Not all employers will be required to pay the Apprenticeship Levy, which will see businesses with a payroll exceeding £3million taxed to help fund apprenticeships.
But for those who are, the clock is ticking and with three months to go until the reforms take effect, now is the time to make sure everything is in place. Here’s our guide to what businesses need to do ahead of April 1.
Review existing training
Training programmes must be efficient and effective, so ask yourself if what is already in place is robust, with benefits for both the business and employees. If you’re already providing apprenticeships, have you thought about which new standards are being rolled out in 2017? See our blog on Trailblazers for more information. When it comes to utilising the levy, it’s important to have a strategy and not spend for the sake of it. Also remember that providing apprenticeships doesn’t necessarily mean recruiting externally, existing staff can undertake them.
Register in good time
You’ll need to register for a digital account from which to manage funding, choose courses and select training providers, and this is available from January. Make sure you’re registered in good time to allow for potential problems or queries. You’ll pay the funds through the usual Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system and will need to declare it to HMRC.
Spending the levy
The levy will be available to spend from May 2017. An external training provider can help not only with the allocation of funds, but implement apprenticeships, deliver support and provide important advice. Choose a provider with expertise and experience within your sector. It’s worth taking the time to find the right fit, ensuring the needs of your business are met, as well as allowing enough time to plan your training strategy. If you don’t appoint a provider, you’ll need to be registered as an approved apprenticeship employer provider.
It’s important to remember that apprenticeships are vital tools which increase skills, improve workforces, help to grow businesses and boost the economy. The Apprenticeship Levy will create opportunities for more people and it’s crucial to be organised in order to reap the benefits they offer.