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SEMLEP's Apprenticeships Portal   You are here: Home » Apprenticeships

There has never been a better time to employ an apprentice or start an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships can develop and train people in almost all business types and sectors, at all levels - from GCSE to Masters; for all ages from 16; for both new recruits and existing employees. 

Last year, 16,800 people across the South East Midlands area participated in apprenticeships. 

Latest figures from the National Apprenticeship Service states that:

  • Apprentices boost productivity on average by £214 per week
  • 87% of employers were satisfied with their apprenticeship programme
  • 75% businesses reported an improvement in the quality of their product or service by having an apprentice

SEMLEP is keen to support Government plans to increase the number of apprenticeship starts, helping businesses transform their workforces and creating a wave of fresh opportunities for a new generation of skilled staff who want to earn while they learn.

What are we doing for you?

SEMLEP, working with our partners, provides support so that local businesses, young people and schools benefit from apprenticeships. 

Business support

  • The Apprenticeships information portal below includes FAQs from businesses about the Apprenticeships Levy, information about networks and resources to help you decide on the best apprenticeship route for you, and registration details for levy payers. 
  • SEMLEP's Growth Hub, Velocity facilitates a dedicated apprenticeship support service for SME's, funded by European Social Fund to guide you through the apprenticeship funding process:
                    • Help find new recruits, with free advertising 
                    • Get your staff ready for an apprentice
                    • Get involved in our Apprenticeship Ambassador programme
  • We can put you in touch with companies who have experience with employing apprentices and offer guidance and peer-to-peer assistance. SMEs can also register with the online business community Apprentice Makers South East Midlands Network. We can also out you in touch with volunteer Apprentice Ambassadors who can talk to you about their experiences and what works best in an apprenticeship. 

Support for Young people and schools

  • Through the Apprenticeship Champions programme, we aim to coach one person in every school to raise awareness of the benefits of apprenticeships among young people and be responsible for sharing apprenticeships resources, including information on how to apply to the programme.
  • Our Apprenticeship Ambassadors are a group of young people who have completed, or are undertaking an apprenticeship. They visit schools to inform peers and parents about what it's like to do an apprenticeship. 

Enterprise Adviser Network

Working with the Careers and Enterprise Company, our Enterprise Adviser Network brings together business leaders, schools and colleges and careers education providers to work collaboratively to facilitate quality, inspirational and relevant careers guidance for young people aged 11 to 19. 

 

For more information about any of our Apprenticeships work, contact Paul Thompson, Skills and Enterprise manager or the team at SEMLEP.  

Apprenticeship Levy

Does the levy apply to my business?

  • The levy will apply to all UK employers in all sectors with an annual pay bill of more than £3m.
  • If you are unsure whether the levy applies, or if you would like to estimate how much levy will be required to pay, use the estimate my apprenticeship funding tool - https://estimate-my-apprenticeship-funding.sfa.bis.gov.uk/
  • There is currently no government plan to extend the levy to those with less than a £3m pay bill.

Information for levy payers

  • Starts on 6th April 2017, at a rate of 0.5% of pay bill, through PAYE.
  • A £15,000 allowance – like a tax allowance, not cash – will be deducted from the amount due.
  • The amount due will be paid monthly via HMRC and calculated based on an estimated annual pay bill.  Detailed HMRC guidance regarding how it will be calculated will follow mid-December.
  • In addition to a levy payment, Government has proposed a target for public sector employers in England of 2.3% apprenticeship starts each year based on their headcount of employees.  
  • Levy funds will be available to spend on apprenticeship training through an online Digital Apprenticeship Service.  

Digital Apprenticeship Service

  • From January 2017, levy employers will create an account on a new Digital Apprenticeship Service.
  • First funds available to spend will appear in their account in late May 2017. In addition to the levy amount, Government will also provide a 10% top up to each account.
  • Levy funds can only be spent on training employees where their main place of employer is ‘England’ (there is continuing dialogue regarding how the devolved nations will spend their levy)
  • Digital account funds cannot be used for wages or managerial costs. 
  • Funds can be used to train existing employees – normally to undertake an apprenticeship at a higher level or at the same or lower level if to acquire substantive new skills.
  • It should be noted that unused funds will expire after 24 months.
  • During 2018, the government aims to offer a facility to transfer up to 10% of levy funds to another employer with a digital account or to an Apprenticeship Training Agency – there will be no transferable fund options during the first year.

