Walsall College are urging employers to use their apprenticeship levy funds before...

Walsall College are urging employers to use their apprenticeship levy funds before it goes to waste.

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The apprenticeship levy is a training fund that is made up of tax accrued through 0.5% of a company’s paybill.

With businesses receiving a £15,000 allowance to offset against the levy, only employers with a paybill of over £3m pay the levy and in turn, utilise the funds to enhance their workforce.

Money raised by the apprenticeship levy is ringfenced, meaning that it can only be spent towards apprenticeship training.

Employers paying the levy will receive their funds through their Digital Apprenticeship Service account, which expires 24 months after the first instalment.

As the first instalment began in April 2017, levy payers have only five months to use their funds before it runs out. In response to the limited timeline, Walsall College are offering free support to employers to enable them to claim their funds back through investing in new and existing staff.

The College’s Business Training Solutions team can help employers access their funds through their digital apprenticeship account (DAS), by taking a ‘co-management’ approach to enable employers to use and manage their funds within the DAS.

Recruiting for Birmingham City Council

The team recently worked with Birmingham City Council to help them to find new apprenticeship talent for their administration and customer service departments.

Working closely with the council, the team produced a scheme of training delivery to custom suit the organisation’s needs and requirements. Through the college’s innovative ‘Walsall College Graduate’ programme, apprentices were equipped with softer skills the council were looking for, including updated IT skills, positive values and developing the traits to become professional and enterprising.

Following the training programme, all apprentices had the opportunity to apply for vacant positions at the council, with some gaining promotions shortly after completing training or moving onto a higher level apprenticeship.

Offering bespoke training at all levels

As one of the largest providers of apprenticeship training in the West Midlands, the Outstanding-rated College has a long history of helping employers find bespoke solutions to their training needs.

The team offers training in a wide range of sectors, including Business Administration, Customer Service, IT, Management, Hospitality, Hair and Beauty, Construction, Dental, Pharmacy, Health and Social Care, Automotive, Engineering and Sign making.

Renowned for supporting local people of all levels of education, the College offers different types of training, from Level 2 apprenticeship training to the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship.

The government also announced that employers can currently divert 10% of their levy funds to other employers registered on the digital system, which will increase to 25% in April 2019.

James Norris, “Our Business Training Solutions team has a strong history of tailoring training to employers’ business needs. We ensure that apprentices develop the skills organisations are looking for in order to fill industry skills gaps.

“In the Black Country, 66 per cent of employers report that they have skills shortages, indicating that technical, practical and job specific skills are an issue with skilled trades the most difficult vacancies to fill. In our region we also need to upskill around 103,000 people to NVQ L4 or above, just to keep up with national growth.

“Apprenticeships are a great way to address these issues as they are a fantastic way for businesses to develop new talent and pass their knowledge on to the next generation of workers. They also provide young people with the opportunity to gain valuable skills and real work experience that will lead to greater employment prospects in the future.”

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