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The Apprenticeship Levy

Apprenticeships are a great way for businesses to get the skills they need into teams, for new, or existing staff, and don’t cost as much as typical recruitment. But, the way apprenticeships are funded has changed. From May 2017, some employers have been required to contribute to a new apprenticeship levy.

The apprenticeship levy is part of a series of apprenticeship reforms to encourage employers to develop or upscale apprenticeship activity within their business.

If you are a levy paying businesses you are now in the driving seat in terms of apprenticeship choice. You can choose who you want to deliver your apprenticeship training and you can negotiate the fees and the skills needed for specific apprenticeships in your business.

Nestle are a levy paying business and are reaping the rewards from developing a highly skilled and loyal workforce through their investment in apprenticeships. Jill Coyle, Apprentice Programme Lead at Nestle gives us her take on the levy and offers advice on how to use the levy in a manageable and impactful way in your business.

You will learn

  • What the apprenticeship levy is
  • How you can use the levy to your advantage in your business
  • What to look for in apprenticeship training services

What is the apprenticeship levy?

If you operate in the UK and have a pay bill over £3 million each year, then the levy encourages you to make an investment in apprenticeships. You get back the funds that are levied simply by investing in apprenticeship training.

Your levy funds are available monthly and you have a 2 year window to spend the funds in your account. You will see your levy funds entering your digital account as you pay the levy, and funds leaving the account each month as you pay for training, a bit like online banking. Make sure you are buying apprenticeship training that gives your business exactly what it needs. 

[External video] What is the levy?

An employer’s explanation of the introduction of the apprenticeship levy.

24th November 2017

[External video] How do you calculate the levy?

A brief explanation of the levy and whether you hit the criteria.

24th November 2017

[External link] Government guidance on paying the apprenticeship levy

Use this link to access more detailed guidance on the processes involved in paying the apprenticeship levy.

27th November 2017

[External video] How do I know if I need to pay?

Guidance on who to speak to within your team about whether you are a levy payer.

27th November 2017

[External link] Estimate my apprenticeship funding

Access a tool to estimate if your organisation will pay the apprenticeship levy, how much your organisation will have available to spend and how much the government will contribute towards the cost of training.

29th November 2017

[External link] Government's basic PAYE tools

Once you know the amounts you are working with you can download the PAYE tool to help you manage your levy.

05th March 2018

[External video] What happens if I don’t spend my levy?

Don’t panic when you see the funds accumulating in your account. You have lots of opportunity to get the best out of this investment. This video includes some tips on how to approach your spend.

27th November 2017


What is an apprenticeship?

You may wish to recruit a new employee or up skill existing staff using your levy, however, apprenticeship reforms may mean that your understanding of an apprenticeship is now out of date.

[External video] What is an apprenticeship?

A video summary of the changes to apprenticeship and who they can benefit.

24th November 2017

[External video] What are the benefits of an apprentice?

96% of businesses say that apprenticeships bring benefits to their business. Offering a high quality apprenticeship can increase productivity and product quality, and boost staff morale and retention.

27th November 2017

[External link] Which of my employees could benefit?

You can train any individual in your business to undertake an apprenticeship at a higher level than a qualification they already hold.

24th November 2017

[External video] How do I recruit the best apprentices?

We are now in a world where an apprentices can be of any age. Take a look at this advice on some practices to consider to attract a wide range of applicants to your apprentice vacancies

27th November 2017

[External link] Employer guide to apprenticeships

If you aren’t sure which type of apprenticeships you need, or haven’t employed apprentices before, take a quick look at this guide for employers.

24th November 2017

[External link] Guide to higher apprenticeships

If you have graduates within your business who need to acquire new technical skills to do their job, an apprenticeship could be a solution to develop that required new knowledge.

24th November 2017


Apprenticeship skills

New apprenticeship standards are occupation-focused; not qualification-led to make sure that business owners can use apprentices to get the skills they actually need in their business.

[External video] What skills can apprenticeships deliver for business?

An explanation of new apprenticeships standards and their benefits for business.

27th November 2017

[External video] Do apprenticeships deliver quality skills?

Success for an apprentice is proving that they can carry out all aspects of their job. They develop transferable skills and gain credibility too.

