Apprentice Funding – An Overview
In May 2017, the UK Government introduced Apprenticeship reforms designed to boost the productivity of the UK’s economy and increase the skill level of our workforce. In order to fund the apprenticeship scheme, an Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in which companies with an annual wage bill in the UK over £3million are required to pay 0.5% of their annual wage bill into a digital account called the Apprenticeship Service (AS). If companies choose not to use levy funds to invest in their business, the balance will be re-distributed to other companies to fund their training and development activities.
NCfN has a network of Approved Providers who deliver high- quality technical education and vocational skills’ training. These Approved Providers play a key role in their local economy and their communities, by providing a broad and deep range of Apprenticeships, further and higher vocational and technical education, which includes a significant apprenticeship offer in partnership with employers.
What can NCfN Approved Providers offer you?
Approved Providers can provide you and your organisation with the expertise and support to guide you effortlessly through the education and Apprenticeship process. They will take a consultative approach to a company’s needs and have a robust process in place to ensure a suitable match to your individual requirements.
Apprenticeship Levy Employers with a wage bill of less than £3 million a year will not need to pay the levy. At least 95% of non-levy-paying employers’ Apprenticeship training and assessment costs in England will be paid for by the government. The government will ask these employers to make a 5% cash contribution to the cost, paid directly to the provider, and the government covers the rest (up to the maximum agreed funding band). If you’re an employer with a pay bill over £3 million a year, you must pay the apprenticeship levy. You will report and pay your levy to HMRC through the PAYE process. Levy funds will create opportunities for young people across the country, delivering the skills employers need.
All levy employers will have a government digital account for apprentice training. Find out more here: https://www.gov.uk/ government/ publications/apprenticeships-guide-for-employers.
An Employer Incentive payment of £2000 is available to any employer taking on an Apprentice aged 16-24 and £1500 for an apprentice aged over 25+. Employers who recruit an apprentice aged 16-18 years, can claim a £3k incentive. If you are a small employer (with fewer than 50 employees) there will be no cost to you for training an apprentice aged 16-18 If your business has more than 50 employees, you will pay only 5% of the training costs of each apprentice. Employers of this size pay for all ages, with no fee remission available for 16-18-year olds. Employers of apprentices under the age of 25 do not pay secondary Class 1 (employer) National Insurance contributions for their apprentice.
With the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, the Education & Skills Funding Agency has published a new set of funding rules for employers and providers in England. One of the key elements requires employers to give all apprentices at least 20% of their total working hours for “off-the-job” learning. This is defined as learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of an apprenticeship. This can include training that is delivered at the Apprentice’s normal place of work but must not be delivered as part of their normal working duties. The off-the-job training must be directly relevant to the Apprenticeship and could include:
- The teaching of theory (for example, lectures, role playing, simulation exercises, online learning, manufacturer training);
- Practical training;
- Time spent writing assessments and assignments;
- Learning support;
- Shadowing and mentoring;
- Industry visits and attendance at skills competitions.
Generic Apprenticeship Process
- Arrange to meet with a NCfN Approved Provider who will discuss all your companies training needs and complete a Health and Safety appraisal.
- You decide which training opportunities suits your business needs. You can upskill your existing work force it’s not just about recruiting a new Apprentice.
- You will be sent a Training Agreement authorising the Approved Provider to provide the training along with a proposal you can read through and sign.
- When recruiting an Apprentice, Approved Providers may help in advertising the job role from within its student body and using social media resources (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). You can interview and decide on the right candidate for your business. Alternatively, you can source your own candidates.
- Once a confirmed start date has been agreed the Approved Provider will be in contact within 2 weeks to arrange an information and guidance appointment followed by their induction (this may be a little longer for upskilling existing staff).
- A commitment statement will be produced and signed by the company, the Apprentice and the Approved Provider. You will then be sent a copy of this for your records. Training will commence including the 20% off the job component.
- Progress reviews will be carried out on a monthly basis. These will be carried out by a specialist advisor with the company and the Apprentice.
- An End Point Assessment (EPA) gateway will be arranged towards the end of the Apprenticeship to ensure that your apprentice is ready for the EPA assessment. Any support needed will be provided to ensure Apprentices achieve successful outcomes.
- On successful achievement of the apprenticeship certification will be claimed, an exit interview will be carried out with the company and the Apprentice. Finally, the Approved Provider will discuss potential and appropriate progression routes for the Apprentice.
Government Funding Rules are subject to change. This guide is based on the latest guidance, September 2020.