The government’s online Apprenticeship Service account enables organisations that are paying the Apprenticeship Levy to manage their training funds, find and appoint providers and register new Apprentices.
In this guide, we’ll take you through using the service step-by-step, from setting up users to managing your Apprenticeship delivery and reviewing your training funds.
First things first, you’ll need to get your organisation set up on the Apprenticeship Service. Once you’re good to go, you can head to the log-in page and sign in to your account. You’ll be greeted by the ‘home page’ - which should look a little something like this:
From here, you can set up other users, manage your Apprenticeship delivery and review your training spend.
Your team: This section allows you to set up new users and control what they can do on your account.
There’s currently three options available when setting up a new user, so you’ll need to think about which staff members will need to perform specific roles in relation to the account. You can enable your team to:
- View information (but not make changes)
- View information and add apprentices
- Accept agreements, view information and manage PAYE schemes, organisations, apprentices and team members.
Finance: Under this section, you can see your transaction history and the forecast of your Apprenticeship funds over time. However, you’ll only be able to access this after funds are added to the system, which for most Levy-paying employers, will be in May 2017.
Your organisations and agreements: All Levy-paying employers will need to sign an agreement with the ESFA to enable them to use the funds in their Apprenticeship Service account to pay for apprenticeship training.
In this section, you’ll be able to sign this agreement - although you’ll need to establish who has the authority within your organisation to do so.
Once your agreement has been digitally signed, you can go on to add connected organisations (if you’re part of a group of connected companies).
PAYE schemes: Here, you can add and manage your PAYE schemes for your organisation and any connected companies.
You can also add in information on the percentage of your workforce that operates within England, details of which will be provided by HMRC based on the data in your payroll submissions.
The Apprenticeship Service only supports the English Apprenticeship system and you’ll only be able to claim Levy funds and the government’s 10 per cent top up on your English workforce.
If you think there’s any issues with your English percentage, check your payroll data to make sure your employees’ address information is correct.
Finding training providers
The ‘Apprentices’ and ‘Find Apprenticeship Training’ sections enable employers to find training providers to deliver their Apprenticeships and add information about their apprentices on to the system - either directly or via a training provider they’ve appointed.
You can use the ‘Find apprenticeship training’ section to search for relevant apprenticeship standards and frameworks for your business by entering keywords in the search box.
In the below example, we’ve used the keyword ‘banking’. You can also filter by the Level of qualification you’re looking for using the tick boxes on the left.
Clicking on one of the search results will let you delve further into the details of the training, including the typical length, funding cap and entry requirements:
If you like the look of the Apprenticeship in question, you can click the green box in the top right to find training providers near you that offer this course (listed in order of distance):
The results screen will show details of where they’re based, training options and vital stats, including:
- Employer satisfaction rating
- Learner satisfaction rating
- Achievement rating
- Whether or not they can offer national training provision
How to add Apprentices
In the ‘Apprentices’ section, you’ll be able to add details of your Apprenticeships and confirm funding arrangements.
Once training is underway, you’ll also be able to manage the details of your Apprentices
You can add details of your Apprenticeships manually, or simply create a ‘blank cohort’ without anyone in it and leave the work of adding details to your training provider.
How it works
- Before you can add an Apprentice, you’ll need to know the UK Provider Reference Number (UKPRN) for the training provider you’re working with. For instance, The Skills Company’s UKPRN is 10004177 and this returns our ESFA contract name of ‘Economic Solutions’.
- If you’re adding your own Apprentices on to the system, you’ll need to have details of their name, date of birth, the course they’re doing, planned start and end dates and the total agreed training costs (including end-point assessment costs for standards).
3. If you want your training provider to upload the details of your Apprentices, then simply select this option. You’ll then be taken to a page that allows you to send a message to them directly.
4. Choosing this route will create a cohort reference number with your details attached to it and your training provider will be notified of this via email.
5. Your provider can then use the documentation from Apprentices that have been signed up to fill in the relevant details for this cohort and the staff members you’ve added in the ‘Your Team’ section will get an email notification once this is complete.
6. After you get this notification through, you can review the details in the ‘Your Cohorts’ section
7. Here, you can check the details provided and amend if appropriate. The training provider will receive notifications of any changes and data in both systems will have to match for payments to be made.
8. Once you’re satisfied all details are correct - you can approve them and arrange for funds to be sent from your Levy account to your training provider.
Data and payments
You can find details of when payments will be taken and all the preceding steps in the government’s guidance for employers.
It’s important to note that some data fields for apprentices that have been uploaded to your Apprenticeship Service account must match those sent to the government on the Individual Learning Record funding return.
These include unique reference numbers, which identify the apprentice and the training provider, as well as the price agreed upon for training and end-point assessment (for standards), and planned start and end dates for the apprenticeship programme.
Once the data has been successfully matched, payments will be taken from your digital account on around the 5th working day after each month end.
Getting to grips with the new Apprenticeship Service can be daunting to say the least, so if you’ve got any questions on the topics we’ve covered above - be sure to let us know via LinkedIn or Twitter.
And if you’re looking for advice on managing your Apprenticeship Levy funds, or tackling any of the admin involved - get in touch with our Levy team for bespoke advice today: