Government announces digital apprenticeship service

The government has published its proposals for a new funding model for apprenticeships that will allow businesses of all types to apply for funding to take on apprentices.

Under the plans for the levy, the government has proposed that employers that are too small to pay the levy – around 98% of employers in England – will have 90% of the costs of training paid for by the government, reassuring millions of small businesses. Firms operating in the UK with an annual pay bill of over £3m will be required to pay into the programme through PAYE.

Extra support, worth £2,000 per trainee, will also be available for employers and training providers that take on 16- to 18-year-old apprentices or young care leavers. Employers with fewer than 50 employees will also have 100% of training costs paid for by government if they take on these apprentices.

This will help to ensure every young person, regardless of background or ability, has the chance to make their first step into work, the government said.


Digital apprenticeship

The newly published proposals for a new funding model for apprenticeships and further details on the apprenticeship levy also stated that the government will launch a digital apprenticeship service to help firms properly implement apprenticeship schemes.

Businesses will be able to apply for apprenticeships through a digital apprenticeship service account with HMRC, and can use the funds to pay for training and assessment for their apprentices in the UK.

Responding to the announcement techUK’s director of policy, Charlotte Holloway, commented: “Today’s update from government will give tech companies a good deal of reassurance that a number of substantial concerns on the detail of the levy have been listened to and acted on. Education secretary Justine Greening should be applauded for listening to the needs of tech companies, in particular on supply chain flexibility and recognising through the funding band model that companies are incentivised to invest in higher level high-quality apprenticeships.

“Particularly welcome is the detail that companies will be able to use levy funds to help existing employees acquire new skills. The world of work is changing, driven in part by the increased adoption of new technologies right across the economy. This move will help responsible companies upskill their employees to thrive in the modern digital economy.

“However, there are still a number of unanswered questions, including on the operation and makeup of the Institute of Apprenticeships. We also encourage the government to reconsider including digital skills alongside English and Maths in minimum standards required for all new apprenticeships created over the coming years.”

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