As we take a moment to look back on the past year of Apprenticeship Levy funding, amid mixed reports and opinions in the press, could it be time for employers who have been reluctant, to finally take advantage of the opportunity the Levy presents?

According to a recent study, just one-in-seven business owners feel that the Apprenticeship Levy is fit for purpose, with many more claiming that the system is unusable. But at Solvo Vir, we would strongly urge these same employers to consider the genuine benefits of the Levy – such as strengthening the skills of your employees and in turn, their business.

The Apprenticeship Levy might seem like a complicated scheme and daunting to implement, but as an employer with a successful business, all you really need to know is this: access to Levy funding will allow you to build on existing talents, broaden the skillsets of your people and gain industry-recognised qualifications that will give your organisation a boost.

Apprenticeship funding for employers

The Apprenticeship Levy calculation is a two-step process. The Levy is billed at a personalised cost based on the size of your business. But the government will straight away reduce that bill by £15k. So, once you’ve worked out the cost of the Apprenticeship Levy to your business, all you need to pay is the remainder.

On top of that, the Government will also apply a top-up grant equivalent to 10% of your own contributions, giving you even more to spend.

This pot of money can be used to access training courses and apprenticeship programmes for your existing employees which can be supplied by accredited training providers who specialise in the qualifications most suitable to your industry.

At Solvo Vir, we specialise in providing training and apprenticeship qualifications to Levy-paying businesses. There are various benefits to this, which affect both the employee and the employer.

Many learners who have gained apprenticeship qualifications through on-site training have gone from strength to strength, both personally and professionally. With some even being promoted by their employers within the first 12 months.

This is not only great for the employee, but for the employer too. Remember – if you develop the existing talents in your team in preparation for growth, you could save on expensive recruitment fees and avoid painful skill gaps later down the line.

Unlock your Levy funds and strengthen your business

The Apprenticeship Levy can be used to train learners who have been in their roles for a number of years, who are already familiar with the industry, but keen to gain a deeper understanding and to formalise the knowledge they have gained through hands-on experience.

There are several benefits to helping your employees gain a formal, relevant qualification which leads them to be recognised as an expert. Employees who have graduated through our apprenticeship courses claim that they now feel an additional gravitas when talking to clients, as well as colleagues, and are more comfortable during conversations about business processes.

The delivery of these qualifications has enhanced the skills and knowledge of people within an organisation, thus leading to leaner business processes and stronger management procedures. All of which are the building blocks of a strong and successful business.

How to access my Apprenticeship Levy funds in England

You will only pay into the Apprenticeship Levy if you have an annual PAYE bill of £3m or more – that’s everything that your organisation pays out to employee wages. If your PAYE bill is less than this, you will be required to contribute 10% of the cost of each apprenticeship. In a co-investment movement, the government will fund the remaining 90% of apprenticeship costs.

If your PAYE bill is over £3m, you have a legal requirement to pay into the Levy, and the amount you pay is based on the size of your PAYE bill. The combined funds are paid into a Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) account. This is where you can access your employee training funds.

Carl Smith, Founder and Managing Director at Solvo Vir

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