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Apprenticeship Levy: Be prepared



With approximately eight months to go until businesses see a percentage of their payroll deducted to help fund apprenticeships across the UK, the government has released further guidelines on how the new Apprenticeship Levy will work in practice.

Although some employers had anticipated a delay to the levy in light of the result of the Brexit vote in June, it has been confirmed that the new scheme will take effect from April 6, 2017.

The initial announcement last December revealed businesses whose annual wage bills exceed £3m per year will be charged at a rate of 0.5 per cent of their total payroll, with an allowance of £15,000 per year to offset costs. For example, if your wage bill is £5m, you’ll need to pay £10,000 into the levy pot.

The latest announcement says:

  • The levy will be paid to HMRC through the PAYE system and businesses will be able to access funding through their own digital apprenticeship account.
  • The account will contain the funds which will be used to pay training providers to deliver apprenticeships, and is set to go live in January 2017 to allow employers time to familiarise themselves with the new system.
  • Non-levy payers will be affected by the changes too, with the government proposing that small businesses should receive financial help to pay for training, enabling them to apply for 90 per cent of costs and pay the remaining 10 per cent themselves.
  • In addition, businesses with fewer than 50 employees will be encouraged to take on young apprentices, following the proposal that there should be no cost to train those aged between 16 and 18.

The government is currently seeking views on its latest proposals, with confirmation and further details expected in October and December.

There’s no doubt the levy will encourage employers to make the most of apprenticeships and help to improve skills. However, businesses must be prepared ahead of April and not be tempted to make decisions for the sake of spending the levy, but be equipped with a strategy.

For advice on how to prepare for the Apprenticeship Levy, contact Jigsaw Training on 01772 430004 or

An insight into an apprenticeship, by an apprentice


Megan Pollington

There’s no better way to get under the skin of apprenticeships than speaking to an apprentice. In this blog, we hear from Jigsaw Training’s Megan Pollington to get her perspective.

What made you choose an apprenticeship?

I was working as a hair stylist but decided I wanted to pursue office administration instead. However, without the relevant qualifications or experience, I felt stuck. When I spotted Jigsaw Training’s vacancy for an advanced apprenticeship in business administration, I applied straightaway.

Can you describe a typical day?

I have a wide range of duties and responsibilities, such as dealing with enquiries via telephone and email, providing administration support to tutors and learners, as well as data entry. There’s a good balance between working and learning, so no two days are ever the same.

What are the benefits?

The best thing about doing an apprenticeship is that you get paid to learn, while developing useful skills to help further your career. I’m really enjoying my role and value the opportunity to learn something new every day.

Any advice for people looking to do an apprenticeship?

I would say to go for it. If you want to achieve new qualifications but need to be earning money at the same time, an apprenticeship is the perfect way to do this. It could also help you embark on a new career path, or get to the next level in an existing role.

What’s next for you?

Once I’ve completed my apprenticeship, I hope to secure a full time administration role with Jigsaw Training. If I can achieve that, it means the apprenticeship will have provided me with a new career, and new opportunities.

1500 apprentices step up to training


Nicola Parkinson, development director at Jigsaw Training with Paul Carmichael Head of Learning and Development (Compass Group) and Jo Bradford - National Qualifications Manager.

Compass Group UK & Ireland, the UK’s largest food and support services firm, has announced a partnership with Jigsaw Training, to support and develop the 1500 apprenticeships being created by the company by the end of 2017.

Specialist provider Jigsaw Training will work with Compass Group to deliver training in areas including facilities management, security, hospitality, management, cleaning and other frontline roles.

The apprentices, on the 16 different programmes available, will work towards intermediate and advanced apprenticeship over a minimum 12-month period.

The partnership between the two organisations will involve a joint delivery model whereby Compass Group will use their specialist culinary and leadership and management qualifications training team to deliver the teaching and learning elements of the apprenticeship. Jigsaw will guide the apprentice through their qualification, provide the assessment of knowledge and competence gained against the national occupational and awarding body standards.

 Melanie Hayes, resourcing and development director at Compass Group, UK & Ireland, said: “We are so pleased to be partnering with Jigsaw. We set ourselves an ambitious target to recruit 1500 apprentices by the end of 2017. Working with Jigsaw will enable us to provide critical training and support for our apprentices, in the workplace.

Offering these qualifications over the coming months and years will ensure our apprentices are trained to the highest standard and continue to develop and progress within the company.”

Nicola Parkinson, development director of Jigsaw Training, added: “It is great to see the commitment Compass Group UK & Ireland has made to apprenticeships and the investment to developing their workforce. We will continue to support Compass Group to achieve their ambitious target, developing the pipeline of talent for the future.”

Compass Group UK & Ireland employs more than 60,000 people and delivers various services to organisations including hospitality, security, building operations and cleaning.

Jigsaw Training is a total training solutions company providing the complete package from training needs analysis through to the design, administration, delivery, management and evaluation of all programmes.

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