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Levy Paying Employers

You are a levy paying employer if you have a pay bill over £3m and you will have 0.5% of your salary bill deducted and placed into a digital account.

How can I spend/utilise the levy fund?

It must be spent with a recognised and registered apprenticeship training provider such as ProCo NW. The levy fund can only be spent on an approved apprenticeship standard or framework. It cannot be spent on anything else such as internal training or apprentice salaries.

You can visit here for more information or we can tell you about these.

How much does apprenticeship training cost?

It varies and is dependent on the level of standard or framework. All of this information can be provided by us or is available from any training provider and also from the government website.

How long do employers have to claim back their levy funds on apprenticeship training?

Levy vouchers will be valid for two years and you redeem this through your digital account. If you do not claim the levy back in this period, then other employers can access these funds to cover the training costs for more apprentices within their organisation.

Is the funding available for apprenticeships UK-wide?

No, England only. In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales apprenticeships have their own funding arrangements.

Are there any age restrictions for the apprentice to be eligible for the new funding?

No, you can use funds to train an apprentice of any age (starting at 16 or 15 if they start their apprenticeship after the last Friday of June of the academic year in which they have their 16th birthday).

However, it is best practice to use this to develop new skills be it existing staff (in a new/changed role within the company) or employing new staff.

Can I use the levy funds to offer apprenticeships to existing staff?

Existing staff will be eligible as long as the apprenticeship is relevant to their role and the most appropriate way of progressing/developing the learners’ career as a result i.e. upon completing the apprenticeship the member of staff will be promoted, given more responsibility or moved into a more senior role.

Are employers required to give apprentices time off work to study?

Yes, you must give apprentices time off to study during their working hours. The number of hours and study mode is dependent on the standard or framework and qualifications included. Do bear in mind that there will be no National Insurance payments for apprentices aged up to 24 after April 2016 as the government acknowledges employers must allow study time. During the apprenticeship there is a requirement for a minimum of 20 % ‘off the job’ training. This does not necessarily mean that apprentices must attend college, but they need to be undertaking some sort of training/development activity. We will explain how this will work.

Do employers have to use the job title ‘apprentice’ for these new recruits?

Job titles are set by your organisation; however, the apprentice must sign an apprenticeship agreement.

Can a graduate start an apprenticeship?

Yes, but this is dependent on the apprenticeship being in different area/ specialism to their degree and being relevant to their role.

How much do we pay apprentices?

It differs. There is an apprentice minimum wage. However, salaries are often much higher than this in some sectors and roles to attract the best candidates. The current minimum wage rate for an apprentice is £3.50 per hour. This rate applies to apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. Apprentices aged 19 or over who have completed their first year must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage for their age. We do encourage employers to pay their apprentices over the minimum apprenticeship wage.

Buying training if you don’t have enough in your apprenticeship service account – levy-paying employers

If you pay the levy, you may find that over the course of an apprenticeship the funds in your account aren’t enough to cover the full cost of the apprenticeship training and assessment you’d like to buy. This may be the case for employers who only pay a small amount of levy or have a variable pay bill and pay the levy in some months but not others.

If you don’t have enough in your account in a particular month, you will be asked to make a contribution to the extra cost of training and to pay this directly to the provider, rather than through your account. You will be able to spread this contribution over the lifetime of the apprenticeship and agree a payment schedule with your provider. There will be some government support to help you meet these additional costs, up to the maximum amount of funding available for that apprenticeship. As both you and government make a payment, we call this ‘co-investment’. This will be set at the same co-investment rate as for employers who do not pay the levy, with government paying 90% towards the extra cost of training and assessment and employers paying the remaining 10%.

What is the End Point Assessment (EPA)?

The introduction of independent end-point assessment (EPA) is one of the biggest changes in the Government’s Apprenticeship Reforms. This assessment only applies to standards and will not be used for frameworks.
End-point assessment is a new way of assuring quality in the apprenticeship system. It replaces the existing model of continuous assessment resulting in qualifications.

Once an apprentice has completed their apprenticeship, they will be ‘signed off’ by their employer as ready for end-point assessment of their knowledge and practical capabilities. In most cases, the assessment will be graded and must show the apprentice is fully competent and productive in the occupation.

The registered assessment organisation and the assessor must be independent of, and separate from, the training provided by the provider and employer.