The most recent release of Apprenticeship and Levy Statistics has reported an increase of 4.7% in apprenticeship starts in 2018/19 to 393,400 compared to the previous year (view full report). However, this increase continues to be dwarfed by pre-levy starts which accounted for 509,400 starts in 2015/16.
Apprenticeship Levy transfer
From April 2019, levy-paying employers (an employer with a pay bill over £3 million each year) have been able to transfer a maximum amount of 25% of their annual levy to other employers. They can make transfers from their apprenticeship account to as many employers as they choose. Levy-paying employers may struggle to spend their levy for a variety of reasons such fulfilling their workforce development ambitions with surplus of levy funds remaining or employers having their own training and development programmes that are outside of the scope of the levy.
Employers need to take account of state aid rules when receiving funds from other organisations. Further guidance can be found on the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) website and support is also available from the London Progression Collaboration.
As of 31 October 2019, there were 1,710 commitments entered into the Apprenticeship Service where the transfer of levy funds between Apprenticeship Service accounts has been approved. Of the 1,710 fully agreed transferred commitments, 830 have so far been recorded as ‘apprenticeship starts’ in the 2018/19 academic year.
Levy transfer best practice
At West London Business we believe far more of the underspent Apprenticeship Levy could and should be transferred to local SMEs. A great example of levy transfer is how Royal Mail is supporting North West Ambulance Service by transferring levy funds as part of their commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility.
We are always keen to hear from members who have participated in – or are considering – transferring their Apprenticeship Levy to support another business recruit an Apprentice in West London. Please submit your stories to Ceara Roopchand (Education & Skills Policy Advisor) at firstname.lastname@example.org.