Apprenticeship Service open for registration

17 February 2017


The apprenticeship service is available to all employers, whether they are subject to the apprenticeship levy or not, where they have employees in England.


The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) are now inviting all levy-paying employers to register on the new apprenticeship service, through which you can plan, manage and pay for your apprenticeships online.

The Levy will be payable on pay bills in excess of £3 million a year. Employers with employees in England whose paybill is less than £3m, will still be able to use the apprenticeship service.


Geographical extent - The levy will apply to employers across all four UK nations. Apprenticeships are part of skills training, which is a devolved policy area, meaning only employers in England will receive funds in their digital account to spend on apprenticeships training in England. It will be for authorities in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland to decide how the levy funding will be paid within their nation. The apprenticeship service will support the English apprenticeship system. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own arrangements for supporting employers to access apprenticeships.


The amount entering your apprenticeship service account will be how much you have available to spend on apprenticeship training in England, including the 10% top-up from the government. To calculate how much you will have to spend through the English system, HMRC plan to use data that they already hold about the home address of your employees. They will use this data to work out what proportion of your pay bill is paid to employees living in England. This assessment is due to be made in early 2017. Employers can update their employees’ address as part of their Real Time Information returns.

You will need to have Government Gateway login details for the PAYE schemes you want to include in your account and details for each organisation that will be making an agreement with a training provider for apprenticeship training, including their Companies House or charity number (if you have one).

If you can’t share the login details with people outside of the payroll team, you can register for the apprenticeship service on their behalf. Once registered, you will be able to give them the necessary permissions to manage your organisation’s apprenticeship service account going forward.

If you use an external agent or bureau to run your payroll you will still be able to use your organisation’s Government Gateway login details when you register. This will not affect the HMRC activities that your external payroll agent or bureau completes on your behalf.

If you are registering on behalf of multiple connected companies or charities, you need to think about the structure of your organisations and PAYE schemes and how you’re going to spend your funds. You will need to register every organisation that will make an agreement with a training provider for apprenticeship training.


Further information

Calculating, reporting and paying the apprenticeship levy

Wider apprenticeship funding reforms and the apprenticeship service

Policy paper on apprenticeship funding in England from May 2017