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Apprenticeships and the levy

Find out what apprenticeships and the levy mean for your business, and how we can work with you to maximise apprenticeship opportunities in your organisation.

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Financial services apprenticeships are a great way for you to nurture your existing staff as well as to recruit new talent. Combining a mix of technical knowledge, professional experience and relevant work-based skills, apprenticeships enable your employees to study towards sector-leading, recognised professional qualifications and degree programmes in banking and finance which are supported by the Government.

What is the ‘apprenticeship levy’?

The aim of the apprenticeship levy is to support quality training by putting employers at the centre of the system. The levy gives employers control of apprenticeship funding.  

If you are a UK employer with an annual PAYE bill of over £3 million, then you will be paying the apprenticeship levy, charged at 0.5 per cent.  The levy is taken monthly by the HMRC and transferred into your online account with the Apprenticeship Service.




What you need to know

  • Each employer will receive an allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy payment
  • The Government provides a 10 per cent ‘top-up’ to an employer’s monthly levy contributions
  • The levy can only be used to fund the training and assessment of apprenticeships (not the wages of apprentices) in England
  • Each apprenticeship role sits under one of 30 funding bands, ranging from £1,500 to £27,000
  • These bands limit the amount an employer can use towards an individual apprenticeship
  • Digital accounts are accessed online and used by employers to ‘purchase’ training programmes from organisations that have been approved to deliver apprenticeship training
  • Levy payments expire after 24 months unless they are spent on approved apprenticeship schemes

How do you know if you need to pay the apprenticeship levy?

If you’re a UK employer with an annual PAYE bill of £3million, you’ll need to pay the apprenticeship levy.

If you’re a UK employer that pays less than £3million in their annual PAYE bill, you won’t need to pay the apprenticeship levy.

Less than 2% of UK employers pay the levy. So, if you are a non-levy paying organisation at least 90% of your apprenticeship training and assessment costs in England will be paid for by the Government. The Government will then ask you to make a 10%* contribution to the cost.  As a non-levy payer, you won’t use the online Apprenticeship Service.  Instead, you’ll agree on a payment schedule with your training provider and pay them directly.

*reducing to 5% (date to be announced in 2019).

How much does my organisation need to spend?

There are three questions you’ll need to ask yourself:

  1. Are you paying the apprenticeship levy?
  2. How much are you able to spend?
  3. How much will the Government contribute?
Estimate how much you could be spending on the apprenticeship levy. 

Estimate now

What are Apprenticeship Standards?

Groups of employers (known as ‘Trailblazers’) work together to design Apprenticeship Standards for occupations in different sectors.

The standards focus on the knowledge, skills and behaviours an employee should have to be successful in a specific role. Usually, they ask that apprentices complete an industry-relevant qualification.

Basic Apprenticeship rules

An apprentice must:

  • Be employed for a minimum of 30 hours per week
  • Be over 16 years of age
  • Be eligible to live and work in England
  • Undertake an apprenticeship at a level higher than their previous qualifications or undertake learning materially different to any qualification already held
  • Work with experienced staff
  • Undertake a minimum of 20% ‘off-the-job’ training
  • Be paid at least the Apprenticeship National Minimum Wage

Guides for employers

The National Apprenticeship Service has produced some useful guidance for apprenticeship employers. Download their guides today. 

Supporting your apprenticeships    Achieving the benefits of apprenticeships    Employers guide to apprenticeships
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