Living with the levy


Spencer Moore, CIMSPA
Mac Cleves, Mac Consultancy Services
Nigel Wallace, Lifetime Training

Spencer Moore introduced the panel discussion with an update on the apprenticeships situation in our sector.

CIMSPA has been submitting and resubmitting apprenticeship standards since August 2016, with one apprenticeship standard that now on its 10th submission, but with no apprenticeships approved to date.

Standards have been submitted for  leisure duty manager and personal trainer. For recreation assistants, the standard also includes embedded content for gym instructor, lifeguard, swimming teacher and group exercise instructor specialisms. Once approved these apprenticeships can be used by the sector. 368 apprenticeships have been approved by the DfE to date, which can be used by employers if applicable.

On behalf of the sector, CIMSPA will be the custodian of the quality assurance process for training providers and end-point assessments – ensuring that standards are high, cowboys have no place in the market and the training and assessment is fit for purpose to meet the needs of the sector.

Recent statistics suggest that 36% of those who will have to pay the levy don’t know what to do. Only 1.3% of employers are expected to pay the levy charges, these are employers whose PAYE bill is over £3,000,000 and will be charged 0.5% of their annual payroll bill. Employers who have less than £3m PAYE bill will receive £15,000 allowance and will have to subsidise 10% of total fees, with government subsidising the remaining 90% – this is referred to as co-investment. Employers can either spend their allowance with training providers and end point assessments or keep the training provision in house, if the training infrastructure is robust and in place.

Mac Cleves and Nigel Wallace

Mac Cleves and Nigel Wallace

Monies will be taken from employers on May 1st 2017, employers will have two years to spend the money (monies taken on 01/05/17 will expire on 30/04/19), it is very much the case of ‘use it or lose it’.  All levy paying employers need to register their digital account through the government gateway before 31/03/17.

The allowance has to be tracked and spent appropriately and can only be spent on the cost of the apprentice training and end-point assessment. The allocation is not just for front-line staff and can be used for senior staff through higher apprenticeships or to create an infrastructure to support future training of apprenticeships.

Apprentices are going to follow framework developed by employers through the professional standards process and will learn knowledge, skills and behaviours relevant to their apprenticeship and the organisation they are working for. Training providers’ role is to provide support to apprentices throughout their learning process rather than providing a gateway assessment. Apprentices will have a ‘ticked competency’ approach whereby each element will be signed off as ‘achieved’ as they achieve them, with a final end-point assessment.

Apprentices under 25 are exempt from national insurance payments and employers can claim back £1,000 cash back per apprentice aged between 16-18 years.

Different organisations have taken different approaches to the direct grant that will come through the levy. Organisations can opt to become a main provider or an employer provider and deliver apprenticeships in house through internal trainers and education programmes. Funds can then be spent on tutors, room hire, certifications and registration, learning resources etc.

Employers can also opt to use training providers and outsource/procure all learning, training and assessment or source a training provider who will aid the employer to deliver in the short term and build an infrastructure and programme to deliver in house in the future. Those opting for in-house options will be required to pass OFSTED inspections.



Delegate questions:

Q. What happens if an apprentice fails an end point assessment?
A. From Nigel’s perspective there will be two routes that create this scenario, one whereby both the training provider and employer agree that the apprentice is ready for the end point assessment and the second option where the employer feels the apprentice is ready but the training provider does not. With option 1, the training provider should support the employer with re-sit fees, option 2 would see employers paying the re-sit fees.  All routes lead to the apprentice needing to re-sit the end point assessment and the details of fees should be negotiated with training providers.

Q. Are employers expected to procure end point assessors and training providers?
A. Yes, the employers should procure both end point assessors and training providers, but may wish to discuss end point assessor allocation with the training provider that they appoint.

Q. How will the integrity of assessors be assured?
A. CIMSPA will be the quality assurance agency and will work to maintain the credibility and integrity of the learning and assessment.

Q. Is there a minimum number of apprentices that a training provider will take from each employer?
A. No, employers can enter as many or as little apprentices with a training provider as they would like.

Q. Can the money allocation be used for existing employees?
A. Yes the money allocation can be used for both new and existing employees.

Q. Has CIMSPA got an end point quality assurance process in place that is available to the sector?
A. CIMSPA is currently developing an end point quality assurance process based on other sectors best practice of which there is limited information. Once agreed, the quality assurance process will be divulged to the sector.

Q. Are employees who have previously achieved a degree eligible for the funding?
A. Yes, the learning would need to be in a different field and achieve them a different skill set but they can use the funding to retrain.

Q. Does the new apprenticeship programme change existing apprentices?
A. Anyone signed onto an apprenticeship pre May 1 2017 will not be affected and will see no change to their learning or assessment plan.

Q. Do apprentices have to be employed in a ‘job role’ or can they just be an apprentice?
A. There is no obligation for employers to find a job role for apprentices after they have completed their apprenticeship, however, the sector should look to provide the best possible opportunities for apprentices and find ways to retain the best talent within the sector.

Q. Are apprentices entitled to minimum wage/living wage?
A. Apprentices will need to be paid the minimum apprenticeship wage.