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Apprenticeship Levy: Don’t miss the boat

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Written by: Southwestbusiness.co.uk | Posted 19 May 2017 8:19

Apprenticeship Levy: Don’t miss the boat
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It is a month on from the launch of the legislation designed to provoke a sea-change in how businesses approach training for staff.

The apprenticeship levy came into force at the start of April and firms begin paying the charges this month with digital vouchers also going out before the end of May.

According to the Department for Education some 7,000 firms have already registered at a rate which at its peak saw an average of 100 companies with more than 250 signing up.

With the help of experts Gloucestershire College we run through the detail again – for all of you who missed it (30 per cent of firms expected to sign up still have not done so).

Gloucestershire College, the county’s leading provider of apprenticeships, continues to help businesses levy paying an non levy paying understand these changes, how they will affect them and make the journey as smooth as possible for them; ultimately improving their workforce for the future.

The top-line changes which will affect businesses include:

Levy payers
• From April, businesses with an annual wage bill of more than £3 million now pay a 0.5 per cent apprenticeship levy.

• This money, plus a 10 per cent top-up from the government, will be added to their Online Apprenticeship Service (OAS) account and be available as digital vouchers from late May 2017.

• They will pay for apprenticeship training and assessments via the OAS from May 2017 – this can be spent on apprenticeship training for new apprentices and to upskill existing staff.

• Once the digital vouchers have been spent, businesses can still take on extra apprentices and the government will fund 90 per cent of the cost of the apprentice, the business pays the remaining 10 per cent

Non-levy payers
• Businesses with an annual waqe bill of less than £3 million won’t have to pay the levy.

• Instead the government will pay 90 per cent of any apprenticeship training costs, and the business will contribute just 10 per cent.

• The business will receive a £1,000 payment for recruiting 16-18 year old apprentices.

• If the business employs less than 50 staff and they recruit an apprentice aged 16-18, the training is fully funded.
• They also won’t have to pay National Insurance contributions for apprentices under 25.

Currently the budget for apprenticeships is £1.5 billion but the levy will provide an additional billion pounds by 2020.

Changing outdated perceptions of apprenticeships is something the College has strived to do in more recent years, and thanks to the introduction of the levy, many employers who previously only offered graduate programmes are now seeing apprenticeships as the solution to skills gaps at higher levels, and plan to recruit high level and degree apprentices instead.

Peter White, vice principal at Gloucestershire College, said: “Gloucestershire College is proud of its long tradition of delivering successful apprenticeships – at this time of change we are working across the county within many sectors, advising employers; guiding people to choose the right path for them; delivering high quality learning that works; and supporting our partners and apprentices every step of the way.

“The GC Business Hub is happy to help businesses on their journey through the apprenticeship reforms and levy in any way it can and we look forward to seeing just how these changes will benefit both the businesses and our apprentices in the future.”

For more information visit www.gloscol.ac.uk/levy or call the GC Business Hub on 01452 563403.

 

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