Apprenticeship levy: Use it or Lose it
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Apprenticeship levy: Use it or Lose it

07 December 2020 By Sean Cantrill - Further Competition Coordinator for HR Services at YPO

apprentice nurses in hallway

Although the apprenticeship levy is over three years old now, it still remains somewhat of a mystery within the education and training sector. Details surrounding the levy has been generally elusive, so we've compiled some helpful information to help you use it or lose it!

The apprenticeship levy was brought in to encourage apprenticeship recruitment, this is an opportunity to increase internal resources, upskill staff and provide prospects for communities.

Apprenticeships are arguably the most efficient route to successful recruitment both in the short and long terms and with the continually growing portfolio of apprenticeship programmes and standards that are offered, employers should be urged to consider integrating apprenticeships into their recruitment plans.

The Levy:

All employers with annual pay bills in excess of £3 million are taxed at 0.5%. This tax accumulates in a digital fund that is then used for recruiting apprentices and upskilling staff.

However, what levy paying employers may be unaware of, is that 24 months following the payment of this tax, any unspent amount will be reclaimed by HMRC.

It would be a great shame for employers to miss an opportunity to recruit apprentices and upskill their workforce, so if you're employers paying the apprenticeship levy, make the most of the apprenticeship funding!

Utilising apprenticeship programmes:

Uncertainty and anxiety have been amplified within students this year by the effects of the pandemic. GCSE and A-level results have been awarded in unusual circumstances and with job vacancies at a lower level than that experienced during the UK’s last recession, young people could use more options.

I believe apprenticeships can be the helping hand that young people, employers and our economy all need right now.

Government assistance:

At present, the government are currently providing a bonus of £2,000 per apprentice recruited, aged 24 or below and a bonus of £1,500 per apprentice recruited aged 25 or above.

The incentive of what the government will pay further highlights the necessity of considering apprenticeships as a method of recruitment, rebuilding businesses and the economy.

The levy funds can also be used to offer apprenticeships as a way of upskilling or retraining existing staff. Expand the skills of a workforce and boost staff retention by developing your employees. You can find out more about upskilling your employee's here.

Healthcare is a route that is seeing substantial investment. £172m is being funded over 4 years, allowing healthcare employers to recruit up to 2,000 nursing degree apprentices each year. This investment should encourage both customers and training providers that the future of apprenticeships looks bright.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about the apprenticeships levy and how can YPO can help, please get in touch with the team!


William on 10 December 2020

I am an NHS STAFF who is on a five year route ( which means after 5 years I can apply for indefinite leave to remain). I am on no recourse to public funds. I would like to know if I qualify for this apprenticeship opportunity. Thank you

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