Birmingham City Council is to give around £700,000 worth of unused apprenticeship levy funds to help some of the city’s most disadvantaged residents who have been badly affected by the pandemic
The apprenticeship levy is payable by employers with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million at a rate of 0.5%. As a levy-paying employer, the city council can gift up to 25% of its annual levy fund to small and medium businesses and non-levy paying schools to pay for the training and assessment costs of an apprenticeship.
The original plan was to focus on the council’s supply chain, voluntary, community and social suppliers and schools.
However, as the pandemic has had such a huge impact on the city’s core economy, including previously thriving leisure, retail and hospitality providers, as well as our creative sector, transport providers and some manufacturing sectors, there has been a change of focus.
The council’s aims for gifting the levy are:
- To create apprenticeship opportunities in known skills shortage areas, such as the Health & Social Care sector, Engineering and Digital and Creative Sectors.
- To support smaller employers across the city and wider conurbation to recover and reskill/diversify following the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic with apprenticeships targeted at Birmingham residents.
Councillor Jayne Francis, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture at Birmingham City Council, said:
“Covid has been devastating for so many people, with those in precarious employment often suffering the most. That’s why as a city and a council we must do all we can to support people into jobs and improve skills. Apprenticeships are a great way of doing this so gifting our levy where it is most needed as we recover from the pandemic is absolutely the right thing to do.”
Working with Birmingham City Council, Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership’s Skills and Apprenticeship Hub is supporting the access to the funds.
Professor Helen Higson OBE, of Aston University and Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Employment and Skills Board, welcomed this partnership between Birmingham City Council and the GBSLEP Skills and Apprenticeship Hub, noting:
“The creation of this Apprenticeship Levy transfer scheme, which sees almost £700,000 of Birmingham City Council funds directed towards local businesses to support apprenticeship training is another piece in the package of skills support available through the GBSLEP Skills and Apprenticeship Hub.”
“Together, these are forming a complete offer that will support local businesses, upskill local people and ensure skills and employment support is available to meet demand and act as the catalyst for post-pandemic economic and social recovery.”
The LEPs’s unique triple helix structure brings local government, businesses and educational organisations together to identify skills and training needs.