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£3bn of #Apprenticeship levy contributions from large businesses remains unspent

A college leader has urged businesses to use billions of pounds’ worth of unspent apprenticeship levy money before it is lost.

Gemma Knott, assistant principal for business growth at Coventry College, asked for employers to ‘give young people a chance’ and take advantage of the money available to them.

Recent figures have revealed that £3bn of apprenticeship levy contributions from large businesses, which covers the cost of training apprentices, remains unspent.

The money has come from 53,449 employers’ contributions, yet 80 per cent of those have failed to take advantage of the system.

From May, unspent levy funds will return to the Treasury on a monthly basis, with around £168 million estimated to return in May alone.

She said: “Companies need to see this as their pot of money, it is a dedicated resource which can be used to up-skill or re-skill staff, so I would encourage business leaders to use it before they lose it.

“Invest in your future workforce, this is not about just looking at current skills gaps but anticipating the future in a globally competitive market.

“Research shows that apprentices hired by companies are loyal, progress well and contribute massively to overall turnover, so give these young people a chance and they will pay you back.

“There is a much wider range of opportunities available too, companies can pass on up to 10 per cent of their levy monies to their supply chains, so if they cannot use it, they can at least help to make their supply chains more efficient and effective.

“At Coventry College we have a broad offer ranging from IT infrastructure to management apprenticeships, delivering value for money, great outcomes and equipping companies with the staff they need to future proof their organisations.”

The apprenticeship levy was introduced in April 2017 and is paid by all employers with a payroll of more than £3 million.

It is paid monthly at a rate of 0.5 per cent of a company’s total wage costs, with employers then able to access the funds through an online account.

Coventry College offers an ever-expanding programme of more than 70 different apprenticeships, ranging from recruitment to painting and decorating, and deals with around 700 companies in the Coventry and Warwickshire area.

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