27th November 2017

[External link] The difference between apprenticeship standards and frameworks

By 2020, all existing apprenticeship frameworks will be switched off and replaced by standards. Here’s some detail on the difference between the two.

27th November 2017

[External link] Current apprenticeship standards

Access the list of current standards available here.

27th November 2017


Apprenticeship considerations for your business

There's a lot to consider when making use of apprenticeship training in your business for the first time. As you're investing time and money in your apprentice, you'll need to make sure you are both able to make the most of the opportunity it presents.

[External video] What to consider when looking at apprenticeships?

Think about the job roles and career paths within your business, and which type of training might be right- traditional and new apprenticeships are available in nearly all job roles.

27th November 2017

[External video] How to make the most of your apprenticeship

Things to consider when you are choosing an apprenticeship for your business.

27th November 2017

[External video] How much should I spend on apprenticeships?

This gives you an indication of what your levy payments should cover in terms of apprentice’s training, assessment and certification. Your levy funds cannot cover the salary costs of an apprentice, you will need to cover the costs of an apprentice’s wages yourself.

27th November 2017

[External link] Apprenticeship funding bands

You can find out how much you will typically spend on your required training by researching a bit about apprenticeship funding bands.

27th November 2017

[External video] Should I be using graduates or apprentices?

If you already have graduate recruits in your business you might like to think about how workforce development using apprenticeships can support this.

24th November 2017

[External link] Apprenticeships that work, CIPD guide

Using a workforce planning tool might help you come up with the right approach to apprenticeships across your business.

24th November 2017

[External link] Apprenticeships as an alternative to university degree

Discover higher and degree apprenticeships in more detail.

24th November 2017


Apprenticeship training

You will be responsible for ensuring that your apprentice receives the appropriate training. You should work closely with your chosen training provider to make sure they can offer exactly what your business needs. If you feel you have very specialist skills to be met you might want to consider getting involved in Apprenticeship Trailblazers. 

[External video] How to select a training provider

A critical success factor in an apprenticeship is the effective partnership between the training provider and the employer. Finding the right training provider for your business is essential. 

27th November 2017

[External link] Find apprenticeship training tool

You can look at all the available apprenticeship standards and frameworks and who can deliver them for you through Government's ‘Find apprenticeship training tool’.

27th November 2017

[External link] What to ask a training provider

There are some key questions to ask any training provider to make sure they understand your business and can deliver what you need.

27th November 2017

[External video] What does the apprenticeship training look like?

20% of apprentices’ time must be spent ‘off the job’ learning, but that doesn’t necessarily mean in a classroom. The 20% could encompass a whole range of learning that will develop the apprentice and bring benefits to your business too. Frequency of this training may also be flexible in order to suit your business needs. 

27th November 2017

[External video] Can I design my own apprenticeship?

Employers are now in the driving seat in terms of driving the breadth of apprenticeships available.  If you can’t find an apprenticeship that meets your needs there is an opportunity to get together with other businesses in your sector to design the knowledge, skills and behaviours you need in your workforce.

27th November 2017

[External link] Trailblazer guide for designing an apprenticeship standard

For more information about developing an apprenticeship standard you can refer to the Trailblazer guidance.

27th November 2017

[External link] Off the job training for apprentices

Best practice examples of how employers and training providers should meet the 20% off-the-job training requirement for apprentices.

27th November 2017


Apprenticeship support for businesses

If you have any questions about apprenticeships, get in contact with the National Apprenticeship Service by calling: 0800 015 0600

[External video] What is the Apprenticeship Service?

As a levy payer you will use the online Apprenticeship Service to pay for your apprenticeship training. Funds will be taken from your digital account within this system each month to pay your chosen training provider. 

27th November 2017

[External link] Registering for the Apprenticeship Service

For more help in signing up, read the blog post on 5 questions employers ask when registering for the apprenticeship service.

27th November 2017

[External link] Find apprenticeship training tool

You can look at all the available apprenticeship standards and frameworks and who can deliver them for you through Government's ‘Find apprenticeship training tool’.

27th November 2017

The How's Business guide to Apprenticeships

If you're interested in training your current staff or bringing on a new employee at a low cost, then apprenticeships are definitely for you. Plus, your apprentice will, on average, increase your weekly productivity by £214.

13th October 2017