The Apprenticeship Levy explained…

The apprenticeship levy is designed to help fund the development and delivery of apprenticeships in order to increase the quantity and improve the quality of those available and assist larger employers to fund apprenticeship programmes for new and existing employees. 

Employers fall into one of two categories: 

  • Levypayers – employers with a payroll of over £3m per annum are required to pay the levy whether they employ an apprentice or not. 
  • Non-levy payers – employers with a payroll of less than £3m per annum do not have to pay the levy and can access financial support to assist in the recruitment and training of new apprentices and existing employees. 

  • Employer makes a 0.5% contribution of the annual salary bill through PAYE 
  • For every £1 paid into the levy pot the employer gets £1.10 to spend on apprenticeship training  
  • Employer uses a digital account to manage apprenticeship funding, see how much is available in the company’s online account and allocate payments to providers of government-approved apprenticeships for the training and development of new or existing apprentices 
  • On full utilisation of the levyall additional apprentices are funded with a requirement to contribute 5% 
  • £1000 cash incentive for recruitment or enrolment of an existing employeeaged 16–18, onto an apprenticeship 

  • Employer makes a 5% contribution towards the training of apprenticeships for new and existing staff 
  • £1000 cash incentive for recruitment of or enrolment of an existing employee, aged 16-18, onto an apprenticeship  

  • Fully-funded apprenticeship training for new and existing staff aged 1618   
  • For apprentices aged 19 or over, the employer makes a 5% contribution to the training 
  • £1000 cash incentive for recruitment or enrolment of an existing employeeaged 16-18onto an apprenticeship 


One of the core requirements of an apprenticeship programme is that the apprentice spends 20% of their learning time developing their skills through off-the-job training.

Off-the-job training is learning completed outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and there are a range of activities that the apprentice can participate in.

20 ideas for 20% off-the-job training

  1. Participating in online forums relevant to the role and industry
  2. Individual study time – either to complete coursework or review modules
  3. Being mentored by a senior colleague in a role that the apprentice aspires to
  4. Delivering a mentoring session to a colleague
  5. Completing a written or filmed reflective account
  6. Shadowing a colleague’s role and writing a report reflecting on learning
  7. Learning new skills and sharing ideas with colleagues through group learning sessions
  8. Researching tasks to gain new knowledge of the industry
  9. Face-to-face tutor-led delivery or coaching sessions
  10. Internal learning & development sessions relating to the apprenticeship
  11. Completing e-learning modules
  12. Completing project work
  13. Preparing for assessments
  14. Role play or simulating workplace situations
  15. Visits to other departments or businesses to gain an insight into how they operate
  16. Attending industry-related competitions
  17. Attending industry shows, presentations or seminars
  18. Workplace one-to-one performance reviews
  19. Training sessions, such as manual handling or first aid
  20. Attending webinars on key industry topics

Interested in taking on a new apprentice or using apprenticeship training to upskill existing members of your team?

Contact the employer engagement team here and we’ll be in touch to discuss your training requirements further.

For more information on the apprenticeship levy and funding email or call 01902 837163