“The Government’s vision is to create a world class sustainable apprenticeships system that is of high quality and employer led.”

April 2017 is an auspicious month for Apprenticeships with the implementation of two of the key reforms under the Government’s programme; the introduction of the Institute of Apprenticeships and the start of the apprenticeship levy.


Apprenticeships have undergone various changes over the years, moving from what many would class as traditional apprenticeships in the trades to placing apprenticeships as an equal potential destination for young people as going to university.    The latest changes to the Apprenticeship brand have been brought about, by Government, in response to the low skills levels and relatively low productivity and investment in training by employers across the UK.

The Government’s vision is to create a world class sustainable apprenticeships system that is of high quality and employer led.   But what does this mean in practice and what impact will this have on you as an employer?  The apprenticeship sector has accused Government of giving a somewhat drip feed approach on information, guidance, and support to those who operate in the market (training providers and colleges) and to employers.  Which has led me to question, do our employers even know about the reforms and their impact?   Are they getting the support they need to ensure that they use the reforms to the best effect for their business?  Will these reforms really drive up the quality of apprenticeships?

Local and national research shows that the answer is “in some cases”.  I strongly feel that ‘some’ is not enough; to make the best of these reforms, all of our employers need to be aware and  all of our employers need to be implementing them in the best way for them; whether that’s to carry on how they are or to get more involved.

I’m writing this blog post to try and address the three key questions;

  • Are you aware of the levy?
  • Are you going to be effected by the levy?
  • Do you know where to go to get support if you need it?

By reading this post you will hopefully end up knowing more about the Levy, how you will be effected and how to access any support that you may need.

The Apprenticeship Levy

The Apprenticeship Levy is – put in its simplest form-  a tax on employment, and applies to all employers across England (Scotland has it’s own rules on the levy).  There is a £15,000 offset for all employers which means you will only physically pay the levy should your annual paybill be in excess of £3,000,000 (£3 million).

Funds will be paid into a levy account for employers to access via the new Apprenticeship System. These funds will then be used to fund Apprenticeship Training and any end-point assessment for apprenticeships.  The funds can’t be used for anything else, e.g. wages, travel, or expenses or for management costs of administering an Apprenticeship Scheme.

Employers whose pay bill is less than £3m, will be expected to make a contribution to the Apprenticeship Training with the Government ‘co-financing’ up to 90% of the training and assessment costs, again no other costs associated with the apprenticeship will attract the Government ‘co-financing’.

Support is available in a multitude of places for employers of any size wanting to access apprenticeships; the national apprenticeship service, training providers and locally from Apprenticeships Suffolk. Apprenticeships Suffolk offer free impartial advice and support to employers of any size to help them access apprenticeships. If you want more information, or to access any support, please email us at apprenticeships@suffolk.gov.uk

Thanks go to Blog author Katrina Gardiner who is the Senior Policy Officer – Skills at Suffolk County Council.

Apprenticeships Suffolk

If you are an employer looking to implement apprenticeships in your business and need to consider the current structure within your teams to achieve this, get in touch. At MAD-HR we work on an outsourced HR consultancy basis as your pop-up HR team to get your ducks in a row and get your business functioning efficiently to grow.

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