Getting Levy Ready

March 16, 2016

By Sue Pittock, Chief Executive Officer of Remit Group 

At a time when large employers across the country are facing potentially crippling changes to their business, such as the living wage and automatic pension payments, the introduction of an apprenticeship levy comes at a challenging time.

After months of talking around the proposals in the Apprenticeship Levy Bill, there is still no real clarity on how the levy will be administered. This is of course our business and so we’re doing our best to advise our clients, and other prospective customers on what they can do to make the most of the levy when it comes into force.

With so many changes in the industry, and such a game changer hanging over our heads, I have personally made a move to join the Board of AELP (Association of Employment and Learning Providers) to ensure I can be at the forefront of discussions on the issues affecting us as a training provider, the businesses we work with and all of our learners.

Our discussions and advice on issues affecting training providers and their clients across the country are fed into the ministerial groups in Government looking into Bills such as that on the Apprenticeship Levy. Alongside my colleagues on the Board, we’re making strides to ensure our collective ‘voice’ is heard.

In our own business, we’re doing what we can to prepare the large employers we work with for the inception of the Levy. It’s so vital that corporations with a wage bill exceeding £3m look into how best to capitalise on the new system, ensuring they get as much out in funding, as they put in through tax.

We have a number of tools to help our clients, in fact check out our latest video explaining in simple terms what the Levy means, and what employers should do to counter the impact: http://www.remit.co.uk/apprenticeship-levy-2016/

There are options for large employers taking on apprentices to ensure they get the most out of the system and use their allocated vouchers to invest in the right sort of training for their young people. One option for larger organisations is to potentially set themselves up as a training provider and deliver apprenticeships directly. However here is where I would really be cautious.

There is so much risk and compliance involved in running a training provider, not to mention the considerable experience required in order to plough through the administration of qualifications and assessments that our strategic team and delivery teams tackle on a daily basis.

Then of course there’s the option to pay the Levy and leave your money in the treasury’s pot, not accessing the funding due to you for apprentices. Being a huge believer in apprenticeships and the benefits to both employers and individuals, I struggle to understand why any business would choose this route, and most won’t.

The greatest advice I can give any large organisation is to make the most of the apprentices you’re able to take on through the Levy and contact a training provider like us, who specialise in this field. By doing this, you’re passing on the risk and ensuring all the administration and compliance that comes with running a training provider is dealt with appropriately, or at least shared with an organisation already set up to manage it specifically. All participants should focus on their core competences and be very wary of moving into territory which is both complex and risky.