In a surprise move, the Chancellor of the Exchequer yesterday announced in the Budget a bonus for employers who employ apprentices.  From April next year, employers will receive a 10% top-up to their Apprenticeship Levy contributions which will be available for them to spend on apprenticeship training through their digital account.

The levy is being introduced as part of the Government’s commitment to create three million apprenticeships by 2020, and is expected to raise £3bn annually across the country.  From April 2017, employers with a pay bill of over £3m a year will have to pay 0.5% of their payroll costs towards the levy. 

Jayne Worthington, Managing Director of the Skills Company, Greater Manchester’s largest apprenticeship training provider said:

“Coming in the middle of National Apprenticeship Week, this will be very welcome news for employers who will be paying the levy from next year.  The levy will represent a substantial cost to many larger employers, and this additional help will mean that they can invest even more in ensuring that their workforce has the skills that their business needs.”

“Employers within scope of the levy will have to pay it whether or not they employ apprentices, so it makes total business sense for them to get the best return on that investment by developing an apprenticeship programme if they don’t already have one.”

“We’re already working with many local and national employers to plan their strategy on how to invest the levy, looking at talent and workforce development needs and planning apprenticeship recruitment and training in line with this.  Businesses that take this early step will definitely be ready for the levy and maximise the investment potential and ultimate return.” 

The Skills Company has also developed an Apprenticeship Levy Calculator tool to help local businesses to work out the implications for them of the introduction of the levy next year.  To view the Apprenticeship Levy Calculator, and find out more about how the Skills Company can help employers plan for the Apprenticeship Levy, visit www.theskillsco.com/employers/the-apprenticeship-levy-calculator/ or call 0161 233 2656.