Wirral Met College joins Apprenticeship Levy initiative

Wirral Met College has united with Wirral Chamber of Commerce and Progress to Excellence in a new scheme to utilise underspend of the Apprenticeship Levy funding.

The 6th April 2019 will mark the two-year anniversary since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, this date will also mark the start of the Government’s ‘claw back’ of any unspent monies from 2017.

Wirral will be the first borough nationally to highlight how larger companies can support the growth of smaller companies in the local area. The initiative aims to raise levy payers awareness of alternative ways that they can potentially choose to spend their unused levy funds. 

Wirral Chamber of Commerce, Progress to Excellence and Wirral Met College (pictured l/r Damian Burdin Progress to Excellence, Patsy Crocker Wirral Chamber and Phil Jones Wirral Met College) are highlighting that businesses can ‘gift’ up to 10% of their total levy value to support other Wirral organisations in training through apprenticeships. They may choose to work with a charity of their choice, a smaller business in their supply chain or any other Wirral employer that could benefit from a training and development re-investment through an apprenticeship.

Levy payers will be able to decide, as individuals, where they can ‘gift’ their under spent levy funds, charities as an example, as non-levy payers, could benefit by receiving funding from a larger Wirral based business to help support a wide range of apprenticeship training, such as leadership and management, business administration and ICT.

Patsy Crocker at Wirral Chamber of Commerce said, “We want to ensure our business community can take advantage of this initiative to support their aspirations for growth through accelerated leadership and management skills to generate expansion.”

This view was echoed by Damian Burdin, CEO at Progress to Excellence Ltd, who added, “Now is the time for levy paying employers to act, if not they will lose funds as the Government will take them back. I am calling on all levy payers in the region, who do not currently use their levy pot, to do so now.”

Sue Higginson, Principal of Wirral Met College, agreed,  ‘Apprenticeship reforms allow larger companies that pay an apprentice levy to support smaller organisations through transfer of a percentage of unspent levy. We can support companies who wish to do this so that they can help smaller organisations benefit through the growth and development of local skills for local people.”

An Open University report published in April 2018 highlighted that £1.28bl apprenticeship funds are sitting unused, and warned that if employers didn’t start to use these funds they risked losing in excess of  £139ml a month from April 2019. Figures released in December 2018 showed there were just 75,800 apprenticeship starts in 2017/18, a drop of 24 per cent on the 2016/17 total.

Whilst it s likely that 90% of the underspend pot will be returned to central government, levy paying companies can still look to gift up to 10% of underspend to support Wirral SMEs with apprenticeship and upskilling requirements.

With this Apprenticeship Levy initiative, there is a need for companies to look very quickly at how they can potentially utilise any levy underspend, so should you wish to find out more about this please contact Patsy Crocker as soon as possible at patsycrocker@wirralchamber.co.uk. 

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