Apprenticeship levy transfer service launches online
Large businesses will be able to easily pledge funds to smaller businesses through a new government portal that aims to create and recruit more apprenticeship opportunities.
The online apprenticeship levy transfer service rolled out on 13 September, making it easier for large employers that pay the apprenticeship levy to spend their levy funds.
The apprenticeship levy is a tax that applies to all businesses with an annual wage bill over £3 million. Large employers can already transfer up to 25 per cent of their annual levy pot to support other employers to take on apprentices.
Many employers have already taken advantage of this opportunity, including Amazon, Co-op and Lloyds Banking, supporting other businesses with a funding boost.
The new service intends to simplify the process for both employers looking to transfer funds and businesses wanting to access funding. Levy paying employers can now advertise their funding pledges on a dedicated gov.uk page, enabling a much wider range of businesses to browse and apply for available funds.
It allows levy funds to be used more easily to support apprenticeships in both larger companies and in smaller businesses. Opening access to funds for training, the service is part of the government’s effort to address the skills gaps in sectors such as construction, health, digital and the creative industries.
The new service also gives businesses a greater freedom to target their pledges towards sectors and communities they want to support.
Levy paying employers including Mace Group, Amazon and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust have already pledged £635,000 for the 2021-22 financial year with more expected to pledge in the coming weeks.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said the government had seen an increase in apprenticeships since setting out its Plan for Jobs in July 2020.
“Our small and medium-sized businesses are the cornerstone of our economy, and so I’m thrilled that we’re making it easier for them to take on apprentices,” Mr Sunak said.
Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Gillian Keegan added: “Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for employers to ensure they have a highly motivated and diverse pool of talent in their workforce, while also enabling people to get the skills and experience they need to get ahead.”
Global consultancy and construction company Mace Group took part in a pilot to test the new system last month, pledging £100,000, and will transfer a further £350,000 to £500,000 each year for other businesses to access. The funds will be advertised on the dedicated gov.uk page later this month so that businesses in the construction sector can access and create apprenticeship opportunities, addressing skills gaps in the sector.