The survey found that 23% of levy-paying firms have no understanding of the Apprenticeship Levy and don’t know how their company will respond to it.
From May this year, businesses with a pay-bill of over £3m were required to set aside a levy to cover training costs in a bid to boost take up of Apprenticeships and workplace skills across the UK. Although 36% of levy paying firms expect to recover all or more of their costs, more than half haven’t yet taken any direct action to use these funds or aren’t aware of how to access them.
The findings show that there is a need for clearer guidance and support for businesses wanting to utilise the Apprentice Levy. At a national level, firms both above and below the levy threshold are uncertain about how to use the funds to find and train people with the skills they need.
Jane Gratton, Head of Business Environment and Skills at the BCC, said: “Our survey shows that many firms are still unaware of the Apprenticeship Levy and how it will impact on their business. With many companies across the country facing critical skills shortages, more information and support is required to ensure businesses continue to invest in training.”
“The government must ensure that changes in the system do not lead to a slowdown in the overall number of apprentices recruited, or less investment in other forms of workplace training. Low awareness and understanding of the Levy has not been helped by uncertainty faced by training providers tasked with delivering apprentices to business.
David Williams, Director of Corporate Engagement at Middlesex University London, said: “It is clear that better information is needed to make sure the huge benefits of apprenticeship programmes are recognised by business, including how they can maximise the levy, the array of qualifications and levels that can be studied through apprenticeships, that the opportunity applies to existing staff as well as newcomers, and that innovative delivery methods mean that an employee could be out of the workplace for as little as 12 days a year.
“The opportunities that arise from the apprenticeships levy - together with robust workforce planning - could be transformative for businesses so it is essential that gaps in information and support around this initiative are addressed.”
How can we help?
St Helens Chamber is an award winning provider of training and Apprenticeships and our Workforce Development team are on hand to guide both levy and non-levy paying businesses through the new Apprenticeship system.
St Helens Chamber will carry out a free training needs analysis of your workforce and put a fully costed training plan in place, which allows you to recoup the maximum value from your Levy contributions through investing in staff training.
More information about offering Apprenticeships under the new system visit click here. If you require bespoke, face to face support with your training needs book an appointment with the Workforce Development team by calling 01744 742333 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.