Secretary of State announcement - all employers in England to have better access to buy high quality apprenticeships


Monday 20 May 2019



Small and medium sized businesses, who don’t pay the Apprenticeship Levy, will take full control over apprenticeships in their business as they come on board the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s award-winning apprenticeship service.

Every apprenticeship employer in England will soon have access to the full benefits of the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s (ESFA) award winning apprenticeship service. With the first employers and providers commencing their use from summer 2019.

Currently, only apprenticeship levy-paying employers - those with an annual total pay bill of over £3m - or those in receipt of a transfer of apprenticeship funds - are able to use the full benefits that the apprenticeship service brings.

Whilst all other employers (those who do not pay the levy) have had access to some of the functions, such as ‘find an apprenticeship’, the ESFA is opening up the apprenticeship service to employers of all size, regardless of whether they pay the levy or not. This will provide employers with the choice over how they want to control the use of apprenticeships and make them work for their business.

Over the course of the next year, all employers will be able to control how they pay for their apprenticeship training, and assess and recruit their apprentices. They will also have access to a larger pool of training providers to deliver more relevant training for them.

To give employers and training providers time to prepare to take full advantage of the move to the apprenticeship service and ensure stability in the marketplace, the ESFA will introduce this change over a transition period, more details of which we will share shortly. During the transition period, the ESFA will invite non-levy employers to the apprenticeship service for user testing. The ESFA will test the service with a selection of employers and partnered providers through an Expressions of Interest (EOI) phase.

Through the apprenticeship service employers can:
- Manage their apprenticeship funding
- Select a suitable apprenticeship standard or framework and an End Point Assessment Organisation
- Advertise an apprenticeship and select a suitable provider to deliver their apprenticeship training
- Give real-time feedback on the quality of training provision they receive
- Have control over the amount of apprenticeship funding paid to their training provider on their behalf, so there is better intelligence to maximise their apprenticeship training spend
- Provide government with apprenticeship demand data to ensure an valuable apprenticeship market place.

The ESFA will begin a staged communication process with the sector through GOV.UK and in ESFA Update, this will detail the full transitional arrangements.

Dominique Unsworth BEM, SME Ambassador, said: “Moving the significant numbers of employers that do not pay the levy onto the service will bring greater opportunities for employer choice; it will empower more companies – especially small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) – to connect with apprenticeships, to make more informed choices around the quality of the apprenticeship marketplace.

“It’s vital that we make it as simple as possible for SMEs to engage with high quality providers. As the Chief Executive of a small organisation myself, I am already seeing real benefits and I want others to do so as well.”




Forthcoming Events

June 21 2019 / 12.00pm onwards
Business Open Day
June 21 2019 / 12.30-2.30pm
Peterborough Construction Network
June 26 2019 / 5.00-7.00pm
Informal Networking Evening – Fenland
June 28 2019 7:00PM / 7.00pm onwards
Comedy Night and Black Tie Dinner - Peterborough