Non levy payers can now use the Digital Apprenticeship Service to access funds and search for training providers.

During 2020 the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is changing the way non-levy paying employers fund and support apprenticeships. On the 9th January 2020 the ESFA opened up access to their online Apprenticeship Service for all non-levy paying employers. This is the first step of the transition planned for 2020 and something that the ESFA have been planning for some time.

What is the Apprenticeship Service?

The Apprenticeship Service is the ESFA’s online portal designed for employers to be able to select an apprenticeship Standard, choose their training provider and secure access to funding for all new apprenticeships through the Apprenticeship Service.

Ultimately this means that all non-levy paying employers will now be able to benefit from the award winning Apprenticeship Service that large employers have been using since April 2017. Non-levy payers are now firmly in the driving seat with more choice, ownership and control in overseeing apprenticeship delivery than ever before.

Accessing funding for apprenticeships in 2020

Until Autumn 2020 employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy will be able to access funding for apprenticeship training and assessment through two routes:

  • through a provider with an existing Government contract; or
  • via the Apprenticeship Service

The ESFA are funding up to an additional 15,000 new apprenticeship starts through the Apprenticeship Service. This is on top of the existing contracts held by providers.

By Autumn 2020 the ESFA expects all new apprenticeship starts to be arranged through the Apprenticeship Service. Until that time though, the use of the Apprenticeship Service is optional.

Are there any restrictions on using the Apprenticeship Service?

The Apprenticeship Service can only be used to fund apprenticeship Standards and not apprenticeship Frameworks. Apprenticeship Frameworks (which are being phased out) can therefore only be funded and supported by those providers with an existing ESFA contract.

Non-levy paying employers will be able to ‘reserve’ funding for up to three apprenticeship starts in advance of recruitment or an offer of an apprenticeship being made to an existing employee. Funds can be reserved for up to three months before an apprenticeship is planned to start (or reserved and started within the month). For example, reservations for apprenticeships starting in March can be made in January. This reservation process has been designed to ensure that the spend on apprenticeship training remains affordable within the Government’s overall budget for apprenticeships.

Planning your apprenticeship delivery

Interserve Learning & Employment is a direct contract holder on behalf of the ESFA supporting hundreds of employers and thousands of apprentices every year.

We’ve got a highly skilled and experienced team on hand to be able to support your apprenticeship training needs. Having already supported one non-levy paying employer to reserve funding and start an apprentice via the new Apprenticeship Service you can be confident that we’ve got the expertise to support you.

Contact a member of the team today and we can help you develop your workforce through the very best apprenticeship programmes.

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