Use it or Lose It Warning to Employers who pay into the Apprenticeship Levy

Leading HR training and qualifications specialist Watson Martin is warning employers who pay into the Apprenticeship levy to spend their investment by April to avoid losing funds credited to their account.

The Government announced when the levy was introduced in April 2017 that any unspent funds in an employer’s account will expire after 24 months. With time running out to make use of the first tranche of money, Watson Martin is urging employers to act now to make the most of their investment.

All organisations with a salary bill of over £3 million are paying a 0.5% levy through PAYE to help fund Apprenticeships. Employers can recover this levy through the delivery of Apprenticeship training. They can also transfer up to 10% of the annual funds to small employers and Apprenticeship training agencies. The scheme is part of a major drive by the Government to significantly increase the number of apprentices.

However, one of the main barriers to the initiative is employers who are concerned about the 20 per cent of off the job training that is a core requirement of all Apprenticeship programmes.  Yet this, says Watson Martin’s Apprenticeship expert Sharon White, does not need to be the case.

Approved as a main RoATP provider in January 2018, Watson Martin works both with companies which pay into the levy and in collaboration with other training providers to deliver HR Levels 3 and 5 Apprenticeship programmes nationally.

The programmes are all tailored to the company’s needs and therefore cater more for individual working environments along with organisational cultures, policies and values.

“There are a variety of ways to deliver Apprenticeship programmes,” Sharon explains.  “Some will be via a day release programme, others will follow a more blended learning approach which could include both e-learning and classroom based delivery.  There is no right way and a good training provider will work with you to achieve the best delivery method for your organisation that also meets the 20 per cent off the job training requirement”.

“One of the organisations we work with, for example, is a large retailing group. We know there are peak times when they don’t want their apprentices off the job, so we have taken this into account when designing their Apprenticeship programme.

“It is important for employers to note that the 20 per cent does not have to be one day a week every week but is about the whole programme. As well as training that is delivered directly, it includes supported open learning and time spent working with online resources.  It also includes any coaching at work that is teaching the apprentice new skills that are part of the Apprenticeship standard and projects they are doing within the workplace,” she says.

For employers still looking to spend their levy investment, consider where apprentices would most add value in the organisation.  If you don’t want to lose your front line staff to an Apprenticeship scheme consider the more generic job functions of HR, finance or marketing.

Sharon adds: “Apprenticeships provide a great opportunity to not only attract new talent but to train existing teams.  There are hundreds of Apprenticeships available to suit a range of job roles for most businesses and people of all ages can apply.  With all the available data indicating the schemes improve staff retention, loyalty and job satisfaction, it makes business sense for companies that haven’t made use of the levy to take the plunge and get on board now.”

Watch the Video

To find out more, watch the live recording from Watson Martin’s Learning Technologies seminar at London’s ExCeL – How to Make Apprenticeships Work for Your Business –  with Apprenticeship experts Sharon White and Heather Watson.

Or, call our specialist advisers on 020 7932 2760 or email

Coming soon from Watson Martin …

  • New Learning Bites Discussion Forum on Apprenticeships to answer all your questions.