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Tapping Into the Apprenticeship Levy to Upskill Your Team

The apprenticeship levy has been around since 2017, taxing businesses with payrolls over £3 million 0.5% on the excess. Market uncertainty has made companies more reluctant to hire new apprentices, especially when making decisions around furlough and redundancy.

Today, the focus is on upskilling and retraining current staff to help them meet the demands presented during a pandemic. With the risk of a second wave continuing into 2021, upskilling and reskilling your current teams should be a priority.

Fortunately, if your business has been contributing to the apprenticeship levy, the cost of training is already covered.

Does this only apply to apprentices?

One of the biggest misconceptions of the levy is that the benefits are only felt if you’re hiring young apprentices. The government scheme allows contributing companies to cover the cost of training courses by drawing from the levy. These can be employees of any seniority ranging junior salespeople to senior management members.

Why is training so important right now?

One of the problems facing businesses is the need to train staff with the skills necessary to survive the 2020 market. Across most sectors, money is tight, meaning the budgets usually set aside for development are redirected elsewhere. As a result, teams aren’t building the skills needed for the company’s survival over the coming years.

Working from home has now been established as a necessity for every business during the pandemic. As boardrooms switch to spare bedrooms, this remote way of working is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. Ensuring success in a new environment takes a new set of skills, training and time. 

Using the levy to train your team

A government report describes digital skills as “no longer optional.” 2/3rds of the jobs within UK Standard Occupation Classification list these skills as essential entry requirements. These stats show the importance of nurturing and developing internal talent.

Whether it’s adapting to new challenges or planned development, you don’t have to sacrifice training. By paying the apprenticeship levy, you’ve already covered the cost of available courses, all you need to do is start your claim.

What courses are available through the levy?

Another misconception is that the levy can only be used on apprentice-level courses, making it ineffective for companies aiming to upskill their current team. In reality, the funding can train people within your business at every level. 

Whether it’s new starters looking to build the basic skills, managers aiming to better serve their teams or executives who want to improve their leadership skills, the levy can fund their training. For example, we provide level 4 Sales Executive and 5 Operations Manager training, and the apprenticeship levy can cover the cost of each course.

How to access the levy?

To register and use the apprentice levy to your advantage, you need to:

  1. Create an account through the government website
  2. Add a PAYE scheme on behalf of your business
  3. Accept the ‘employer agreement’ with the ESFA

If you’re unsure on how the process works or want to find out more, our experts are ready to help. For over 25 years, we’ve been supplying businesses with advice around the latest apprenticeship schemes, and the levy is no different. To discover your next steps, get in touch today.


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