Apprenticeship Levy frequently asked questions

We have been helping many businesses understand and respond to their own unique levy situation. Below are the most commonly asked questions we have received so far.

1What can the levy can be spent on?
The funds in the Digital Account can only be used towards the costs of apprenticeship training and end point assessment. This must be with an approved training provider and assessment organisation.
The funds can’t be used for other costs associated with your apprentices or wider training effort. For example wages, statutory licences to practise, travel and subsidiary costs, managerial costs, traineeships, work placement programmes or the costs of setting up an apprenticeship programme.
Apprenticeship programmes:

• Last a minimum of 12 months – higher level qualifications can last up to four years
• Require 20% off the job training, which must be during a learner’s paid working hours
• Can only be delivered by organisations that are on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers and have passed specific quality thresholds including Ofsted rating and financial tests
• Have strictly defined learning outcomes and requirements – this often includes an industry recognised qualification
• Are subject to independent end point assessment, in which a third party (not the employer or training provider) will determine whether the Apprentice has met the required standard

Are subject to strict eligibility criteria, e.g. staff must work a minimum of 30 hours per week, meet specific residency criteria etc.
2Can I direct my levy funds to someone else?
From 2018, employers will be able to transfer up to 10% of the funds in their account to other organisations, for example supply chain partners. Any transfers out of Interserve will be subject to Group governance.

This also means you could receive funds from another organisation, such as a client, to help them meet their commitments around apprentices in the workforce.
3How will the levy operate across the devolved nations?
While the levy will be applied to the total UK payroll, funds appearing in the DAS account will be proportional to the number of employees that live in England. For example, if 80% of your workforce lives in England, 80% of the total levy bill will appear in your DAS account. Funds in the DAS account can be spent on employees who work in England.

View our Apprenticeship Levy Devolved Nations map.

The devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are responsible for determining how apprenticeships will be funded in the devolved nations. No information has yet been made available about their plans, and at least in the short term it is likely that existing funding arrangements will continue.
4Does ILE offer a wide range of Apprenticeships and what are the benefits of using ILE?
There are a number of benefits to using ILE as a lead provider for all qualifications, including:

• Single account management structure and point of accountability
• Ability to deliver multiple standards, including Higher Level and Professional Apprenticeships
• Consistent quality control and quality management
• Single source of management information for all learners
• Support with recruitment and demand management Consolidated supply chain management.
5Will we have to pay a management fee to Interserve Learning & Employment for their work as Lead Provider? What will subcontractors be paid?
The government has applied funding bands to all apprenticeship training courses, and you won’t have to pay anything over and above this agreed price for each qualification. Interserve Learning and Employment (ILE) is engaging with a broad range of suppliers, and agreeing which elements of the learner journey each party will provide.

While ILE will retain some of the funding for subcontracted apprenticeships, we will also be taking some of the administrative burden, and therefore cost of delivery, away from the supply chain, for example, eligibility checks, claims management and reporting.
6Will ILE work with our existing supply chain?
ILE is currently running an Expression of Interest (EOI) process for suppliers across the country to develop a panel of approved suppliers. We are committed to running open and transparent processes to identify and onboard suppliers in line with our Merlin Supply Chain Accreditation.

All training providers will have to meet ILE’s due diligence requirements and be successfully appointed to the government’s Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers.

Existing suppliers to the Interserve Group will be invited to participate in the EOI. Please notify Emily Langridge (Emily.langridge@interserve.com) with details of any Apprenticeship Training Providers you already work with.
7What support and marketing material will be made available?
A range of materials will be made available from early 2017 to support internal marketing campaigns and learner recruitment. This will include:

• Learner handbook
• Guide for line managers
• Leaflets highlighting the benefits of apprenticeship programmes
• Overview of each of the qualifications on offer, the benefits and who should consider applying.
8What management training will be available? Can we deliver our existing management training as an apprenticeship?
There are strict criteria for an Apprenticeship, set out in the Standard. Management apprenticeships include an independently assessed qualification from ILM or CMI, with very specific learning aims and outcomes. If your current management training includes specific company policies and processes, such as dealing with disciplinary or grievance issues, it will probably not be covered by an Apprenticeship programme and will have to be delivered and funded separately.

There are several levels of management Apprenticeship available:

Level 3 - Team Leader/Supervisor
Who is it for? - A team leader/supervisor is a first line management role, with operational/project responsibilities or responsibility for managing a team to deliver a clearly defined outcome.

What does it include? - An industry designed apprenticeship. An industry recognized Management Diploma Level 3 (if used). Option for professional registration with relevant professional body either ILM or CMI.

Level 5 - Operations/Departmental Manager
Who is it for? - An operations/departmental manager is someone who manages teams and/or projects, and achieving operational or departmental goals and objectives, as part of the delivery of the organisations strategy

What does it include? - An industry designed apprenticeship. An industry recognized Management Diploma Level 5 (if used). Option for professional registration with relevant professional body either ILM or CMI.

Level 6 - Chartered Management Degree
Who is it for? - Professional managers capable of managing complexity and delivering impact at a strategic and/or operational level with management and leadership responsibility for setting and delivering organisational objectives through a wide range of functions.

What does it include? - An industry designed apprenticeship. An approved Management Degree. Chartered Manager status, option to register with the CMI
9Are there any restrictions on eligibility? Who can undertake an Apprenticeship?
There are a number of restrictions on eligibility for Apprenticeship Training funded through the levy.

Apprentices must:

• Be an employee and paid at least the minimum wage
• Be at least 16 years old
• Be able to complete the apprenticeship within the time they have available – including at least 20% off the job learning
• Only be enrolled in one Apprenticeship programme at a time
• Spend at least 50% of their working hours in England over the duration of the Apprenticeship
• Have the right to work in England
• Have the right to live in the UK, and have been living in the UK for at least three years before the start of learning
• Work for at least 30 hours a week. (There are some exceptions to this role, due to personal circumstances, industry or job role, but the duration of the Appprenticeship programme would be extended.)

You must not employ apprentices solely to deliver an apprenticeship; there must be a genuine job available after they have completed their apprenticeship. You can only fund Apprenticeship Training for directly employed staff, so if you use temporary staff supplied for an agency, they will not be eligible for levy funded Apprenticeship training.
10Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) account - Who will do what on DAS and when?
Employers will be able to register for a DAS account from January 2017. Initially this will be done at a Group level for Interserve as a whole. Each Division will be set up with delegated users who can access the account, view the forecasting tools and manage the process for adding learners. Users can either add learners directly, or ask ILE to do this on their behalf as lead provider. There is a validation process, so the Divisional teams will sign off all learners added before funding is drawn down.

Once a learner is registered, funding will be drawn down each month until:

• The Apprenticeship programme is complete
• You update the system because a learner has left the organisation or learning is suspended for any other reason.
11Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) account - What happens during a TUPE transfer that includes an apprentice?
If an Apprentice leaves the company via TUPE transfer, or for any other reason, you will need to update the DAS account and stop the drawdown of funds. You can only fund Apprenticeship training for people that are directly employed by your organisation.

If an employee transferring into your organisation is part way through an Apprenticeship programme, you can choose whether or not you wish to continue to fund the training. There is no obligation to do so.
12Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) account - Will each Division / group company receive a £15,000 allowance from the government?
The government will pay £15,000 to offset the levy to each company unit.

However, all funds paid into the DAS account will be topped up by 10% by the Government – this will top-up payment will appear in the DAS account for each Division.