“Just 8 per cent of apprenticeship levy funds have been spent in the 10 months since the scheme’s launch, with £1.28bn of £1.39bn paid in by businesses “sitting unused” in accounts” according to an analysis conducted by the Open University in 2018.
But now, if you are a levy paying employer, any of your unspent apprenticeship funds can be transferred to other employers. This brilliant initiative prevents any funds that you haven’t used, expiring (they expire after two years).
This is a great benefit to smaller businesses and employers that are not levy payers, as even they can receive a transfer. Larger businesses can therefore support smaller businesses by offering them the funds that they may otherwise have not had access to.
What are the rules?
- To begin receiving funding from an apprenticeship provider, you must both be registered with an apprenticeship account and have signed an agreement with the ESFA.
- Your apprenticeship account is also where you can find the total amount of transferrable funding you have.
- The amount the transferrer can send is capped at 25% (of your annual fund, increased from the previous 10%) and can only be used to fund new starters on an apprenticeship standard.
- The total amount can be split between employers of your choice, although you may want to support those in your own sector or local economy.
- The employer wishing to transfer funds must have made an agreement with the receiver, how many apprenticeships they will be funding and on what standard the money will be used. It is the sender’s responsibility to manage the funding amount, which includes negotiating the price within the funding band.
- Both businesses will recognise that the funding stops if the apprenticeship ceases. However, at no point will you need to pay back any money that’s already been received.
- If you are already transferring funds to another employer, you cannot also receive funding.
- Be aware of all the funding rules, certain people will not be eligible for the funding and they cannot be offered career related training that conflicts with the apprenticeship.
So, as a levy paying company, do you have apprenticeship funds that aren’t being spent? Why not reach out to smaller businesses in your local area, or in your sector?
Or, as a smaller non-levy company, make it public that you’re interested in receiving funds for apprenticeships, there’s no harm in asking. Either way an apprenticeship is a great way for someone to learn a trade, and the funds are there, so why not use them?