Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Apprenticeship Levy: Your Unspent Training Budget

Apprenticeship Levy Your Unspent Training Budget

Right now, your organisation may have unused training funds that have been put aside for over a year. According to a study by DPG, 63% of managers still don’t know if they’re affected by the Apprenticeship Levy.

The problem is that any unspent funds will expire after 24 months, meaning that it’s up to you, as managers and HR professionals, to take control of your training budget. HR professionals must understand how the Levy can benefit their organisation by developing necessary skills, including IT expertise.

What is the Levy?

The Apprenticeship Levy is a payroll tax set at 0.5% of a company’s wage bill. The Levy is part of the government’s target to reach 3 million apprentices by 2020. Your company only pays if your wage bill exceeds £3 million, which affects around 2% of companies in England. If you’re a Levy-payer, you’ll be able to reclaim Levy contributions as digital vouchers to pay for apprenticeship training.

Use the Apprenticeship Levy to close your skills gap

With your help, the Levy can be used to focus on improving your workforce. While businesses must pay a proportion of their wage bill to the Levy, your organisation has the ability to get it all back. Spend your Levy wisely and you’ll develop valuable skills within your organisation.

With three-in-four companies facing a shortage of digital skills, this is your opportunity to fill your IT skills gap using digital apprenticeships. Whilst taking an apprentice on-board benefits them, the spill-over effects of IT training can help boost productivity within your workforce.

"42% of workers said that what apprentices learn is passed to others in the organisation" 
Open University, 2018

Levy-funded apprentices are learning industry-recognised qualifications in crucial areas such as cyber security, software development and data analysis. See all our accelerated IT programmes for more information.

Doing nothing is not an option

50,000 businesses have contributed £1.2 billion to the Levy fund since its introduction, but according to a study by the Open University, only 8% of these funds have been withdrawn for training. Your organisation may be one of those ignoring over a billion pounds’ worth of training. The Levy investment is inaccessible to you unless you choose to access the funds through apprenticeships. You can help ensure your business is taking control of your Apprenticeship Levy fund.

The large remainder of the unused Levy funds lie within organisations that either don’t know what the Apprenticeship Levy is or have misconceptions about what it’s used for. To understand more about the Levy, you must avoid the misconceptions that stop you from making the best possible decision regarding your organisation’s Levy investment.

Avoid these misconceptions to make the most of the Levy

"You can’t use the Levy on existing staff"

A recent study by the Open University revealed that 40% of business leaders believe apprenticeships are for entry-level staff, while 14% believe the Levy can’t be used to train existing staff. These assumptions are far from the truth.

Your Apprenticeship Levy funds can be used to upskill existing staff. Teaching staff new IT skills can support and develop a business to help fill certain technology gaps. There are also no age or seniority restrictions regarding eligible staff. Managers can benefit from the same IT skills as their staff at all levels within the organisation.

“Levy-payers are alone”

If your organisation is a Levy-payer and you’re choosing to take on apprenticeships, there are ways to help with funding. The government’s co-investment scheme can help if your Apprenticeship Levy pot doesn’t cover the full cost of your chosen training.

You only pay 10% of the extra training costs above your Levy limit and the government will take care of the rest. Even if you’re limited by your Apprenticeship pot, you can still expand your workforce at an accelerated rate without worrying about funding.

“Non-Levy-payers don’t get anything”

The non-Levy-payers haven’t been forgotten. If your organisation doesn’t pay the Apprenticeship Levy but wants to take on digital apprenticeships, then they can benefit from the government’s 90/10 initiative.

In this situation, you decide the amount of apprenticeship training you want and pay 10% of the total cost, the government pays the other 90%.

Unsure if you’re eligible? Find out now.

We can help you make the most of your training budget

While the Levy isn’t customisable, Firebrand’s apprenticeship programmes are. As the UK’s Digital Apprenticeship Provider of the Year 2018 (AAC Awards), Firebrand’s industry recognised training has the width to cater for all business requirements. Take a look at our programmes, ranging from network engineering to cyber security.

Your customisable programmes can be built to align specific technologies and vendors, including Microsoft, Cisco and CREST. With Firebrand, your IT apprentice could be fully trained on-the-job in just 13 months. This means that as an employer or HR professional, you’ll have access to skilled employees faster. At Firebrand, we can ensure your organisation receives the best possible outcome from the Apprenticeship Levy.

Call us on 0800 081 6022 to learn more about customisable Firebrand Apprenticeships.