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From April 2017, the landscape of the training industry changed with the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, the single biggest reform within the sector in recent years. 

The Government has mandated that every organisation in the UK with a PAYE of over £3billion would pay 0.5% of their salary bill into a digital pot and those funds could only be spent on the training and development of their employees as apprentices.  


This move to apprenticeship standards is supposed to result in the delivery of more meaningful industry related qualifications and valuable, industry related skills.  

The Government calls this new levy Employee led training provision as standards are determined by groups of 10 employers getting together to determine the content and evaluation of each new apprenticeship.

These are called Trailblazers.

Essentially employers are now categorised as ‘Levy’ or ‘Non-levy’ payers. 

Levy Payers

From April 2017, employers or groups of companies / charities, with an annual PAYE bill (including all class 1 contributions) will be expected to make a mandatory 0.5% annual contribution (paid monthly) to the DAS (digital apprenticeship service) via HMRC returns. 

All businesses, who are levy payers will receive a further £15,000 training allowance from the government that will be added to their levy pot. In addition, levy employers will be credited with a 10% top up from the government every time a monthly payment is made to the DAS (Digital Apprenticeship Service), which can also be used towards the cost of training. For more information click here

Levy payer’s contributions are made monthly to their own account in the DAS (Digital Apprenticeship Service) via HMRC returns.  These funds will be held in a virtual account for a maximum of 2 years (from when you start paying) or until accessed by employers to make payment to a RoATP (Register of Apprenticeship Training providers), such as Gradvert for the delivery of apprenticeship qualifications. These funds can only be used for the delivery of teaching, training and assessment (apprenticeship standards or frameworks and end point assessments). Click here to find out more information of what funds can and can’t be used for.

Once the funds employers have paid into their DAS account are exhausted, employers will proceed onto funding any additional training under the apprenticeship co-funded model.  The co-funded model allows any levy paying employer support of 90% funding (provided by the government) to support the ongoing delivery of eligible apprenticeships within the business. This is often referred to as the 1:10 model.

Non-levy Payers

To some degree the changes to apprenticeships are not so significant for smaller business with annual PAYE bills less than £3 million.  In such cases, organisations below the £3 million threshold will still be able to access training, although they won’t be expected to contribute into the DAS.

The difference for smaller “non-levy” paying employers after the reforms is that they are expected to pay 10% of the apprenticeship funding directly (with the government providing 90%) before training commences with the training provider.

There is no cap regarding how many learners a non-levy training provider can have trained, providing the learners meet eligibility criteria and the employer makes the mandatory 10% payment.


Why Gradvert- What makes us different?

Irrespective of being a levy or non-levy payer or a commercial client, as a training provider, we take great pride in delivering the same quality of driven training to improve your business performance.  With a successful track record of delivering meaningful result driven programmes with our employers, we are excited at the prospect of being able to broaden our product offer and deliver the new apprenticeships standards, which are funded for employers who want to develop their teams and take their business to the next level.

We offer bespoke solutions for organisations embarking on the training and development of their teams, which are tailored to both individual and organisational needs and can be fully funded by the apprenticeship levy.

We apply our unique 360° approach when appraising each organisation’s ‘people strategy’.  Our delivery programmes are developed with employers and learner’s needs being the absolute top priority and we drive impact and results by aligning commercial goals with training requirements. 

Gradvert’s apprenticeships will embrace flexible modes of assessment such as assignments, presentations, 360° reviews, coaching and self-assessment and include the use of webinars and virtual training rooms. 

We support you to make best use of the funds available to you and to make sure that you understand the reforms, what government funding opportunities exist for you and how to make best use of resource.  In addition, we have developed a number of supporting tools which helps our partners plan and manage training costs and make sure they get the very most from their investment.  We bring real value to the organisations we work with and will never provide basic off the shelf, non-industry related training materials.  All our apprenticeship delivered courses are developed with the same attention to detail and passion for results as our commercial training programmes.


The 20% rule is often a stumbling block for organisations, stopping them from maximising the apprenticeship opportunity because they fear that their already stretched workforces will have to work a four day week while they are on an apprenticeship.  This is absolutely not the case. The government guideline of 20% is to ensure that learners have time to embed and apply their learning and can include team meetings,  site visits, townhalls, watching TED talks and talking to mentors. 

At Gradvert we see it as a real positive opportunity to review what people do within their role, evaluate working patterns and practices and offer clear demonstrable plans of learning which makes the 20% off the desk activities meaningful for the business and less daunting. 

We work with you to create a programme that fits your business’ aims and objectives. We can work with you through multiple streams of delivery and project work to not only collect the required evidence but to add value to a project or piece of work your business needs.

Frameworks have become standards, tutors have become coaches and employers have a much greater involvement in the development of their team’s future and qualifications.

With increased autonomy and closer working relationships between training providers and employers, there comes additional responsibility.

While this may initially seem like a challenge for some employers, we at Gradvert are extremely excited about having the opportunity to carry on our developmental programs, working with organisations who invest in staff, by increasing our range of impact driven provision to all our clients irrespective of being funded or commercial.

With so much negativity surrounding the 20% ‘off the job training’ or ‘side desk activity’, we see it as a real positive opportunity to review what people do within their role, evaluate working patterns and practices and offer clear demonstrable plans of learning which makes the 20% side desk activities meaningful for the business and less daunting.

We work with you to create a programme that fits your business’ aims and objectives. We can work with you through multiple streams of delivery and project work to not only collect the required evidence but to add value to a project or piece of work your business needs.

We can help you improve your business performance and take advantage of the current apprenticeship opportunities.


Apprenticeships are open to everyone whether you are new to a business or an existing employee (at any age and at any level within an organisation).

Apprenticeships are for anyone in your organisation who is a permanent employee. Currently 80% of apprenticeships are existing employees upskilling within their current role. There is no age restriction on who can be an apprentice.
Apprenticeship standards are in many different subjects such as Accounting, Investment Management and Leadership & Management, not just vocational roles and for people at all levels as they now go from level 2 (school leaver) to level 7 (Masters qualifications). 

You may only choose to have one provider who offers everything you need; however, you can have as many as you like. We recommend using specialists for whatever you would like to deliver rather than work with one provider for every subject. 

Your levy pot must be used incrementally and throughout the duration of the delivery programme. It is taken out of your pot in monthly increments for each learner that is registered as an apprentice with the government.

It is more effective to spread delivery with incremental starts throughout the programme as it will take a number of months to choose learners, providers and proceed with the schedule of delivery.

Yes - you can give away up to 30% of your levy pot to non-levy paying companies in our supply chain. This can be a great way to create talent pipelines and ensure quality in your talent organisations.



What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

What is an Apprenticeship?

How to spend your levy pot

How to maximise the levy within your business

Understanding your levy pot

To help you truly understand how you can maximise the Apprenticeship Levy in your organisation and future proof your business we can provide independent expert consultancy and share with you case studies on how to implement.

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