
While only a few businesses (less than 2%) are required to pay into the levy, the actual benefits are open to all. If you’re a small business that isn’t required to pay into the pot, you can still access the funds provided you’re willing to pay 10% of the cost. This is fantastic news for any business that wants to plug a skills gap in their team, particularly in the manufacturing and engineering sectors. And remember, existing employees are perfectly eligible for levy courses.
The financial incentive
The Apprenticeship Levy has one singular goal - to increase the number of apprenticeships in the UK dramatically. The government wants to hit 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020 and it’s happy to incentivise businesses to help them hit their targets. As if having access to a fund to help train your staff wasn’t enough, businesses can also get bonuses for enrolling young apprentices (aged 16) of £1,000 and those businesses that contribute to the fund will get a very generous allowance.
Return on investment
Those 2% of businesses who contribute to the levy are required to by legislation because their annual payroll exceeds £3 million. The businesses who contribute can get a superb return on their investment if they put those funds to good use. It’s not a ‘tax’ or penalty, it’s a way of encouraging businesses to invest in learning and development to better their businesses and grow their teams. Any funds that aren’t used within 12 months are released and made available to smaller businesses - it’s a win-win for the learning economy.
The hard part is already dealt with
One of the things that traditionally holds businesses back from apprenticeships is all the vetting and paperwork involved. Which provider do we pick? Who will carry out the assessment? How will we pay for it? All of these pain points are gone thanks to the Apprenticeship Levy. The government has a approved register of providers and assessors and, because the funds are already there and ready to be spent, all a business has to do is open up an online account and start searching for a course. Enrolment is a simple process that can all be taken care of online.
An unmissable opportunity
Recent figures show that more than £1.4 billion (yes, that’s BILLION) has been paid into the levy, but businesses so far have drawn less than £2 million. This tells us that the vast majority of businesses are missing out on the opportunity afforded by the levy, either because they’re not aware of it or aren’t sure how it works. If you’re thinking about promoting a member of staff or want to bring in some fresh talent, you should consider the Apprenticeship Levy right away. From post-grad qualifications like Masters and MBAs to practical training and diplomas, the sky really is the limit.
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.