How can you use the Apprenticeship Levy to benefit your business?

How can you use the Apprenticeship Levy to benefit your business?
How can you use the Apprenticeship Levy to benefit your business?

As of May 2017, any employer with an employee payroll of over £3m will pay 0.5% into the Apprenticeship Levy. Therefore, you might as well make the most of it.

Let’s start with the good news… firms will receive an annual allowance of £15,000, which can be effectively deducted from the 0.5% paid. What’s more, employers paying the levy receive a 10% top-up towards monthly contributions they make.

Here are four ways to make the Apprenticeship Levy work for your business:

1. Upskill existing employees

Most people have heard about the levy but don’t really understand it or what it means for their business. It is a common misconception that apprenticeships are for technical or vocational skills, and a route to recruiting and training inexperienced, entry-level staff. The truth is that apprenticeships can offer a valuable way of upskilling all levels of staff, from newcomers right through to the executives.

Training does not necessarily have to be at a level higher than existing qualifications of the staff, so you’re not restricted there.

Bear in mind that, if you started training for apprentices before 1 May 2017, then the levy will not affect the way you fund it.

2. Train senior managers

You can use the levy payment to pay for leadership and management training of senior managers. Apprentices can be anyone aged 16 or over, as long as they spend at least a fifth of their working week training and studying. The duration of the apprenticeship must be between 1 and 5 years. After the process of hiring an apprentice has been completed, funds will be deducted from a company’s digital account each month.

3. Make the most of the allowance

Ensure the process of hiring an apprentice is completed through the digital system:

  • Make an account
  • Add any connected companies or charities and link your PAYE schemes
  • Sign the agreement available
  • Authorize payment to the training provider
  • Select the organisation in charge of assessing the apprenticeship
  • Choose an apprenticeship standard.
  • Report and pay the company’s levy payment to the HMRC through the PAYE process in order to receive digital vouchers which expire within 24 months.

4. Work with new talent on a trial basis

Attract new talent without having to make a permanent decision. The apprenticeship vouchers can be used for training and assessment with any approved provider. Your training organisation can advertise your apprenticeship through the government’s online apprenticeship search tool.

Be aware that the apprenticeship must conform to the following rules in order to qualify:

  • Work towards government approved standards and frameworks
  • Pay at least the minimum wage
  • An apprentice must work with experienced staff and learn job-specific skills.

If you would like to hear more about the Apprenticeship Levy, email me at

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.

How I mitigated £1.4 million apprenticeship levy spend for 2017/18 with re:find and how you can do the same.

Apprenticeship levy spend
Apprenticeship levy spend

I am beginning to feel like a serial blogger. I want to add photos to my blogs so I can put up them on Instagram but who cares about the Apprenticeship Levy on there? Well, you might be surprised as it seems everyone is talking about the Apprenticeship levy and of course, talent.

I can imagine you’re thinking it’s all doom and gloom…. or is it? The news about the Apprenticeship Levy spreads and suddenly, your finance director starts to think training is important and insists that the money should be spent on your employees and you’re in charge of it all! This may sound unnerving but in reality, it isn’t a bad thing, it’s a positive game changer…

Creativity is key and the question you have to ask yourself is if you have the skills and competencies internally to run this? What do you have to gain by buying or borrowing extra support and people? So, if you do decide to buy in, are they good enough as providers to align with your brand?

In order to mitigate the levy for one client, I asked re:find to help me pull together a team of people to project manage the roll-out of the apprenticeship sign up and to support the growth of the L&D department. As a result of this, my client will be one of the first UK companies to self-deliver the levy.

This client will be putting 9,000 people through industry-related apprenticeships over the next three-year period. They now have the systems, processes and capability to deliver this. The team is outstanding and it was actually hard to leave, but I was thankful to have the support of re:find.

Building a new project focused, driven learning and development team together so quickly is never easy.

You need a mixture of skills to ensure that people who understand the brand very quickly and what is needed to deliver such huge projects. It starts with the design of the team, the processes and systems, and ends with the people aligned to the delivery model.

We’ve had some people that have implemented roll outs previously for the Olympics but as with all teams, it’s important to find the right people who understand the culture and the brand to be able to hit the ground running – that is the key to success!

re:find are particularly strong at that, not only do they assist on finding the right people but they also ensure that they are focused and have a great understanding of the culture they would be working in. As I left the team to stand on their own foundations, they had already signed up over 500 apprentices and were delivering well.

Client confidentiality means I can’t share too much detail but suffice to say that you can gain up to £4,500 funding per apprentice with the new trailblazer funding in the UK if you self deliver. This helps you pay for the 20% of the time individuals need to spend in training on these courses.

If you are not planning to self-deliver then you need to think about how you are managing your levy in the most effective way possible. It’s just another project, so there’s no need to overthink it! There are really only a few questions that stand out in an area that appears more complex than it really is.

  • What are the skills that need to be delivered for your business strategy and TNA?
  • How can you develop an apprenticeship to fill that gap?
  • Should you self-deliver or gain support from a third party supplier?

I am really excited about the levy and how much HR will now grow creatively over the next few years to deliver this new vision of apprenticeships for all.

Here at Waponi HR, we are happy to offer your teams bite-sized help and support when and where you need it. It’s time to change the interim market, tailor support and deliver outcomes!

Thank you to Karen for sharing her experiences of creating a team to support the Apprenticeship Levy funding. You can find out more about Karen and Waponi HR here.

Do you want to find out more about how re:find can help you create a strong and dynamic team to take on the apprenticeship training programs?

You can email me at

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You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.