Getting ready for the Levy: The magnificent 7

This is a photograph of Steve.

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

The government’s new Apprenticeship Levy comes into effect in April 2017 and has without a doubt raised more questions than there are currently answers for at this stage.

With less than a year to go, we’re working closely with employers and listening to what they tell us they want from Apprenticeships. Together we’re preparing for what the levy means, identifying the benefits and getting ready for the challenges.

As the picture is still taking shape, here’s our magnificent 7 points that you need to be thinking about right now.

If you want to know more about how the levy will impact on your business and how to maximise on the opportunities, contact our expert, Lee Hill, for a free consultancy service.

1) What advantages do apprentices bring to an organisation?

Research has shown that Apprenticeships can provide great benefits to organisations who employ them.

These include:

  • attracting enthusiastic new talent
  • building a qualified workforce
  • improved retention through investing in careers
  • aiding the growth of your business

Hear the benefits from an apprentice’s perspective.

Nick Dunsdon 

nickLee Jack


2) Are your organisation’s business priorities aligned to Apprenticeships?

It is important that the Apprenticeship activity you get involved in is aligned with your organisation’s business priorities, and will support and develop your key business areas.

Taking the time to consider this will help you decide where Apprenticeships should be introduced, where they will add the most value to your business, and the practical management of costs through the levy system.

3) Are your current training programmes suitable for future Apprenticeships?

If you currently run training programmes for your staff, you need to be thinking whether these are suitable for conversion to Apprenticeship programmes.

Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes, which are typically used to develop employees who are in new job roles including higher level roles.

If you want advice on the potential options which will be best suited to your business, contact our expert Lee Hill.

4) Do your current Apprenticeship programmes meet future standards?

Current Apprenticeship framApprenticeseworks are being replaced by new Apprenticeship standards designed by employers. Whether or not you have current Apprenticeship programmes, your current vacancies could qualify to become an Apprenticeship standard.

Just remember, Apprenticeships need to be real jobs, providing robust work experiences with opportunities to facilitate an apprentice’s progression.

5) Could roles within your organisation be included into a higher Apprenticeships programme?

The traditional view of Apprenticeships revolves around employing young people from school at 16 into lower level positions within industries such as construction, hair and beauty or healthcare.  Whilst this is still the case for a number of Apprenticeships, it is not the whole story.

Higher level Apprenticeships begin at the equivalent of a NVQ Level 4, and Apprenticeship programmes can go up to NVQ Level 6, the equivalent of an undergraduate honours degree. This means that the next generation of engineers, computer developers and chartered accountants can be trained under Apprenticeship programmes.

So if you are considering expanding your Apprenticeship programmes, it pays to look at both the areas of your business that could benefit from inclusion, along with the levels of staff that could be included.

Read our recent post about taking your Apprenticeship programmes higher.

6) Should you manage your own Apprenticeship programmes in-house, or use an external provider?

There might appear to be advantages in managing your Apprenticeship programmes in-house, within your organisations. For example, potential cost savings vs. buying in external training.

Pound coinsHowever, you need to remember that your organisation’s levy funds can only be spent on Apprenticeship training delivered by an approved provider. Therefore your organisation would need to register as an approved provider before it could undertake any eligible Apprenticeship training activity.

You will also be subject to Skills Funding Agency (SFA) quality arrangements and Ofsted inspection. On that note, this recent report about employers and ‘inadequate’ ratings makes interesting reading.

7) Do Apprenticeship standards already exist for the roles within your organisation?

A number of the new Apprenticeship standards have already been developed by employers. The standards show what an apprentice will be doing and the skills required of them, by job role. Standards are developed by employer groups are known as ‘trailblazers’.

Each standard will include details like the duration of the Apprenticeship, core knowledge and skills within the roles and entry requirements.

Find out more about Apprenticeship standards on Gov.UK.

Further announcements from BIS on the levy have been delayed to mid-July, at this point we expect to hear more about eligibility and the actual cost of an apprenticeship.

If you want help in understanding the implications of the Apprenticeship Levy, then get in touch.