MA Leaders Club

How can pubs maximise using the apprenticeship levy?

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Employment opportunity: apprenticeships have a 70% success rate, delegates at The Morning Advertiser's MA Leaders Club conference heard (image: Getty/SDI Productions)
Employment opportunity: apprenticeships have a 70% success rate, delegates at The Morning Advertiser's MA Leaders Club conference heard (image: Getty/SDI Productions)

Related tags Multi-site pub operators Training Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships can help operators retain staff for longer, due to the high success rate of employees completing the training, one expert has stated.

Delegates at The Morning Advertiser​'s MA Leaders Club conference heard from HIT Training managing director Jill Whittaker, yesterday (Thursday 24 September) at Fabric in Farringdon, central London, who highlighted how to utilise the apprenticeship levy.

She said: “If you look after your people, show future, develop skills and show you believe in them people will show loyalty. Success rates in apprenticeships are about 70% of those who start one finish it.”

Whittaker went on to outline how pub operators can utilise the levy:

  • Approved apprentice training for your own staff
  • Any age
  • New or existing staff
  • Any level (from level two to seven)
  • Work with a Government approved provider or become an employer provider
  • Support other employers’ apprenticeship training

There are a few basic rules on how the levy, which is in place for businesses in England only, can be used. Whittaker said: “[It is] paid time to train of 20%.

“There were a lot of Government statistics came out and the talked about 20% off-job training (like day release or a day a week at college, but it doesn’t have to be a set day, it could be an hour here and there. It can also be integrated in the business.”

Levy rules

Also included in the rules are the rates for apprenticeships set by Government, the apprenticeship must be at least 12 months long (whatever the previous experience) however, Whittaker suggested some flexibilities around this were being discussed.

In addition, English and maths are compulsory (grade C equivalent minimum).

For operators that find themselves with left over levy, this excess can be used to give to someone else – up to 25% of previous year’s levy can be given away to other employers.

This is given via the Apprenticeship Service (DAS) and can be given to a specific area or a specific industry.

There are also financial incentive for employers with apprentices. Businesses that hired someone before January 2022 and got in programme before the end of March, received a £3,000 bonus but this has now ended.

However, Whittaker highlighted the other incentives, outside of a stronger chance of retaining staff.

Financial incentives

She said: “You do get £1,000 bonus from the Government for taking on someone aged 16 to 18 or someone from care.”

Reduced minimum wage, which is currently £4.60 for 16 to 18 or older in the first year however, Whittaker added operators could pay more than the minimum wage.

Also, under the category H for National Insurance contributions – if the employee is under 25 and on an apprenticeship, employers don’t pay national insurance for them. hem.

Looking ahead, there are suggestions the Government's apprenticeship plans will include the levy being drawn down in uneven tranches, something that could be particularly beneficial to seasonal businesses that could undertake the training in quieter periods such as winter months. 

However, this is not yet confirmed but Whittaker predicted an announcement could be made in April, before the changes are introduced in August.

She went on to outline the plans of a prisoner apprenticeship pathway for those who are about to released whereby prisons can link to employers and training can be started while prisoner is still serving their time.

Whittaker said not only would this help ease staff shortages, but it also means the chance of person reoffending if they have a job on the outside is minimised.

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