Calculating the cost of apprenticeships from May 2017

  • The government is also reforming the apprenticeship funding rates and rules.  For an apprenticeship that starts before 1st May 2017, it will be funded through the existing system.  Starts after the 1st May will fall under a new funding system. 
  • Under the new system, each apprenticeship will be placed in a funding band.  Employers will be able to negotiate the best price with training providers. 
  • There will be an upper cap but no lower limit. 
  • Extra support will be given for 16-18-year-olds, individuals who are disadvantaged, STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and Maths and English training. 
  • For employers with less than 50 employees, 100% of the training costs will be covered for 16-18 apprentices (or 19-24-year-olds formerly in care or with an education, health and care plan).

Need more information?

The National Apprenticeship Service provides a dedicated service to employers, offering free expert advice and support to businesses looking to:

  • recruit apprentices
  • take on a trainee for the first time
  • expand your existing programmes

Call the National Apprenticeship Service on 08000 150 600 or visit their website for more details.

Registration for levy payers

The government’s reforms to apprenticeships is aimed to put employers in control of their own workforce development. The apprenticeship service will help employers invest in the skills and training their organisation needs to succeed.

Levy-paying employers can register on the apprenticeship service to:

  • create an account
  • add organisations (if their organisation is connected)
  • link their PAYE schemes
  • invite members of their team to use the service

It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes for employers to set up an account, but there are some things you can do in advance to speed it up. The register to manage your apprenticeship funds page explains the process.

Employers with any questions about their account, can seek guidance at:

A step-by-step guide to the apprenticeship service for levy-paying organisations can be found here.

The apprenticeship levy

In spring 2017, the way the government funds apprenticeships in England is changing. Some employers will be required to contribute to a new apprenticeship levy, and there will be changes to the funding for apprenticeship training for all employers. The apprenticeship levy begins on 6 April 2017.

The levy requires all employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill of over £3 million each year, to invest in apprenticeships.

Employers won’t be able to pay for apprenticeships until they have started paying the levy (from May onwards).

Read more at Apprenticeship funding: how it will work.

The apprenticeship service

Through the apprenticeship service, all levy-paying employers can:

All levy-paying and non-levy paying employers can:

  • find - ‘find apprenticeship training’ gives employers easy-to-digest information on the choices available to them - employers can search for and find an appropriate standard or framework, a quality-assured training provider, and compare one provider with another
  • recruit - through the recruit an apprentice service, training providers can post vacancies for apprenticeships and traineeships on behalf of employers - this will be opened to employers at a later date

Registration for levy payers

The Department for Education and the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) are encouraging large employers to sign up and register for the apprenticeship service, in readiness for the launch of the apprenticeship levy on 6 April 2017.

The apprenticeship service is an online digital system (similar to online banking) that has been set up to support the apprenticeship levy.

The levy will require employers, with a wage bill of over £3 million a year, to pay 0.5% of their wage bill into the apprenticeship service, to encourage them to invest into apprentices.

The online service then allows those employers to financially manage their apprenticeship programme and help them to estimate their financial spend and recruit apprentices through their training providers. It will help employers:

  • focus on their business priorities
  • address skills shortages head on
  • invest in the skills and training to help their organisations succeed

To register, levy-paying employers should have:

  • their Government Gateway login details for PAYE schemes they want to include
  • the details for each organisation that will be making an agreement with a training provider for apprenticeship training, including Companies House or charity number

The register to manage your apprenticeship funds page provides more guidance.

