Levy lift off

February 9, 2017

The launch of the apprenticeship Levy is now only two months away.

This month, Levy paying employers will be able to register for a new Digital Apprenticeship Service account (DAS). This on-line service will act like a bank account, allowing employers to monitor funds and payments but also select preferred frameworks or Standards and run the rule over suitable training providers.

We learned in late 2016 that, according to Keith Smith, the director of funding and programmes at the SFA 50% of the apprenticeship levy, would be covered by 400 of the largest UK employers, while 20,000 employers are expected to fall within the scope of the levy when it launches in April 2017.

In his autumn statement, the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, revised his fundraising forecast, suggesting that the levy would raise a projected £2.8 billion in 2019/20 and this week the Department for Education defended the Government’s targets of 3 million new apprentice starts by 2020, assuring businesses that rather than dilute this work-based training offering, despite the rapid projected growth in the market, quality remains at the heart of all apprenticeship reforms.

All this means that the ‘Levy lift off’ is getting closer, but of the 400 businesses supporting the biggest levy bills and the remaining 20,000 businesses projected to pay a levy bill, only a small percentage seem to have made any firm decisions about how to use this levy and how it should shape their recruitment and training strategy.

Remit CEO Sue Pittock recently took part in an expert panel session at the Great Hospitality Show and Remit has led a host of sector-specific Levy webinars; the feedback is clear; many brands are still some way away from knowing how best to use their Levy pot.

To ensure a smooth transition to the Levy, Remit Training is currently working across multiple sectors with some well-known brands to implement strategies that will maximize on the Levy funds, before it kicks in.

Knowing how a business wants to spend its Levy allocation is key to defining a strategy for 2017. Some brands are supporting entry level recruitment to boost their talent pool, some are highlighting key leadership roles within the business to support succession and talent development and will use the levy to provide continued support for internal Academy and management development programmes.

What is consistent is that each business embedding apprenticeships within its current career path will offer continuous career development opportunities for employees across their estates.

Rather than the end of a long process, however, this decision can be the start of months of work to map how a new apprenticeship standard will integrate into the heart of a brands’ existing people development strategy and to provide essential vocational training to a business.

Many organisations are keen to explore all their options and understand how they can maximise on their levy pot. Following extensive scoping and development, Remit is working closely with each brand to understand the needs of their business and identifying how best to support L&D Strategies.

This work includes researching job roles and identifying areas where apprenticeships will have a positive effect on the business. In essence producing a solution to meet identified business need.

With the levy pot coming straight from a company’s P&L, many more brands are – quite rightly – taking extra interest in how this money will be spent with a training provider. Like any consumer they don’t just want standardised, they want customised. But this process takes time to get right.

With time running out to make plans before the levy lift off in April, more brands need to be bold and make some decisions on how the apprenticeship levy will affect their recruitment, learning and development strategies now.

For more information and an objective assessment please email: levy@remit.co.uk