The Department for Education and the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) are from today (13 February 2017) encouraging large employers to sign up and register for the apprenticeship service, in readiness for the launch of the apprenticeship levy on 6 April 2017.
The apprenticeship service is an online digital system (similar to online banking) that has been set up to support the apprenticeship levy.
The levy will require employers, with a wage bill of over £3 million a year, to pay 0.5% of their wage bill into the apprenticeship service, to encourage them to invest into apprentices.
The online service then allows those employers to financially manage their apprenticeship programme and help them to estimate their financial spend and recruit apprentices through their training providers. It will help employers:
Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon said: "Our funding reforms are essential to ensuring that this country works to build a highly skilled workforce for the future.
"Nobody understands the skills employers need better than the employers themselves and that is why we are placing them in the driving seat, to ensure they get the talent they need to grow.
"I have tried the new service myself and am impressed with how easy to use it is. All you need to do is set up an account, so I encourage employers to do it now so they can be ready for the levy coming later in this year".
Sue Husband, director of the National Apprenticeship Service said: "The apprenticeship levy will come into effect in April 2017 to put apprenticeship funding on a sustainable footing and fund growth in the apprenticeship programme.
"Employers have told us that they want to be in control of their apprenticeship programme and funding. They want to manage it quickly and easily, so we have designed the apprenticeship service to do just that.
"It’s really quick to set up an account, and employers that have already registered during our testing phase have told us how easy they found it".
To register, levy-paying employers should have:
The register to manage your apprenticeship funds page provides more guidance.