Apprenticeships have long been thought of as a scheme for young school leavers and for labour intensive jobs suited only to certain industries such as construction. However, apprenticeships have changed dramatically over the last few years, with the introduction of higher-level apprenticeships such as degree level and standards instead of frameworks. Apprenticeships are now available in a vast range of sectors and suited to a variety of age groups it’s no longer just for school leavers but mature apprentices as well. Apprenticeships are a stepping stone to close the skills gap many businesses are concerned about for the future of their industries.
The levy how does it work?
If you are an employer with a pay bill of over £3 million each year you will have to pay a levy, it is charged at 0.5% of your pay bill, this is paid the same way as Income Tax or National Insurance contributions.
What if you don’t pay the Levy?
You would pay 10% towards the cost of training and assessing your apprentice. The government will pay the rest (90%) up to the funding band maximum.
Employers with fewer than 50 people working for them will not have to pay the 10% contribution for an apprentice who is aged between:
All employers will receive £1,000 if, at the start of the apprenticeship, the apprentice is aged between:
Your levy contributions must be spent within 24 months otherwise the money is no longer available and lost to the employer. Employers can transfer funds to another employer to use to recruit an apprentice.
The levy can be managed via an online account which is easy to use. Your funding available can be manged from this account.
How does it work
If you can not find an existing apprenticeship standard that suits your organisation you can develop a proposal for a new standard. Many new apprenticeships are being created because of this and creating new routes into roles that did not exist before, such as social work or cyber security. You can view standards in development online.
An apprentice is an employee, they should have a contract of employment for the full length of the apprenticeship. As such they will be entitled to staff benefits like other employees including annual leave. As part of the apprenticeship they will be required to complete 20% of their hours in off the job training, this should be included in their existing hours not in addition too. For example, if an apprentice works 37 hours a week, 20% of these hours should be off the job training. An apprentice does not have to work full time if this is agreed upon before starting part time are possible, however the apprenticeship will have to be extended to complete the full apprenticeship.
Throughout the apprenticeship the training provider will work with the apprentice and the employer to ensure each are satisfied with how the programme is progressing.
As with any employee if any employee has a disability the company must seek to make reasonable adjustments where possible to allow the person to complete their job. Government funding is available to help with this.
The levy can also be used to support existing staff in upskilling and training, supporting staff into managerial positions or different departments by using the levy to retrain them and earn new qualifications.
For more information about recruiting an apprentice visit apprenticeships.gov.uk