26th October 2016

Image: Apprenticeship reform plans.The government today updated its apprenticeship reform plans with further information on how apprenticeship funding for employers will work, including details of funding bands and the apprenticeship levy.

The new policy paper explains how government will fund apprenticeship training in England from May 2017.

The main measures confirmed today include:

  • A longer time for employers to spend funds in their digital account. Funds will be now available for 24 months before they expire, an increase from government’s original proposal of 18 months
  • A commitment to introducing the ability for employers to transfer digital funds to other employers in their supply chains, sector or to apprenticeship training agencies in 2018, with a new employer group, including the Confederation of British Industry, Federation of Small Businesses, British Chambers of Commerce, Charity Finance Group and EEF, to help the government develop this system so that it works for employers
  • More funding for STEM apprenticeship frameworks and higher pricing of apprenticeship standards to support improved quality, and providing greater flexibility to train those with prior qualifications

Support for younger apprentices and disadvantaged people:

  • 100% of training costs will be paid by government for employers with fewer than 50 employees who take on apprentices aged 16 to 18 years old. This will also apply to smaller employers who take on 19- to 24-year-olds who were in care or 19- to 24-year-olds with an education and health care plan
  • £1,000 each from government to employers and training providers who take on 16- to 18-year-olds and 19- to 24-year-olds who were in care or who have an education and health care plan
  • Providers that train 16- to 18-year-olds on apprenticeship frameworks will be given an additional cash payment equal to 20% of the funding band maximum in order to help them to adapt to the new funding model
  • Providers that train apprentices from the most deprived areas on apprenticeship frameworks will continue to receive additional funding from government. The government says more than £60 million will be invested in supporting the training of apprentices from the poorest areas in the country, equalling around one third of all apprentices

Skills Minister Robert Halfon said: “Apprenticeships work. The reforms we are rolling out will guarantee support from employers and government, so that millions of people can get the apprenticeships, skills and jobs for the future.

“Our apprenticeship levy will boost our economic productivity, increase our skills base and give millions a leg up on the ladder of opportunity - over 90% of apprentices currently go into work or further training. Making Britain a world leader on apprenticeships is essential if we truly want a country that works for everyone.”

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady commented: "High-quality apprenticeships are vital to our economic growth, and to young workers looking for a decent start to their career. The levy will give a welcome boost to funding for apprenticeships, and will make sure that all employers who benefit from a skilled workforce are paying their way. Trade unions look forward to working with employers to make a success of the levy and the apprenticeships that it funds."

Today also saw the launch of the government’s new register of apprenticeship training providers. All providers on the register will have to pass quality and financial tests. Those with an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating for apprenticeship provision will not be eligible to apply to the register.

Responding to today's announcements, David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges (AoC), said: “It is clear that the Government has listened to colleges, training providers and employers. We will all need to work in partnership to ensure that the levy is a success and that the reforms to apprenticeships deliver for students, employers and for inclusive economic growth.

"The levy and the reforms are big shifts in the apprenticeship programme which will need sensitive and watchful handling. The Association of Colleges will continue to work closely with the Government to help with those changes and support colleges to seize the opportunities that the funding reforms and new register will create.”

In March 2016 the government published a guide for employers on how they will pay the levy, access the digital system and pay for apprenticeships in future. This has been updated with the latest information for employers.

National Skills Academy for Health

The Academy's apprenticeship experts provide advice and guidance on all aspects of employing apprentices. They will help you identify which apprenticeship programmes would benefit your organisation the most, advise on funding and grants to help stretch your training budget and ensure you secure the best training provision through our network of quality-assured providers. If you are thinking about becoming a registered apprenticeship provider, whether for your own staff or others, we can support you to make that transition, ensuring you have the processes and expertise in house to deliver the best quality training.

We can also recruit, employ and manage apprentices on your behalf through our Apprenticeship Training Agency (ATA). This service enables you to benefit from hosting an apprentice within your organisation but, as the apprentice is employed by the ATA, we will take care of any HR issues, performance management and payroll administration.

To find out more about NSA Apprenticeship services and support, please call 020 7391 7173 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You may also be interested in: The Apprenticeship Levy: Infographic