To improve the technical and professional skills of the UK workforce, and to put apprenticeship funding on an sustainable footing, on 6 April 2017, the UK Government will introduce the Apprenticeship Levy will require all UK employers with a wage bill over £3 million a year to invest in apprenticeships.
The Levy will put apprenticeship funding on a sustainable footing and improve the technical and professional skills of the workforce, with a target of 3 million apprenticeships underway by 2020.
The Levy is 0.5% of employers' total company payroll collected monthly via PAYE. All employers will have an allowance of £15,000, which means that the Levy is applicable on staff payroll over the first £3,000,000.
The money will be collected by HMRC. From May 2017, individual employers’ funding will be made available to them via a new digital account, through which employers will be able to pay for training for apprentices. In England, employers will be able to direct funding towards the apprenticeship training they want through a new Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS). The Service will also support employers to identify and pay a provider, choose an apprenticeship training course, find a candidate and choose a training provider.
Employers will be able to pull funding down through the DAS from 1 May 2017. Employers can use funds in their digital account to pay for training from the first month they declare levy payable through the PAYE system. All apprenticeships started before 1 May 2017 will be funded through to completion according to the existing rules.
Employers will be free to spend their money on apprenticeship training which they judge best meets their needs.
Employers with a pay bill of less than £3 million will not have to pay the Levy.
This group will include around 98% of all employers. These employers will continue to have access to government funding to support apprenticeships.
There are two circumstances where employers are likely to have to contribute additional funds:
Co-investment rate: For employers who do not pay the Levy, and those who pay the Levy but do not have sufficient funds in their digital account to cover the training and assessment costs in a particular month, the Government proposes that the employer co-invests 10% of the costs, with Government paying the remaining 90%.
Small employers: The Government proposes to pay 100% of the apprenticeship training costs for small employers (those with fewer than 50 employees) where the apprentice is a 19-24 year old care-leaver or is 19-24 years of age and has a Local Authority Education, Health and Care plan.
Extra support for apprentices aged 16-18 years of age, 19-24 year old care-leavers and those who have an Education, Health and Care plan: The Government recognises there are additional costs associated with supporting younger apprentices, young care-leavers and young adults with additional learning needs. The Government therefore proposes to make an additional payment of £1,000 to employers and a further £1,000 to training providers to help with these extra costs and ensure all individuals have the opportunity to benefit from an apprenticeship.
Learning support: The Government proposes to pay training providers up to £150 per month plus additional funds based on evidenced need to support the provision of extra learning support for apprentices with conditions such as dyslexia, learning difficulties or disabilities.
Apprenticeships are available at all levels and offer valuable transferable skills which are beneficial to both the apprentice and the employer. If you already offer in-house training, we can work with you to look at the best options to maximise your ROI and the impact of the Levy,help you develop your workforce strategy, and explore with you how you could accredit or validate your existing programme.
If an apprenticeship isn't currently available for your sector we can work together with you and a group of employers to take advantage of the exciting opportunity to develop a bespoke course.
Transfer of digital funds: From 2018, the Government intends to allow levy-paying employers to transfer up to 10% of the annual funds entering their digital accounts to other employers on the digital system. For example, to help with training and supporting their supply chains.