Whether you are a large business or an SME, taking on an apprentice is a no brainer.

What’s more, for companies with payrolls exceeding £3Million, if they don’t use their levy pots, they will lose them.

Let us help guide you through making the most of apprenticeship schemes.


We find ourselves in unchartered territory, with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic creating challenges in every aspect of life. In terms of business, it was announced in July 2020 that approximately 650,000 people lost their jobs between March and June, as the UK labour market “weakened markedly” during lockdown.

Job losses led to a 0.3 per cent drop in total pay in May compared to 2019, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The government is looking to plug the gaps wherever possible with various initiatives and incentives being announced, to support a range of sectors and industries. One announcement was the increased support surrounding apprenticeships, which will be supported by bonuses for companies. Firms will receive £2,000 for each apprentice they take on and £1,500 for those apprentices over 25 years old.

When employers take on a 16-18-year-old on an apprenticeship, they will receive an additional £1,000 on top of the £2000 incentive help meet the extra costs associated with this.

How do apprenticeship schemes work?

Apprenticeships are professional work schemes, and individuals can commence on a scheme from the age of 16+.

An apprenticeship is a combination of real-hands on-the-job training within their place of employment as well as study towards professional qualifications.


How are they funded?

  • If your payroll exceeds £3Million per annum you will be paying into the apprenticeship levy at 0.5% of the pay bill. You can then use your apprenticeship levy pot to help pay for the apprenticeship programme being delivered.
  • If you are a company/SME whose payroll falls under this amount, you will be expected to contribute 5% towards training.

(Employers in Scotland and Wales will be subject to different arrangements)


Did you know, if you don’t use your levy fund, you’ll lose it?

The Education and Skills Funding Agency revealed unspent sums transferred in England:

  • From May to December 2019, employers gave up a total of £401m which they could have used to train apprentices.
  • The sums returned unspent have been increasing on a monthly basis, reaching £82m in December 2019, the latest figure available.

The Department for Education allocates the funding back into the education pot for apprenticeship support for training with smaller employers.

If your company feels it is not the right time to use your levy, you can allocate it to another company, so you can effectively retain the benefits within your networks or supply chain.


How an apprenticeship will help your organisation

  • Financial support – Relieving the cost of the apprenticeship being delivered. If the learner is aged 16-18 and your company has less than 50 employers then then you will then be exempt from contributions. In these uncertain times, having an apprentice makes complete sense from a bottom-line perspective.
  • Tailored to your business – the apprentice can not only plug any potential skills gaps, but they can also be moulded to your organisational needs from day one.
  • Added value – apprenticeship schemes cover a range of disciplines and the best and most recent knowledge, ensuring your apprentice will bring added value and insight.
  • Future proof your business –training your kind of person, into the right role for your business will create a perfect fit. If a clear career advancement path is highlighted, then you are likely to hold on to that employee longer.


How can GB training support me with the apprenticeship process?

GB Training will spend time to understand your business requirements and will match high-quality apprentices to your requirements and company culture. We will also work with you to progress those already in your workforce who require development of new skills and knowledge.

We will navigate you through the process from the start, clarifying the levy process and providing guidance with the Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS).


 Are you ready for an apprentice? Questions to consider:

  • Do you have a need/role in mind? Can you create a meaningful post for the apprentice?
  • Can you support a new employee – training and time is key for apprentices.
  • Do you have someone who can line manage and mentor – your new employee will require ongoing support, on the job teaching and guidance.


 How do apprenticeship schemes successfully continue during the Covid-19 pandemic?

With new ways of working, the pandemic has certainly posed challenges for apprentices. It really depends on the type of role, however, we can work with you to ensure you can offer that face to face level of support in a Covid-19 secure environment.

At GB Training we have developed a raft of ways of teaching and learning, which include remote methods.

For more information on the range of apprenticeships we offer, visit our remote learning webpage. To discuss your next steps contact bill.rai@gbtraining.org.uk














Blog by Neil Dunn – Head of Learning Programmes