Information for non-levy payers

  • There is currently no government plan to extend the levy to those with less than a £3m pay bill
  • Non-levy paying small and medium businesses will be asked to only fund 10% of the cost of training for an apprentice, the Government funding the balance of 90%
  • Small businesses with 49 or fewer staff that train an apprentice aged 16-18 will pay nothing towards the cost of training (the Government funding 100%). This also applies if the apprentice is aged 19-24 and formerly in care or if they have an Education Health & Care Plan (EHCP).
  • In addition, an extra £1,000 grant will be paid to any SME who takes on a 16-18-year-old, or a 19-24-year-old who has previously been in care
  • There is provision for additional support for SMEs who take on those with additional learning needs
  • Non-levy payers will continue to make payments for their apprenticeship training direct to training providers.  However, it is planned that, by 2020, all employers (levy and non-levy payers) will use the Digital Apprenticeship Service to choose and pay for all their apprenticeship training.

Employing an apprentice

Choosing your training provider

Employers looking to take on apprentices can use an online search tool hosted by the National Apprenticeship Service. 

Training providers have recently completed an application process to join a Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers, aligning with the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy.  It is planned that the Register will reopen three times per year for new providers to join.

Choosing the right apprenticeship programme

Through the government's Apprenticeships Reforms, new apprenticeships standards are developed by employer groups known as 'Trailblazers'.  These standards show what an apprentice will do and the skills required of them. 

  • The list of current Apprenticeship Standards is available on the GOV.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeship-standards-list-of-occupations-available
  • The list shows the level of apprenticeship (from Intermediate Level 2 up to Higher, Degree and Post Graduate at Level 7), the stage of development and whether it’s ready for delivery.
  • Employers are invited to review the list of Standards that are available and start talking to training providers.  If there is an occupation that is missing, employers are invited to group together and send in a proposal to develop a new Standard.  

Apprenticeship support for small and medium businesses

The Government have simplified the funding rules from April 2017 with larger companies with an annual £3 million pay bill contributing to apprenticeship training costs via a levy. The result of this is that there are some new incentives for small and medium employers:

  • Non-levy paying small and medium businesses will be asked to only fund 10% of the cost of training for an apprentice, the Government funding the balance of 90%
  • Small businesses with 49 or fewer staff that train an apprentice aged 16-18 will pay nothing towards the cost of training (the Government funding 100%). This also applies if the apprentice is aged 19-24 and formerly in care or if they have an Education Health & Care Plan (EHCP).
  • In addition, an extra £1,000 grant will be paid to any SME who takes on a 16-18-year-old, or a 19-24-year-old who has previously been in care
  • There is provision for additional support for SMEs who take on those with additional learning needs

To assist small and medium businesses to develop their workforce through Apprenticeships, our Velocity Growth Hub, with support from ESF funding, have a new resource to guide you through the process.

The support includes:

  • Helping with finding new recruits with free advertising for your Apprenticeship vacancies
  • Getting your current staff ready to start an Apprenticeship
  • Offering pathways to higher and degree-level Apprenticeships
  • An opportunity to raise your business profile through our Apprenticeship Ambassador scheme

Visit our website at www.velocitybusinesssupport.com/apprenticeship or call on 01480 409309

Other useful websites:

www.getingofar.gov.uk/employers

www.gov.uk/take-on-an-apprentice

Twitter:

@GetInGoFar

@SEMLEP and @VelocityGrowth 

Apprenticeship Ambassadors

The Apprenticeship Ambassadors are a group of young people who have done, or are currently undertaking, an apprenticeship. They are keen to act as role models to encourage other young people to become and inform parents of the benefits of becoming, an apprentice.

For more information or if you have an apprentice that you would like to become an Ambassador, representing both themselves and you organisation, please contact Paul Thompson, Employer and Skills Manager at paul.thompson@semlep.com.

Resources

Apprenticeship Vision 2020

Read the English Apprenticeships Vision, published by BIS HERE. This document includes a foreword from Sajid Javid MP and Nicky Morgan MP, outlining the Government's current vision for apprenticeships, helping to create three million apprenticeship starts by 2020.

Apprenticeships: A New World

Please click here to view the Apprenticeships: A New World presentation from the event which took place on Thursday 1st December 2016 at the Open University.