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Can I use the Apprenticeship Levy to train existing staff?

This is one of the most common question employers ask us about the Apprenticeship Levy.

The UK Government introduced the Apprenticeship Levy back in 2017 to fund and create new apprenticeship roles to help lift employment rates, close the skills-gap and boost the country's economy but many employers feel reluctant to take on new apprentices and have realised that they can utilise their Levy funds to train existing members of staff instead, to help them progress within their organisation.

Traditionally, apprentices have been viewed as only for entry-level school leavers or labour-intensive workers, but perceptions of apprentices are changing.

Apprenticeship standards now are designed and created by employers – for employers and are seen as an intensive training and qualification opportunity which emphasises quality, knowledge, practical skills and behaviours within a workplace and many employers are investing in apprenticeships for new managers, to help them get the right skills in line with industry standards.

Apprenticeships are assessed against levels, like many other qualifications in the UK, ranging from 1 to 7 and the higher the level, the higher the level of demand is required to complete it. This means an existing member of staff could undertake a level 7 degree equivalent apprenticeship in a specialist subject, which would, doubtlessly contribute towards their growth within the company.

Can I send my team on a one-day course using the Apprenticeship Levy?

In short: no. The system is designed to intensively educate and train individuals within their specific roles. Apprentices must follow the guidelines for apprenticeship standards, which state the qualification should last for a minimum length of time (starting from 12 months), apprentices must commit to spending 20% of their time on off-the-job training and the apprenticeship must include an end-point assessment.

Why would I want my existing staff to spend 20% of their time away from work?

Apprentices will need to spend 20% of their time ‘off-the-job’. This is by the far the most concerning problem for employers.

Most businesses can see this being applicable to new starts, but not to current employees but it doesn’t mean that apprentices necessarily have to be physically away from your organisation for 20% of the time, they just need to be doing something that isn’t part of their usual role.

And don’t forget, funds that aren't spent 24 months after they enter your account will expire. That means that if you received your funds in January 2021, you have until January 2023 to spend them.

Ready to talk to us about utilising your Apprenticeship Levy before your funds expire?

Get in touch with Mandy, our Business Development Director today.

We would love to chat about your training requirements and see how we can introduce an Apprenticeship Programme into your organisation by emailing

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