Businesses invited to hear about apprenticeship shake-up

Plymouth businesses are being invited to a free event next week to hear how the new Apprenticeship Levy and apprenticeship reforms will affect them.

Plymouth City Council, in partnership with the Devon and Cornwall Training Provider Network and the Skills Funding Agency, will be holding an event at Plymouth Guildhall on Tuesday 6 December to give businesses of all sizes details of the apprenticeship reforms and how it will affect them.

From April 2017 employers in England with a wage bill of more than £3 million will be liable to pay a new Apprenticeship Levy. Set at 0.5 per cent of an employer’s wage bill, the new levy is designed to fund apprenticeship training for large employers. Smaller, non-levy paying employers will also see changes in how they pay for their apprentices.

As well as the new levy, major changes in how apprenticeships will be accessed, funded and tested are on the cards from next May 2017.

Leader of Plymouth City Council Councillor Ian Bowyer said: “The new levy and the reforms are designed to place more control in the hands of employers and will have a huge impact.

“This event is designed to clearly communicate the changes that are due to take place and to ensure that employers in Plymouth are fully aware of the changes and where they can get support and further information as required. We want to help our businesses and would encourage anyone who employs apprentices or who is thinking about doing so, to come along and explore the real opportunity that this brings.”

The morning event starts at 9am with delegates hearing from a range of guest speakers, including Richard Daulton, Skills Funding Agency; Gareth Moss, Managing Director Serco and Steve Cardew, Chair Plymouth Skills Board. The session will culminate with a panel debate.

As well as the new funding regime, those who attend will also get to hear about the new Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS), which is being introduced to enable levy paying employers to access and manage their apprenticeship funds. Initially, small and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) will not use the digital service as they will not be paying the levy. However they will be responsible for paying a small proportion of an apprenticeship cost for those apprentices aged over 18.

Sharron Robbie, Managing Director of the DCTPN said: “The changes being introduced in the Spring of 2017 will have a major effect on how apprenticeships are funded and accessed by employers.

“The Training Provider Network has been heavily engaged with the reforms for some time, but there is a concern amongst the networks and training providers, that there is a lack of knowledge and understanding among some employers about the changes.

“The event being held in Plymouth on 6 December is just one in a series of events being held across the region, which aim to clarify the reforms and what they will mean to employers.

“We are keen for anyone who employs apprentices or is thinking about doing so to come along and hear from our speakers, and to submit their questions to our expert panel.

“Employers in Plymouth have a long and successful tradition of using apprenticeships as a means to support business growth and productivity. It is vital therefore that employers are made fully aware of the reforms and how these changes may impact on their future apprenticeship training and workforce development plans.”

Not yet registered to attend, and keen to do so? Follow the link, or contact the Training Provider Network on to book your place.