From education to employment

Extend Apprenticeship #Levy Deadline! Progress to Excellence Ltd chief joins urgent call

DAMIAN Burdin, Chief Executive at Progress to Excellence Ltd, has joined an urgent national call for the government to extend this month’s deadline for businesses to use their unspent Apprenticeship Levy money. 

Two years after the introduction of the levy, billions of pounds of unused funds are still sitting unused in Digital Apprenticeship Service accounts.

These unspent funds have now started to expire and are slowly being returned to the Treasury month by month. 

In an open letter to Education Secretary Damian Hinds, the Local Government Association – supported by local authorities, industrialists and education leaders throughout the UK – has called on the government to consider an extension of the date by which employers need to spend their levy funds.

Such a move, the organisation believes, would further boost apprenticeship figures which would, in turn, contribute to local economic growth and help to reach and support disadvantaged communities and those furthest from the labour market.

Damian Burdin explained: “As part of a massive programme of apprenticeship reforms, levy-paying employers were always aware that the two-year anniversary of the levy introduction would see a government ‘clawback’ of any unspent funds. So from May 2019, automatic monthly withdrawals from employers’ digital accounts will start. 

“An extension of this May deadline would allow many more employers to utilise their Apprenticeship Levy funds and thus create more apprenticeship opportunities to drive economic growth, raise productivity for the local and national economy and, most importantly, help plug our skills gaps.”

Already, Progress to Excellence Ltd has formed a unique partnership with Wirral Chamber of Commerce to raise awareness among larger businesses that they can “gift” some of their total annual levy value to other employers. This “gift” would then be used to train their teams via apprenticeships.

Damian Burdin said: “As a national training provider with our head office on Wirral, we took up this urgent initiative with Wirral Chamber of Commerce to raise awareness among levy-paying businesses about this opportunity. 

“Rather than unspent funding going back to the government, there’s an opportunity to ‘gift’ it to help fund a wide range of apprenticeship training where it’s most needed.

“A non-levy paying charity, a small business in a levy-paying company’s supply chain or another Wirral employer that could benefit from re-investment in training and development will be able to use these funds to help with their organisation’s growth, particularly as apprenticeships are available in sectors such as healthcare, leadership and management and business administration, sectors where we know that there are skill gaps.

Patsy Crocker, Executive Director at Wirral Chamber of Commerce, added:

“Together with Progress to Excellence Ltd, we are committed to ensuring our business community can take advantage of this initiative and, as always, we will look to support their aspirations for growth through creating opportunities which will accelerate leadership and management skills to generate expansion.”

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