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The apprenticeship levy is due to come into effect on 6 April 2017. It is a levy on UK employers to fund the costs of apprenticeship training.
One of the aims of the apprentice levy is to ensure SMEs have access to funding to hire and train apprentices, so that they can build a talented and skilled workforce for the future.
The Apprentice Levy
From 6 April 2017, employers with a paybill of more than £3 million will be subject to a levy of 0.5%. Through a digital account these employers will be able to access the apprentice levy fund, which they can use to pay for apprenticeship training and end-point assessment (the assessment of apprentices by an independent organisation, required before they can complete the apprenticeship).
It is estimated that 98% of UK SMEs do not have a wage bill of £3 million, meaning most will be exempt from the levy. However, SMEs will still be able to receive government funding towards the costs of apprenticeship training and assessment through co-investment.
How it will work
Assistance with this is available from the National Apprenticeship service.
Overall, the new apprentice levy should provide a real opportunity for SMEs. By taking advantage of the funds available, SMEs have the prospect of significantly improving the skills and expertise of employees and ultimately their own competitiveness.