The smallest academy trusts can now “take full control” over apprenticeships in their schools.
Announcing the move, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) said for the first time, small and medium-sized employers will have full access to its apprenticeship service regardless of whether or not they pay the levy.
Currently, only employers who pay the Apprenticeship Levy – those with an annual total pay bill of over £3 million – are able to use the full benefits offered by the online digital service.
The ESFA said the service – which will be available to all from this summer – will provide employers with the choice over how they want to control the use of apprenticeships and “make them work” for their organisation.
This includes being in control of how they pay for their apprenticeship training, and assess and recruit their apprentices. Having full access to the service will also mean that smaller organisations will have access to a “larger pool of training providers”, the ESFA said.
Commenting on the announcement, Eileen Milner, ESFA Chief Executive said: “Moving non-levy employers onto the apprenticeship service will give small and medium sized businesses a greater choice of quality training providers, and the opportunity to have more control over apprenticeship training decisions for their business.
“Employers understand the needs of their sector and know better than anyone about how best to use their apprenticeship funding.
“By working with smaller employers, the ESFA will get insight into the skills needs of a wider range of businesses which will help us to remove barriers employers have when recruiting an apprentice.”
More information about the apprenticeship service can be found here. For help and advice on how this change will affect you, please get in touch with our expert academy finance team.