Time Is Running Out WebIn support of National Apprenticeship Week 2019, St Helens College has created a quick guide for employers to understand the apprenticeship levy and to highlight how your levy funds can be spent effectively.

What is the apprenticeship levy?

In May 2017, the Government introduced a levy for apprenticeships. The purpose of the levy is to encourage employers to invest in apprenticeship programmes and to raise additional funds to improve the quality and quantity of apprenticeships.

Who pays the apprenticeship levy?

Employers with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million, have to pay 0.5% of their pay bill into an electronic account, regardless of whether or not they employ apprentices. All employers will receive £15,000 from the UK Government to offset against the levy – paid in monthly installments of £1,250.

If your annual pay bill is less than £3 million, you do not need to pay into the levy. However, you can still employ apprentices with Government support. The Government will ask you to make a 10% contribution to the cost of apprenticeship training and they will pay 90% of the rest. You will have to pay this directly to the provider and you will be able to spread it over the duration of the apprenticeship.

What can the levy be spent on?

Your levy allowance of £15,000 in your digital account, or funding provided by the Government through co-investment, can only be used towards the costs of apprenticeship training and end-point assessment. These funds cannot pay for wages, travel or subsidiary costs, managerial costs, work placements, traineeships, or the costs of setting up an apprenticeship programme.

Are apprenticeships limited to particular industries/sectors and qualifications?

Apprenticeships are available across a wide variety of industries. St Helens College offer apprenticeships in business, engineering, management and leadership, science and many more.

Apprenticeships are available from level 2 (GCSE equivalent) right through to levels 6 and 7 (equivalent to a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree). Some apprenticeships may also offer additional professional qualifications, such as AAT and CIPD.

Does the levy only fund new recruits or can existing staff be developed through an apprenticeship programme?

The levy can be used to fund any type of apprenticeship - you can either recruit new staff and train them through an apprenticeship programme or you can upskill existing staff to develop your workforce with higher level skills.

The benefits of either option can often include an increase in overall productivity and efficiency, a reduction in recruitment costs and enhanced employee satisfaction and retention.

83% of employers would recommend apprentices to other businesses and 78% say that apprentices have improved productivity!

Time is running out – use it, don’t lose it!

Almost two years have passed since the apprenticeship levy was introduced in May 2017, and with a time limit of 24 months in which to start spending it, time is running out. If you have not used your levy funds, don’t worry - there is still time to do so.

We are here to support you, offer advice and help you to identify your skills and training needs, so that you are comfortable with how you spend your levy funds.

How St Helens College can help your company

Our strong collaborations with hundreds of local, regional and national employers, make us one of the largest apprenticeship providers in the region and with our extensive experience and knowledge, you can be assured that we can provide the best advice, guidance, and support throughout this change.

Whether you are new to apprenticeships or are already delivering them, our team of specialists can work with you to:

  • Help you understand what the apprenticeship levy means for your business
  • Develop an apprenticeship strategy to ensure your business maximises its return on the levy investment
  • Help you understand the apprenticeship standards and how your existing workforce development plans could benefit
  • Recruit and select apprentices and develop career pathways
  • Help you identify apprenticeship progression routes for existing employees
  • Create a communications strategy, for example learning at work days, to drive apprenticeships forward in your organisation

Contact us

If you would like to take on an apprentice, or if you need further clarification on what the levy means for you and your organisation, contact our Business Development Team on 0800 99 66 99 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.