New CIPP Quickpoll: the use of the apprenticeship levy

30 January 2020

The CIPP has launched a new Quickpoll relating to how companies have made use of apprenticeship levy funds if they pay into the levy. This is in light of research that highlighted how employers have lost £133 million of apprenticeship levy funds as they have not utilised them within the 24-month period granted prior to the funds expiring.

If you could take a minute out of your busy schedule, as we appreciate that payroll professionals are constantly striving to hit deadlines, to answer the poll then we would really appreciate it. The more responses we receive, the more comprehensive insight we will receive into the workings of the apprenticeship levy, which, in turn, means that we can gain a better understanding of how it could potentially be improved, and further tailored education rolled out to businesses.

Education and training company, Learning Curve Group, published a report that illustrates that there are many misinterpretations of  the word ‘apprentice’, and that many businesses believe that the levy can only be used in scenarios that involve training new entrants to the company. The research also shows that employers aren’t against the levy at all, rather that they do not understand it or how best to use it and / or that they feel that the system does not provide the training its staff requires.

To investigate the reasons behind why companies are not using the levy, Learning Curve Group surveyed CIPD members from over 600 businesses to find out if they were utilising the levy, and in situations where they weren’t, why this was the case.

A summary of the findings is as per below:

  • 59% listed the requirement for off-the-job training as a reason for not utilising the levy, as they simply could not afford to lose a member of staff for the equivalent of one working day a week
  • 41% of responses commented on the complexity of the system and how this deterred them from using levy funds
  • 28% confirmed that their staff weren’t interested in engaging with apprenticeships
  • 24% stated that the apprenticeship programmes on offer were simply not relevant to their workforce
  • 23% of respondents were concerned about eligibility criteria

The apprenticeship levy was introduced back in 2017 to try and boost numbers of people earning while learning and to provide a different option for getting into work that did not involve the traditional university route. Companies that have an annual pay bill of three million pounds or more are required to make monthly deposits of 0.5% of their annual pay bill into the apprenticeship levy pot.  They then have a rolling 24-month deadline in which to spend it, and once this period elapses, the unused funds are available to SMEs that do not pay the levy but who wish to train apprentices.


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