To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the effectiveness of the apprenticeship levy.
22 July 2021
The department is responsible for apprenticeships policy in England only.
The apprenticeship levy is collected by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs from all UK employers with a pay bill above £3 million. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland receive a share of levy funding and it is the responsibility of the devolved administrations to determine how they spend this share to fund and operate their apprenticeship programmes.
Apprenticeships are vital in driving economic recovery, and we continue to improve apprenticeships to make it easier for employers in England to make full use of their levy funds. To help businesses of all sizes in England to offer apprenticeships as new employment opportunities, we have increased our cash incentive payments to £3,000 for every apprentice they hire as a new employee from 1 April until 30 September 2021.
We are improving the apprenticeship levy transfer process so that, from August 2021, employers in England who pay the levy will be able to pledge funds for transfer to other employers, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), supported by a new online service to match levy payers with SMEs.
In addition, since 1 April 2021 all SMEs in England arranging new apprenticeship starts have done so through the apprenticeship service. This gives them more control over their apprenticeship choices and the ability to reserve funds before choosing the provider that best meets their needs.
We are also making apprenticeships in England more flexible so that they better meet the needs of employers from all sectors. We continue to support employers by encouraging greater use of innovative apprenticeship training models, such as the front-loading of off-the-job training. We are also developing accelerated apprenticeships so that apprentices with substantial prior learning (e.g. T Level graduates) can complete an apprenticeship more quickly.