The Apprenticeship levy is now in force and companies with an annual wage bill of £3,000,000 or more should now be paying an additional 0.5% of their wage bill to the HMRC (minus the £15,000 allowance). Most companies, however, don’t realise that this pot of money is theirs to spend on development of their own staff! So our HR Partner, Tim Frear, talks about the steps larger SMEs will need to take to access their funds for training.
By Tim Frear
If your business is paying the levy, you will need to setup a Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) account. This account contains the funds you have paid in which you can later spend on apprenticeship training and assessment. The training is very similar to the existing NVQ training schemes. And in spite of what ‘apprenticeships’ have traditionally been, it doesn’t have to be used for new employees in the business, as you are able to develop existing staff too.
To set this up log onto https://manage-apprenticeships.service.gov.uk/
In addition to your levy, the Government will apply a 10% top-up to the funds available for spending on apprenticeship training.
The simple answer is no, you do not have to ‘rush through’ your training. Levy funds will expire 24 months after they are received into an employer’s DAS account unless they spend them on apprenticeship training with a training provider. It’s always good to develop your staff, but jumping into it without planning and preparation is unwise. You will need to discuss your requirements with an HMRC approved training provider who will be able to guide you through the process.
Remember that just because the money is in your DAS account it is still yours, so use it wisely. There is nothing to say you can’t look for the competitive pricing so be mindful that you are able to negotiate course charges, just as you would do in any purchase for your business. Not only check the costs of the courses you are looking for, but remember to compare what the content involves between providers as well as clarifying that they meet your business needs. You need to marry the two up to get the best deal for your business and employees.
It does take time to set up but it’s not as daunting as it first looks. It’s not that complicated once everything is ‘live’ and the training providers can do most of the HMRC administration to claim all the costs.
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