New apprenticeship levy for employers
By John Lanham, Director Strategic Regional Partnerships
A new apprenticeship levy will be coming into effect on 6 April 2017. All UK employers with a payroll of more than £3 million a year will be required to pay a levy of 0.5 per cent. Funds apportioned under the levy only being available for the cost of apprenticeship training with an approved provider.
Following this new Government-led investment in on-the-job training, UWE Bristol is expanding its provision for degree apprenticeships. Under a pilot programme the university has received £350,000 from the Higher Education Funding Council for England to develop its offering as a Government-approved provider, developing a portfolio of six degree apprenticeship programmes — five at bachelor’s and one at master’s level.
Higher apprenticeships combine paid work with studying for a higher-level qualification at university — a bachelor’s or master’s degree. They have been designed by employers, universities and professional bodies to deliver high-level skills and offer an alternative to a traditional degree course.
The new UWE Bristol apprentices — employees of organisations based in the West of England area — will study part-time for qualifications in everything from engineering and management to chartered surveying, IT and digital technology. Preparations are now being made to gear up for the first intake, with existing degree programmes being developed to ensure they meet employer needs and apprenticeship standards.
UWE Bristol is working in partnership with four regional colleges to develop its portfolio of courses, which may expand further in subsequent years to meet demand from employers.
The expansion of degree apprenticeships at UWE Bristol follows major Government changes to apprenticeship funding aimed at strengthening the reputation of on-the-job education by raising standards and creating more high-quality opportunities. From next month, an ‘apprenticeship levy’ will be imposed on the country’s largest companies to free up millions of pounds to support apprenticeships. All UK employers with a payroll of more than £3 million a year will pay a levy of 0.5 per cent.
The commitment to expand the number, range, and quality of apprenticeships will see universities and colleges across England offering 5,200 new opportunities to apprentices and their employers.