From today, Monday 27th September 2021, employers can apply to receive a transfer of apprenticeship levy funds from a levy paying employer through a new online service.
Any employer in England with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million will being paying the apprenticeship levy – funds which can then be used to pay for the training and assessment costs of an approved apprenticeship. These employers can now transfer up to 25% of their available levy funds to a receiving employer and a new online service has been launched to help receiving employers apply for and access these funds.
The service has been made available so that smaller employers can find and receive apprenticeship levy funds which might otherwise expire, and it gives levy paying employers an opportunity to choose where their unspent levy funds are used. It is hoped that the service will make the process of accessing transferred funds, which are advertised through an online portal, much simpler and will help to drive up skills and fill gaps in industries like construction or health and social care where more apprentices are needed. All employers, including Apprentice Training Agencies and Shared Apprenticeship Schemes, can apply for a transfer of funds, which can be used to upskill new apprentices or existing staff, from Monday 27th September via their managed service account.
How does it work?
From 13th September 2021, levy paying employers can advertise funds available for transfer and even specify where they want these funds to be spent (location, sector, type and level apprenticeship). Currently, 22 employers have ‘pledged’ funds worth many tens of thousands of pounds and these will be available to employers who want to apply to receive a levy transfer from 27th September 2021 via their ‘manage apprenticeships’ account (employers without an account can create one at https://accounts.manage-apprenticeships.service.gov.uk).
Employers, training providers and intermediary bodies, such as Combined / Local Authorities, Chambers of Commerce, sector specific bodies and Local Enterprise Partnerships will be able to view these pledges, but only employers will be able to apply for transfers.
What does the application process look like?
In order to apply to receive a transfer, an employer must have a manage apprenticeships account - we recommend creating one as soon as possible so that you are ready to apply for and receive a transfer if approved.
You may choose to work with one of the intermediary bodies detailed above who will be able to view the transfer opportunities and facilitate connections if you wish, but this isn’t essential. Having seen the application process, we are pleased to report that it appears straightforward and user-friendly.
Once logged in to your manage apprenticeships account, you can search find a business to fund apprenticeship training or scroll down to Finances and click on Your Transfers.
All of the funding pledges available will be displayed on screen and you will be able to filter pledges by location, sector, apprenticeship roles and levels. To apply for one of the pledges on offer, simply click Apply. Employers can apply to receive a levy transfer even if they don’t match the criteria set by the employer making the pledge and it’s worth noting that the pledger could be anonymous at this stage, however, their name will be visible to you once they respond to your application.
When creating your transfer application, you will be asked a series of questions as follows:
Apprenticeship job role – this links to the list of apprenticeship standards approved for delivery
Number of apprenticeships
The platform will calculate how much the training will cost for the current academic year and you will be asked whether or not you have already found a training provider – this is a Yes or No answer.
Next you will be asked about your business:
Select one or more of the sectors that best describes your business
Enter the location details of where your apprentice(s) will work – the platform may suggest a local area if the employer you are applying to has specified location criteria – but you will also have the option to select Other and add your own location details
You will then be asked a question about why you want to employ an apprentice, what benefits it will bring to your business and any long-term plans for the apprentice. This question is optional and has a 200-word limit, but we would encourage you to complete it – it could make all the difference to your application.
And, finally, you will be asked for your contact details:
Email address (you can add multiple addresses here)
Business website (if you have one)
You can go back and edit your application and, once you are happy with it, will be asked to make a number of declarations before you submit – these include that you want to make the application, that your application is truthful and accurate, and that you will comply with the funding rules and not offer any incentives or inducements to the pledging employer. Once you have created your transfer application, the system will show you the earliest date that funds will be available to you if approved, so that you can plan your recruitment accordingly and all your details will be passed directly to the employer offering the funding.
Once your application has been received by the levy paying employer offering the transfer, they will be able to approve or reject your application. If they approve your application, you will need to accept the transfer, decline it, or cancel your application.
You can apply to other advertised pledges, but remember, if you apply for the same funds from multiple employers and accept one, please make sure you cancel the other opportunities so that these funds are available for other employers to apply for.
What happens once the transfer has been approved?
If the transfer is approved, when you next login to the manage apprenticeships service you will see a notice on your homepage advising you that an approval is awaiting your acceptance and, once accepted, you will receive a notice confirming that you have successfully accepted a transfer. The notice will confirm when you will be able to use the pledged funds and you will then be able to add apprentices for this transfer of funding before the sending employer can review and approve the details after you have added them.
The receiving employer will receive details about your application and is given the opportunity to contact you, approve the application, or reject the application. It will also tell the employer if they have sufficient funds to accept your application. In the future, employers will be able to add reasons why an application might be declined, but for now this functionality remains unavailable.
There are some rules to consider…
A transfer must be agreed and put in place before an apprentice starts their apprenticeship, except where a learner is transferring from one employer to another and the new employer is applying for a transfer of levy funds.
The amount of the transfer should cover 100% of the eligible training and assessment costs (up to the funding band maximum) for the duration of the apprenticeship.
If, at any point, the sending employer has insufficient funds to cover the transfer of funds, then the receiving employer will enter employer co-investment if they don’t pay the levy, or use their own levy funds if they do pay the levy.
If the negotiated price for training and/or assessment exceeds the funding band maximum then the receiving employer will be responsible for paying the additional costs.
The receiving employer must not offer or provide any incentives or inducements to the sending employer.
Once a transfer of funds has been processed, the responsibility and liability of the transfer-funded apprenticeship lies with the receiving employer.
The receiving employer doesn’t need to transfer funds back to a sending employer if the apprentice withdraws from the apprenticeship. As funds are paid monthly, those that have already gone out will have been spent and no future funds will be drawn down from the sending employer once the apprentice has been withdrawn.
A sending employer can suggest a training provider but cannot stipulate that a receiving employer must use them or an EPAO.
The receiving employer doesn’t need to worry about the 24-month expiry rule – as funds are paid monthly, they will be used as they are transferred.
Seeking Advice from an Apprenticeship Expert
If you have any further questions regarding the application process, or require the help of an apprenticeship expert, Get In Touch and a member of our team will be more than happy to speak with you. For more blogs and apprenticeship FAQs, check out our Latest News.