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Apprentices

Question for Department for Education

UIN 122782, tabled on 30 November 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the effect on the (a) quality and (b) quantity of apprenticeships of allowing levy-paying employers to choose which non-levy employers to transfer their unspent levy funds.

Answered on

8 December 2020

Levy-paying employers can transfer funds to any employer, including smaller employers, apprenticeship training agencies and charities, to support high-quality apprenticeship training. Transfers enable levy-paying employers to support employers in their supply chains, address local skills needs, and help sectors build sustainable capability for the future.

Apprenticeships funded by transfers are on the same high-quality employer designed standards and are delivered only by providers that are approved to deliver apprenticeship training. All apprenticeships must last a minimum of 12 months and provide a minimum of 20% off-the-job training to ensure that every apprentice develops the skills, knowledge and behaviours required for them to achieve full occupational competence. This is confirmed by a rigorous and independent end-point assessment.

In April 2019, the department increased the amount that levy payers could transfer and are seeing numbers of transfers rise steadily. The latest figures show that in the 2018/19 academic year, 670 apprenticeship starts resulted from transferred commitments. This increased to 4,630 starts the in the 2019/20 academic year. We publish further detail on apprenticeship transfers here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/apprenticeships-and-traineeships/2019-20.

As my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, set out in the Spending Review, the department will be making it easier for employers who pay the levy to find and transfer unspent levy funds to small and medium sized enterprises, with the development of a new online matching service and the facility to pledge funds in bulk from August 2021.

This work will build on initiatives, such as the Health Education England scheme and the successful regional levy transfer pilot led by West Midlands Combined Authority, where we are already seeing the benefits of work being undertaken to bring large and small employers together.