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What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

17 September 2020

What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

Lifting the lid on the Apprenticeship Levy; How to invest in your team’s leadership and management skills using money you’ve already spent!

Since 2004 Raise the Bar have been delivering innovative and bespoke leadership and management programmes across sectors. With the arrival of the Apprenticeship Levy, the landscape changed and now more than ever organisations have the opportunity to develop their people without the traditional constraints of budgets!

What you may not have known about these apprenticeships, is that they can be accessed using money you have already spent! So if budget is not a consideration, then focus shifts completely towards quality and value and that’s great news for the employer and the learner.

What is the apprenticeship levy?

As of April 2017, new apprenticeship standards were brought in thanks to a collaborative effort across sectors to redefine what a modern apprenticeship ‘should’ look like. Since then, companies with an annual wage bill of £3 million or more are paying into an apprenticeship levy pot, which in turn can be used to maximise the investment in developing the leaders and managers of tomorrow.

Your company will pay into its apprenticeship levy pot via the HMRC PAYE process, and the funds can be used to fund apprenticeships and the associated assessment for anyone in your organisation. It may be worth speaking to your finance department to review your tax return and monitor your PAYE contributions to find out how much is in your pot.

Bear in mind, however, that funds in your account with expire if they are not used within 24 months. So, the clock is ticking on some of that unused funding. You can find out all the information you need on this via the GOV website.

What is a Leadership and Management Apprenticeship and what can you achieve?

These apprenticeships are geared towards people who have already begun their professional career to give them the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills and behaviour necessary for them to ascend the career ladder and move into managerial positions.

At Raise the Bar, leadership and management development is at the very core of what we do – our ILM accredited apprenticeship programmes offer the chance to develop wide ranging skills in areas such as team and people management, communication, commercial awareness, operational techniques, coaching, performance management project and finance management, as well as developing your own unique leadership style.

In short, we give our learners all the tools necessary to begin – or to evolve – their own management journey and equip them with the skills they need to be a confident and effective leader within their industry. They can then carry these skills forward into their own working situations and develop their own leadership style.

What do I need to invest in the approach?

The main employer investment comes from creating opportunities for the learners to put their new skills into practice (also known as the ‘off the job’ element  of the apprenticeship) and this can be seen as the biggest barrier as there is a requirement of the qualification that the learner is given a minimum of 20% of their working time to learn and practice the skills they need to qualify.

This element of the qualification can be spread over the course of the working week and is not, as many people believe, one day a week. The great thing about this time is its where the learner embeds their skills so it supercharges learning to ensure its of benefit to the workplace. After all, why would you invest in developing your peoples’ skills if you don’t want them to put that learning into practice for results for both themselves and the business!

In our experience non funded management programmes are focussed on application in the workplace following training so the great thing about the apprenticeship is that it’s mandatory! If you have reservations about allowing this development time then it’s worth considering if you have the right managers and the right culture for the programme?

How do I choose an apprenticeship training provider?

The first, most important thing to consider is how engaging the programme is – will the learners enjoy the content to ensure that they get as much out of it as possible? It is also vital to make sure that your training provider understands the business’ strategy and priorities, as well as its culture to make the programme appropriate for and bespoke to that particular company.

Secondly, it is also important to ensure that learners have access to a wide range of engaging learning resources. Not everyone learns in the same way, and so it’s good to have a training provider that can offer lots of different learning materials.

For example, at Raise the Bar, we recognise that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to learning. Because of this, we have different resources on offer including our own App, online forum, podcasts, webinars, Skype meetings and even Augmented Reality video sessions, whereby we can put the ‘virtual’ tutor into the workplace with the learner.

Utilising your apprenticeship levy is a great way to supercharge your leadership and management skills using money your business has already spent. Investment in learning and development is always a great way to improve business performance and show your staff that you value them and want to see them flourish. A brilliant way to reinforce your employer brand and attract and retain the top talent!