Employers go back to college to learn about apprenticeship reforms

By Blackpool and the Fylde College

07 Dec 2016

Employers from across Lancashire went back to college last week to learn about government apprenticeship reforms.

The event was organised by the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and Blackpool and The Fylde College apprenticeship provider Illuminate Training Solutions (ITS) was asked to speak to members about how the reforms will affect their business.

Dawn Leak, director of employer responsiveness at ITS, said: “In spring 2017, the way the government funds apprenticeships in England is changing and larger companies will be required to contribute to a new apprenticeship levy.

“However, there will be changes to the funding for apprenticeship training for all employers so it is important businesses are aware of the changes.

“The Chamber of Commerce asked us to host this event to give employers a better understanding of how the new rules will affect them.

“We had some excellent feedback after the event and people hopefully went away with a more comprehensive knowledge of the process.” How the levy will work: Employers with an annual wage bill of more than £3m will be required to contribute 0.5 per cent of the total to the levy. A 'levy allowance' of £15,000 per year will be subtracted from the 0.5 per cent total. While the levy is being introduced in April, payments are set to start in May and it will be up to employers to notify HMRC each month as to whether they are eligible to pay. Once employers have registered and paid the levy, they will then be able to access funding through a digital apprenticeship service account. This will allow them to select and pay government-approved colleges and training providers and advertise apprenticeship vacancies. Initially, this service will only be available to businesses paying the levy, but the plan is to provide digital accounts for all employers by 2020. In addition to the amount employers pay into the account, the Government will apply a 10 per cent top up, meaning that for every £1 paid in the employer gets £1.10 to spend. Businesses will have 24 months to spend their apprentice vouchers before they expire.

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