Everything employers need to know about the Apprenticeship Levy Fund

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JTL, one of the leading apprenticeship providers in the building services engineering sector in England and Wales, is reminding employers how to access crucial funding for apprenticeships during this year’s National Apprenticeship Week (6–12 February).

In 2022, it was widely reported that over three billion pounds worth of potential apprenticeship funding went unused by the companies entitled to it*. These funds expired in what is called the Apprenticeship Levy, and the primary reason that they went unspent is because of a lack of understanding surrounding it.

To mark one of the most important events in the learning calendar – National Apprenticeship Week – JTL is helping to explain the levy’s purpose, its use, and how employers across the country can access these unused funds that are otherwise destined for the treasury.

What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in 2017 as a way of creating “long term sustainable funding for apprenticeships.” * It manages this by asking employers to pay a percentage of their payroll bill into the levy every year. The money employers pay into this levy remains freely accessible to them; however, it may only be used for the purposes of apprenticeship training.

Do I have to pay into the Apprenticeship Levy?

The Apprenticeship Levy applies to companies with a pay bill of over three million pounds. The employers falling into this band only account for around two per cent of employers across the UK.

Who can access funds from the Apprenticeship Levy?

Provided you are a UK employer looking to take on an apprentice, you are entitled to unspent funds in the Apprenticeship Levy requisite to pay 100% of the training and assessment costs, up to the funding band maximum, of the apprenticeship standard you are offering.

How do I access funds from the Apprenticeship Levy?

If you are an employer paying into the levy, you can access and manage your funds through The Apprenticeship Service portal provided on the Gov.uk website. If you’ve taken apprentices on before, or managed any kind of apprenticeship training, you will likely already have an account, otherwise you can use this site to set one up.

However, if you don’t pay into the levy, you will need to take further steps to request a levy transfer from a company that does pay into the levy.

What is a levy transfer?

Levy transfers are the most underutilised function within the Apprenticeship Levy. Essentially, levy paying employers have the ability to transfer up to 25% of their levy funds to other employers. Those receiving employers take on the levy with the same understanding as the levy paying employer who transferred it to them, that these funds may only be used for apprentice training.

How do I make a levy transfer?

If you’re one of the companies paying a levy fee, but not using all of the restricted funds for your own training purposes, you are able to share up to 25% of those unused funds with as many employers as you like. Transfers must be agreed and put in place before an apprentice being funded by the transfer begins their apprenticeship, and they can be made using The Apprenticeship Service portal on the Gov.uk website.

How can I receive a Levy Transfer?

If like most, you are a company looking to receive one of these transfers, you can either contact a levy-paying employer directly or use the Gov.uk opportunities section of The Apprenticeship Service portal. Here, large companies list the kind of apprenticeships they would like to fund, and you as an employer can reach out and apply for their funding.

What can I spend the Levy funds on?

Levy funds can only be used for apprenticeship training within England, meaning they are best put to use in hiring an apprentice, just like those provided by JTL. By taking on a JTL apprentice, employers can receive a new member of their workforce who arrives with the additional support and management of a dedicated JTL training officer. JTL apprentices have uniquely high retention rates and are supplied with complimentary toolboxes and learning resources to help ensure the high standard of work JTL expects them to conduct on site.

Companies that hire apprentices can increase the efficiency of their business through the onboarding of modern techniques taught to learners during the practical qualification training that JTL provides them.

You can find out more about JTL as well as further details about the benefits of taking on an apprentice and the selection process at https://jtltraining.com/

*According to figures from The London Progression Collaboration (LPC) in July 2022 *All other quotes/figures sourced from https://www.gov.uk/ {Last accessed 23rd January 2023}