Trailblazer Apprenticeships: funding for employers

In October 2017 the ATT launched its new Level 4 Professional Tax Technician Apprenticeship.

Previous editions of Employer Focus have looked at the background to this new Trailblazer Apprenticeship as well as the benefits of its new End Point Assessment.  This time we are going to focus on the funding available to employers.

Please note that this article looks exclusively at Trailblazer Apprenticeships which are available in England only.  Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland maintain their own apprenticeship standards, and the position will therefore be different for employers in those areas of the UK.

Funding for Trailblazer Apprenticeships

You don’t have to pay the apprenticeship levy to get help with the costs of a Trailblazer Apprenticeship – both levy paying and non-levy paying employers can receive government support:

  • Levy payers can use the funds which they pay into their Apprenticeship Service account (together with the 10% government top up) to pay for training and assessment of apprentices.
  • Non-levy paying employers share the cost of training and assessing apprentices with the government through co-investment - employers pay 10% towards the cost of apprenticeship training and the government will pay the rest (90%) up to the funding band maximum (which is £9,000 for the ATT Trailblazer)

Points to note include the following:

  • Additional incentives and support are available for taking on 16 – 18 year olds.
  • As Trailblazer is an England-only reform, training providers and apprentice assessment organisations and employers can only be funded in England in respect of English apprenticeships. That requires apprentices to work at least 50% of the time in England.
  • Where an employer is a levy payer, their total levy payments are allocated (by HMRC) between the English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish apprenticeship authorities by reference to how many of their employees live in each country and the proportion of their pay bill paid to these employees. It is only the English percentage of the levy payments that can be used to fund English apprenticeships.
  • Not all costs associated with an apprentice can be covered by government funding – for example salaries, additional recruitment and training costs remain the responsibility of the employer.
  • Employers cannot recover the cost of registering the apprentice for the ATT examinations, nor examination entry fees.

More information on the support available for apprenticeship costs can be found here

Who can be an apprentice?

Although apprenticeships are often thought of in connection with taking on new, young employees they can be used much more widely than this:

  • There is no upper age limit (though additional support is available for employing 16 – 18 year olds).
  • Apprenticeships can be undertaken by new or existing employees.

Any eligible individual can be funded to undertake an apprenticeship at a higher level than a qualification they already hold (including a previous apprenticeship). Additionally, the Government will also fund an apprentice to undertake a Trailblazer Apprenticeship at the same level as, or at a lower level than, any qualification they already hold, if it will allow the individual to acquire substantive new skills and the content of the training is materially different from any prior qualification or a previous apprenticeship.

Why not consider using an apprenticeship as a way of upskilling new or existing staff?  For example, an existing book keeper or payroll accountant could develop valuable tax skills and expertise by undertaking the new ATT Trailblazer Apprenticeship.

Further information

More details on all aspects of the ATT Trailblazer Apprenticeship can be found here.

Posted in: Employment