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.

Introducing Sam Perry: The newest member of the re:find team

Meet our shared service search specialist
Meet our shared service search specialist

Today the newest member of the re:find team introduces himself: Meet our shared service search specialist, Sam Perry.

Recently, I have decided to make the move from a well-established accounting & finance recruitment business into a small niche boutique search firm. Having recruited in the Accounting & Finance space for around 8 years, I thought now was the time to change direction in my career, and to find a niche within the market.

So, who are re:find? re:find are an executive search business, based in Birmingham and London, focusing on the placement of senior professionals across the globe.

What do I love about re:find? It feels right. Having only been here for a few weeks, I feel I’ve settled in really well. Maybe it’s because I feel like I’m working with two best mates, and It’s a relaxed and grown up working environment. The quirky office setting in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter is a nice perk too. Not to mention that we have a huge life size canvas of a cow on the wall. I like cows. #CowFetish

I have some good company in the office too – a pretty, petite, blonde-haired individual – a real head-turner when we go for a stroll over by St Paul’s Cathedral at lunchtime. His name’s Teddy, a little white pug that perches himself under my desk most days, waiting for me to crack open the biscuit jar. I’m hoping to introduce him to my Belgian shepherd, Buddy soon. I’m sure they’ll get along splendidly….

It wasn’t just the above perks that makes re:find stand out; it’s not the fact I can rock up in shorts and flip flops most days, or the flexibility to be able to manage my own diary. It’s because they do things differently. Doesn’t every other agency say that? Of course they do. But having worked for a handful of reputable agencies across the Midlands, I can honestly say that we do. And here’s why.

Why? We care about candidate experience and prefer to approach people directly. The best individuals are currently being looked after by their employer, being progressed, developed, and constantly given new opportunities to help them succeed in their career. Therefore, we work with clients and candidates to deliver the best service possible.

So how do I do things differently now? What I love about my new role is that I have a lot more time to focus on what I should be doing for clients, using my expertise to find the people they DO want to hire. Having worked in finance for over five years and recruited finance, IT, Payroll and Procurement staff over an 8-year period, I have a good understanding of what people in these sectors actually do.

Matching the talent is essential but it’s not the only thing we focus on. We search to find the right cultural fit and we have a dedicated Occupational Psychologist on our books to back this up with assessment data.

As well as using the network of contacts I’ve built up over the years, we use external research teams to map markets and provide candidate data. We have a blend of on and offshore resources, who I work closely with. They sit for hours sifting through data and social networking sites, compiling relevant profiles for my search.

I now focus my time speaking to individuals that are suitable for the post, as opposed to speaking to so many that aren’t. I can really dedicate my time to understand these individuals, and ascertaining what value these people can add to the business I’m consulting for.

If you would like to know more about re:find and the services we provide, or to simply say hi, then feel free to give me a call on 07595719570 or email

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

70% of change programs fail, make sure yours isn’t one of them

70% of change programs fail
70% of change programs fail

Some things never change. However, some things have to change for the sake of progression. Without moving forward, we run the risk of becoming stagnant.

Many senior executives are aggressively trying to transform businesses across the globe, hoping to cut costs and improve performance by introducing innovative technology and changing behaviours and capabilities throughout organisations. Although change is an integral factor to the running of a business, according to McKinsey, 70% of change programs will fail. This is, to my mind, due to businesses forgetting something extremely key – people. Unfortunately, for management consultants and IT services firms, they are paid to get the new operating model or piece of IT in place, it is often not one of their main tasks to focus on the longer term, people impact.

The most important part of progression is to truly embrace the change, implementing this can often take a long time and can be a tricky thing to truly embed. In order to do this effectively, you need People Change experts who can work alongside a client’s internal team to deliver the change, upskill, transition and embed it, until you and the client are confident that this new approach is working as it should do.

It is all well and good stating that People Change experts are needed – but what should a good interim ‘people change expert’ look like?

  • They need to have a track record of delivering change related assignments (change assignments are typically ambiguous in nature and differ enormously from BAU roles, which are more process orientated).
  • They should be an expert in their chosen field and can demonstrate their success with tangible results.
  • They must come with a pre-prepared kit bag of tools that can be used immediately, with an ability to implement these from day one.
  • They are happy to challenge the status quo, benefitting the client without a personal agenda (this is why interim managers shouldn’t be considering permanent appointments).

To discuss your change program, you can email me on

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist 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.