Levy change can boost apprenticeship numbers

Liverpool City Region’s Skills Brokers say changes to the Apprenticeship Levy system will make hiring apprentices even easier and they are urging employers to get in touch

apprentice, worker, woman
Apprenticeships can boost productivity and raise skills levels in your business


Changes to the Apprenticeship Levy system are about to make it easier for small and medium-sized firms to access the unspent Levy funds of larger employers.

The Department for Education has confirmed employers who pay the Apprenticeship Levy will be able to transfer unspent levy funds to other employers via a new online pledge function on GOV.UK. The service has not yet gone live.

This could help boost the number of people starting apprenticeships, according to a free Liverpool City Region service set up to help employers invest in training. Growth Platform’s Skills Brokerage Service provides free expert advice on training and funding.

The Skills Broker team are on hand to support employers through the process of recruiting apprentices, accessing funding and incentive grants, and finding local training providers who can deliver the apprenticeship.

Skills shortages are costing UK businesses more than £6bn a year and investing in apprenticeships is an ideal way to address this. All employers can access a minimum of 95% Government funding for apprenticeships.

Apprenticeship Levy employers, those with a wage bill in excess of £3m per year, will look to reinvest this funding back into their business in the form of apprenticeship training. They can also transfer up to 25% of their levy to other employers. To date Growth Platform’s Skills Brokerage Service has facilitated apprenticeship levy transfer of more than £1.2m.

Investing in apprenticeships offers multiple benefits for companies and organisations of all types and sizes:

  • You can mould an apprentice from day one to fit in with your business needs and its culture. Hiring people ‘off-the-peg’ with previous experience can be more time-consuming and expensive.
  • The pace of change in the economy is accelerating, particularly in areas such as digital technology. Apprenticeships are a cost-effective solution to upskilling your business.
  • There is no upper age limit on apprenticeships. They can be used to upskill your existing workforce, and this makes no difference to their existing terms and conditions.
  • Apprenticeships are delivered from Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) through to Level 7 (Masters’ Degree equivalent).
  • An apprentice is an investment in the present and the future of your business. It provides individuals with the opportunity to acquire new skills through a structured learning programme and an opportunity for employers to grow their own talent.

Growth Platform’s Skills Brokers can support employers to access incentive payments and local grants. The Be More Apprenticeship Portal also offers Liverpool City Region-based employers the opportunity to advertise their apprenticeship vacancies.

Skills Brokerage, CA, Combined Authority, Growth Platform

Joe Keegan from Growth Platform’s Skills Brokerage Service, said: “Apprenticeships offer a fantastic solution to upskill your current team and bring new talent into your organisation. They are an ideal way to future-proof your business.

“However, there are still too many organisations that believe the process is too complicated or will be too expensive. We have a team of experts here ready to help businesses of any type or size to navigate that process.

“Changes to the Apprenticeship Levy that will make it easier for SMEs to access the Levy funds of larger firms is a welcome change to the system. There has never been a better time to improve the productivity and profitability of your business by investing in training.”

Growth Platform’s Skills Brokerage Service is a one-stop-shop where businesses can find a wealth of support on all funding available for skills across the Liverpool City Region and can even provide up to 70% of training costs for training required by employers which is not funded through any other publicly funded route.

If you are an employer in the City Region looking for skills or apprenticeship advice and/or funding then you can get in touch with Growth Platform’s Skills Brokers here. This service is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and Strategic Investment Fund (SIF).

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