Apprenticeship Levy – the current state of play

This is a photograph of Steve.

Posted by  Steve Morris, Head of Key Accounts, Apprenticeships,

Euro 2016 has kicked off and there’s much discussion about team stats and performance to assess the favourites. These facts and figures are what shape any pundits view on the potential outcomes of a match. The same theory applies to the Apprenticeship Levy as we are keenly assessing the detail in readiness for the start date.

As we know, the levy is coming in April 2017 and it’s important that employers invest time and effort now on preparation and positioning. You should be considering how will the levy work, what difference will it make, how can you stick to your core business and engage with quality Apprenticeship programmes under the levy to deliver robust training for your staff.

Interestingly, data released by AELP on the 10 June has shown that 76% of Apprenticeships are being delivered by independent training providers (ITPs). AELP CEO Mark Dawe said:

‘… if the government wants the apprenticeship reforms to work, the key constituency around the table needs to be the ITPs.’

So what we do we know at this point about the levy and what are the fundamentals?

What about eligibility?

There’s a couple of areas around eligibility that I think are absolutely fundamental, but are yet to be clarified by BIS. One of these is what funding caps or bands training providers will be allowed to charge an employer.

Employers need this information to plan effectively how they will utilise the levy. If you don’t know what the unit price is, it’s then extremely difficult to do a 12 month plan, a 3 year plan or whatever else.

At the moment the government determines who can receive apprenticeship funding and who can’t.  Our opinion and our discussions with employers show that the government must allow employers to determine who’s eligible for apprenticeship training and to be in receipt of funds from the levy payments.

It’s very much about encouraging government to allow employers to spend the money that they have paid in to the levy pot as they want to.

Will you be able to gift to supply chains?

The government are in favour of giving people the option to gift levy vouchers to their supply chain. From what we understand, the practicality and complexity of implementing this option may mean this won’t be a reality for a year or two.

I think this could become a source of frustration for employers who are not able to access the funds that have been put into their digital account, and use them in the ways that they want to.

We would encourage the government to do as much as they can to speed up the process that will allow employers to gift vouchers to their supply chain companies.

Our focus

We are passionate about working collaboratively with employers and to work in partnership to build robust and quality Apprenticeship programmes under the levy.

Our work with The Co-Op showcases the benefits of this partnership approach as we combined our expertise to create a brand new Apprenticeship Framework for their Funeralcare division. This qualification is now fully embedded across the business allowing for a consistent approach to training and development.

‘Our customers have high expectations of The Co-Op as an organisation and this qualification ensures all employees are legally compliant and best placed to provide the service expected.’

We want to continue building relationships to improve skills and as part of this we’re keen to encourage conversations about the levy. Remember, just like football, it’s a team game, so get involved and tell us what you think.