Workforce skills

Access to a talented workforce is often cited by Chamber members as a barrier to growth. In this section we include links to current activity and issues of relevance to business.


Apprenticeships are a great way to bring new talent into your business

Hiring an apprentice

Everything you need to know about hiring an apprentice can be found here

Apprentice Levy

What is it?

A new mechanism to fund apprenticeship training, all companies with a payroll of £3m or higher will have to pay a levy equivalent to 0.5% of their company’s pay bill. Employers will each have an allowance of £15,000 and so companies whose calculated levy amount falls below this figure will not be expected to pay anything.

10 things you need to know about the levy:

1.    If you have a wage bill in excess of £3million per annum you will need to pay the levy
2.    It will be charged at a rate of 0.5% of your annual pay bill
3.    There is a £15,000 allowance
4.    Your contribution will be held in a digital account
5.    All funds will be topped up by 10% through a government contribution
6.    You have two years to spend money in your digital account
7.    If you don’t pay the levy, government will pay 90% of the cost of an apprenticeship
8.    If you have fewer than 50 staff, government will pay all training costs for a 16-18 year-old apprentice
9.    Designed as a business-led system, employers must pay the training provider for the delivery of apprenticeships.
10.  If you don’t pay the levy, you are not required to purchase apprenticeships through a digital account until 2018.

The government has published guidance on the apprentice levy which is available here

How much will my company pay?

There is now an online tool that companies can use to estimate if they will pay the Apprenticeship Levy, how much their organisation will have available to spend on apprenticeships and how much the government will contribute towards the cost of training. You will need to know your annual salary bill.

Levy payer & Non-Levy payer – what’s the difference?  

Apprenticeship Reforms

A number of reforms have taken place with regards to apprentice funding, here is a presentation from the Skills Funding Agency which contains guidance on these changes. SFA Guidance – Jan 2016