The apprenticeship levy is finally here and if you are a levy paying business, you may still be wondering how best to manage, administer and spend your levy funds.
The levy represents such a sea change in how apprenticeship funding is accessed and used that the administration of the process can seem complex and bureaucratic. It’s new and unknown and the accompanying government literature can be somewhat dizzying! All true, but no good reason to ignore that the levy also represents a golden opportunity to upskill staff, develop long term talent strategies and stretch your learning budget considerably. What’s not to love about that?
One of the first decisions to make during your planning phase should be ‘Who will own the management/administration of the levy and all the things that come with it?’
Will you manage this within your own team or will you outsource?
Some apprenticeship providers offer a full apprenticeship management service in addition to apprenticeship programmes and naturally, at a cost. If you’re going to manage your levy in house here’s our quick guide to some of the things you should consider:
Do you have sufficient resource within your team?
Setting up and maintaining your digital apprenticeship service account (DAS) can be labour-intensive. All learner and financial data must be inputted and maintained accurately in order to meet the criteria to manage the funds and make payments to training providers. If you are planning large-scale use of apprenticeships, you should consider the capacity within your team to do this. You also need to consider the implications of working with multiple training providers which will add to the complexity.
Do you have adequate tools for reviewing and monitoring activity?
Small numbers of learners will be easy to manage – but what happens when this multiples dramatically. Progress, breaks in learning, learners withdrawing from programmes. This all needs closely monitoring and your digital account will need to reflect these changes – otherwise you will be making payments to providers unnecessarily! Think carefully about how this information will be collated and communicated across the business so it can be entered in a timely and accurate way.
Do you have the time to manage your apprenticeship levy?
Whilst the levy represents an exciting opportunity for learning, we also recognise that it must sit alongside other priorities within HR/L&D teams. There is also a sense that the levy has somehow ‘crept upon us’ given the late stage at which government information was released, leaving little room and time for planning and decision making. In our experience it is likely that most companies will not start to spend their funds for another 4 to 5 months whilst they plan how best to use.
The levy is learning curve and over time, you’ll need less and less support as your own processes develop. The key is to identify and work with a quality training provider who can work closely with your HR/ L&D teams to help you plan and sync your business needs with the apprenticeship levy funding and the new training reforms.
The Apprentice Academy/PWG Training is holding an ‘Apprenticeship Reforms’ breakfast seminar at Deansgate, Manchester on Thursday 25th May from 8.30am to 10am.
If you would like to attend this event, please message me and I will send over joining instructions. Alternatively, if you would like to talk through the changes or arrange a meeting please let me know.