Should the apprenticeship levy just focus on apprentices?

With employers, training providers and industry leaders all eagerly awaiting more details to be announced regarding the apprenticeship levy, the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) has raised concerns about the levy being reserved purely to fund apprentices and not being divided between this route of vocational training and traditional courses of higher education, such as employer-sponsored degrees.

The apprenticeship levy is due to be launched in April 2017, with employers who pay over £3million a year in their wage bill contributing 0.5% of their overall wage bill into the levy to invest in training for apprentices.  However, the HEPI believes that employers who will be paying the levy will neglect also sponsoring and supporting students to undertake degrees as they will already be investing money towards apprentices and will not wish to duplicate their funds.  1 in 10 students are currently sponsored by an employer, and the HEPI are concerned this will drop with more focus on apprenticeships.

While the group fully support the government’s commitment to developing and promoting apprenticeships, they are asking for consideration to be given to the impact the levy could have on other routes to training.

Attending university or undertaking an apprenticeship has different benefits for both the learners and employers.  Some professions require a degree, however degree apprenticeships are an excellent way for students to work towards their qualification while also learning on the job skills and not running up massive debt.  Employers will see the return on their investment from hiring an apprentice in a variety of ways, including increased productivity, staff retention and a loyal workforce, as well as accessing skills through a qualification that has been designed specifically for their industry.

More details regarding the apprenticeship levy are due to be announced by the end of this month.  For more details on the benefits of recruiting an apprentice, you can contact the Aspire Training Team on 01202 551553 or email

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