Can I use the Apprenticeship Levy to train my existing staff?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions our Employer Training & Apprenticeships team has to clarify when speaking with local employers.
Traditional preconceptions that apprentices are only for school leavers or labour-intensive are evolving. With the employer-led redesign of apprenticeship standards, apprenticeships are more highly valued training and education routes, ranging from Level 1 to Degree, which emphasise quality, knowledge and skills required by industry.
In the current economic climate, investing in staff training and development has never been more important - making sure that your employees are equipped with the right skills and knowledge to make it through the downturn.
While the ambitious apprenticeship levy scheme aims to help lift employment rates, close the skills-gap and boost the country's economy, many employers consider utilising their levy funds to train existing members of staff instead, to help them progress within their organisation.
So, can companies do it? The short answer is yes, but you need to do it the right way.
How can your business use the levy funds?
As an apprenticeship levy payer, your business will have a pot of money which you can access to train your existing staff through apprenticeships. If you don’t use your levy funds, they will be returned to HMRC.
The best way to use Levy is to consider investing in a smaller number of apprenticeships for existing staff in specialist areas, like accountancy or leadership and management, or IT and cyber security who can then disseminate their new knowledge throughout their teams.
All apprentices, whether they are a new recruit or an existing member of staff, must be allowed time for their off-the-job training, according to the apprenticeship requirements. This flowchart from the National Apprenticeships Service clearly explains what qualifies as off-the-job training and shows how easily it can be put into practice.
According to National Apprenticeship Service, when using the apprenticeship levy to upskill existing members of staff, employers are not required to change the employee's job title or contract of employment. However, the employer would have to ensure that there is an Apprenticeship Agreement that has been signed by both the Employer and the Apprentice. They would also have to ensure that a Commitment Statement has been signed by the Employer, Apprentice and the Training Provider.
All levy funds need to be spend 24 months after they enter the employer's account.
Benefits of training existing staff through apprenticeships
Apprenticeships not only bring essential skills into your business, training your existing staff through the levy is also brilliant for retention. If your staff feel valued because you are allowing them to develop and progress within your organisation, they will be loyal employees who will want to stay with your business for years to come.
In essence, the apprenticeship is really an excellent training and qualification opportunity - one which many members of staff may be interested in if they are made aware of it.
Where do I start?
Take a look at your organisation as a whole and identify your business needs, skill-gaps and existing staff members with the potential to grow.
Then talk to our Employer Training & Apprenticeships team about your unique requirements, and we can find the right apprenticeship training programmes for you.
We have apprenticeship programmes from Level 2 up to Level 6 covering many sectors.
Our main goal is to help local companies fill in their skills needs – either by bringing in a new apprentice, for which we offer free recruitment support, or by training existing staff.
We offer employers no obligation advice and guidance from training needs analysis to Digital Apprenticeship Service support.
Speak to the Employer Training & Apprenticeships team today
Email: email@example.com or call 0345 155 2020