Apprenticeships and training to be boosted by levy transfer scheme

A scheme which will help get people into apprenticeships in small businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk has been launched by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.

The Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Pool is being set up in partnership with Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils and will help transfer unspent apprenticeship levy payments from levy payers to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the area.

Levy payers with unspent levy need to be identified and encouraged to allocate some or all of their unspent levy to a virtual pot. Any preferred use of their funds – a certain apprenticeship standard, sector, location – will be identified at this stage.

The LEP or an endorsed partner will then source businesses direct or through an apprenticeship provider that has potential apprentices who are looking to ‘receive’ the funds. An introduction will be made and if all parties, including the training provider, are happy with the match, funds can start to be transferred.

New Anglia LEP is working with businesses, colleges and universities in the region to identify potential opportunities and a budget of £120,000 has been allocated to fund the development of the New Anglia Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Pool.

Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia LEP, said: “Intervention is required in order to boost the number of apprenticeship starts, particularly among SMEs which make up the vast majority of employers in the area.

“This scheme is part of a wider series of actions designed to support apprenticeships across Norfolk and Suffolk and it is essential there is a coordinated approach across stakeholders. This will ensure we can maximise opportunities and prevent employers being engaged multiple times by different stakeholders.”

Natasha Waller, Skills Manager for New Anglia LEP, said: “This will be a massive boost for apprenticeships and training at a time when these opportunities are dwindling. People are central to all of our ambitions and goals and this underlines our commitment to help people of all ages set their aspirations high and open them up to the careers available to them.”

For the initiative to work effectively and to have a significant impact, it needs to be done at scale and with support for both the levy payers – companies with a staffing bill of more than £3 million a year – and the SMEs.

An apprenticeship levy coordinator has been appointed by the LEP and this post will be funded for the two years of the programme.

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