Charities missing out on Apprenticeship Levy opportunities

Melanie May | 8 July 2022 | News

People shaking hands in an office. By Fauxels on Pexels

Low awareness of the Apprenticeship Levy and how it can be used by charities means many more could yet be benefitting from the opportunities it offers, according to the Positive Transformation Group.

Launched in 2007, all UK organisations with a payroll over £3mn per annum have to pay the levy – 0.5% of their annual pay bill. A form of tax introduced to help companies offer more apprenticeships, it is paid monthly through PAYE and stored in a fund that can be accessed to help pay for apprenticeship costs, with training providers paid directly from this.

After 24 months, unused money goes to the government – this totalled nearly £2 billion last year. Organisations can however gift up to 25% to be used by others – including charities – for the same purpose.

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Positive Transformation Group (PTG) helps large corporates and organisations gift their levy to charities and SMEs to pay for staff learning programmes from entry level through to full Master’s Degrees, identifying charities looking for staff development to support retention, upskilling and reskilling, and linking them with corporates seeking a charity or SME to support in this way.

According to George Greaves, its Director of Innovation and Talent, the range of learning programmes up to degree level are now available means a large proposition of levy spend is on reskilling & upskilling staff in addition to the traditional new entrant route.

Greaves explained:

“Some organisations are not at the stage where they’re looking invest in apprenticeships, and instead work with PTG to transfer up to 25% of their levy to either a charity of their choice. We might work with their existing charity partners – or they can give us some criteria that they would like us to use to source charities to gift it to.

 

“The corporates we are working with are keen to support fellow UK SMEs, charities and communities by providing high quality learning programmes. PTG has access to a talent, reskilling and retention fund worth over £12.5mn, which continues to grow with further corporates committing to it. This is used to provide industry recognised training and accreditation enabling people to upskill, with the added benefit to the organisation of helping to retain staff. This helps corporates make valuable social impact, while charities and SMEs develop capability at a time when funding is a challenge, and, importantly, individuals level up and progress.”

With PTG, Osborne Clarke for example has transferred £70,000 in unused apprenticeship levy to enable ten Royal Society for Blind Children senior managers to upskill through a Level 5 management apprenticeship.

Eileen Harding, People and Facilities Director at RSBC commented:

“With reduced training budgets due to the Covid-19 pandemic and a fundraising landscape taking a little more time to return to normal, the levy transfer has been crucial for RSBC.

 

“This funding is providing our managers with an opportunity they wouldn’t otherwise have had to grow and expand their skills and, ultimately, to better support blind and partially sighted children and young people, and their families.”

PTG is working to raise awareness of the levy among both corporates and nonprofits so more charities can benefit.

Levy opportunities for charities in brief

The government’s Apprenticeship Levy guidance can be found here.

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