Levy or non-levy payers - apprenticeships can be for everyone

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Date: 6th Mar 2018

Use it or lose it.

That’s basically what you need to know about the apprenticeship levy if your business has to pay it.

The introduction of the apprenticeship levy last year means employers in any sector with a pay bill of more than £3 million per year have to pay 0.5 per cent into a digital account which receives a 10% top-up from the government.

Employers can use their apprenticeship ‘pot’ to access the new apprenticeship ‘standards’, which now include degree apprenticeships from higher education providers – like Bucks New University.

Higher and degree apprentices spend 80% of their time in their job role and 20% ‘off-the-job’ with a mix of University teaching and work-based training with their employer in the workplace.

But statistics released by the Department for Education at the end of last year showed that only just over half of those paying into the levy have signed up to use it.

Steve Dewhurst, Director of Strategic Planning and Apprenticeships at Bucks New University, said: “This is a great opportunity for levy employers to invest in the development of skills and expertise that is lacking in their workforce, or is difficult to recruit. Bucks can help you from the start to finish plan and develop a flexible approach to using levy funds effectively and securing return on that investment”.

But what about smaller employers who don’t pay the levy?

Even if a business or employer has a pay bill of under £3m they can take on apprentices and will generally pay just 10% of the cost of the apprenticeship training.

Bucks New University has been given a funding allocation to deliver apprenticeship training to non-levy employers.

Steve explained: “Just two per cent of employers in the UK are eligible to pay into the levy, so it is good news that small businesses, who are the life-blood of our regional economy, can also benefit from the new apprenticeships, and at a much lower cost.

“We are committed to providing higher skills development opportunities across our region to employers of all sizes and sectors and the University’s Apprenticeships Team can help you to find the right apprenticeship solution and make it as simple as possible to manage.”

Bucks, which is on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers, is continually developing new degree apprenticeships in areas including early years education, nursing, engineering, management, accountancy, legal services and digital technology.

Sean Mackney, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education at Bucks, said: “The funding for apprenticeship degrees will allow small businesses to invest in their employees, supporting their career goals as well as providing businesses with the skills base they need to succeed.

“At Bucks we have a rich 125-year history of providing employment-focused and skills-based teaching. Our programme range gives us leverage to offer a comprehensive and personalised package to all employers, designed in partnership with them, which meets both organisational and individual needs.”

If you are an employer who would like Bucks to provide your apprenticeship scheme or would like to discuss your option, please contact apprenticeships@bucks.ac.uk, call 01296 744202 or visit our dedicated page.

If you are a potential student and are interested in apprenticeships please visit the Government's portal.

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