From education to employment

Employers urged to act over ‘unnecessary’ Apprenticeship Levy costs

Colin Bentwood, SDN’s managing director

THOUSANDS of UK businesses are likely to be hit by unnecessary costs simply because they are unprepared for or do not understand the new Apprenticeship Levy, warns a firm of apprenticeship experts.

Strategic Development Network (SDN) believes the levy will be a ‘step-in-the-dark’ for many finance, HR, learning and development executives in over 20,000 businesses falling within the scope of the changes being introduced from April 2017.

The levy is expected to help to fund three million new apprenticeships by 2020, and will see 0.5% of larger employer’s wage bills taken by HMRC to pay for the scheme.

The CBI – among other business and industry leaders – has already said that the levy is flawed and called for a ‘radical rethink’.

Colin Bentwood, SDN’s managing director, says there are compelling questions for larger employers – many simply do not know or understand how they will achieve a return on their levy ‘pot’ investment.

SDN is hosting a series of online sessions this month (13 and 17 May) followed by a workshop* to explain how employers can maximise their return from their apprenticeship investment.

Colin Bentwood said: “The levy will come into force next year. There will be a new cost for larger employers and for many it will undoubtedly be a step-in-the dark, so they need to take action now to be ready in time.

“It’s a big issue for large employers including those in the public sector such as the NHS, who will be see a significant hike in wage bills as the reforms come into play.

“The evidence suggests that thousands of larger employers will fall short with many unaware of the levy’s reach or how to spend it on apprenticeship programmes.

“It’s clear that more has to be done, and quickly, to bring people up-to-speed on these issues.”

SDN’s programme will cover details of the levy, the implications for business, and how to develop a successful apprenticeship programme to deliver maximum value.

Tony Allen, the former Head of the Large Companies Unit at the Skills Funding Agency, and SDN’s senior associate and apprenticeship expert, Louise Doyle, will facilitate the workshop.

*Apprenticeship Levy: maximising your contribution, 9th June, London. More at

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