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Campaign to recover missing millions from apprenticeship budget

A young Indian woman, who is wearing protective eyewear, smiles as she enjoys her engineering class with her peers - they are all wearing blue coveralls.

A leading apprenticeship provider is aiming to recover £1million of unspent funding to support new jobs and upskill employees.

Total People, which provides apprenticeships in more than 30 different industries across the UK, has teamed up with leading businesses to campaign for redirected apprenticeship levy funding to support new placements and upskill workers in key sectors.

Government figures revealed that more than £250 million of funding earmarked to create new apprenticeships was returned to the Treasury unspent last year. The funding could have created around 30,000 apprenticeships, according to Total People, particularly with small businesses who are struggling to recruit and train new staff.

Working alongside major national companies including G4S, Elior, Smyths Toys and SPIE UK, who have gifted £635,000 of unspent apprenticeship levy in the first 100 days of its campaign. The organisation is now aiming to recover £1million before September and will helped any business to use or allocate its unspent levy.

So far, the funding has helped to generate hundreds of new apprenticeships in adult social care, catering, childcare, education, accountancy and business administration.

The campaign comes as a recent survey by Survation on behalf of London First found that almost half of businesses said they had returned unspent levy funding to the Government which could have been used to generate apprenticeships lower down the supply chain.

Apprenticeships can be made available to new and existing employees of all ages, and can be used to bridge skills gaps, increase a workforce or train on new technologies.

Melanie Nicholson, Total People Managing Director, said:

“The apprenticeship levy is a cost that most large businesses have to pay, and it is a case that if they don’t use that money, they lose it.

“With so many companies struggling with supply chain issues, or facing reskilling challenges, that money can be used to ease pressures and retrain staff so they are ready for the future.

“Additionally, the apprenticeships those businesses fund can help make a real and lasting impact not only to people’s lives but to the economy as a whole.

“Using this expertise, each pound of gifted funding is helping to create real opportunities for individuals and businesses, while at the same time bridging skills gaps in key sectors in towns and cities across the country.”

Levy paying employers are businesses with a wage bill of over £3 million, with 0.5 per cent of their payroll paid towards the levy. Businesses can use that money internally to fund apprenticeship programmes, or alternatively they can ‘gift’ up to 25 per cent to other organisations to fund apprenticeships.

Total People provides apprenticeships in more than 30 different industries and connects people with employers to provide diverse apprenticeship opportunities for anyone aged 16-plus.

For more details on apprenticeship levies and donating funding to SMEs, visit

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