May 26th, 2017.

Amid the firm spotlight in recent weeks being pointed towards the snap general election, 2017 to date has also been an incredibly important year for apprenticeships. By the end of May, all employers operating in the UK with a pay bill of over £3 million each year will have made their first payment into the new apprenticeship levy, of 0.5 per cent against their annual pay bill. The monies raised from this levy are designed to help fund the development and delivery of small business apprenticeships, aiming ultimately to improve both the quality and quantity of those available.

With the government setting out a commitment to reach three million apprenticeship starts by 2020, the introduction of the levy is seen as a key means to help deliver this goal, as well as help to solve years of chronic underinvestment in skills.

But while the levy payments themselves are being made by some 20,000 businesses throughout the UK, the funding that will accrue can benefit companies of all sizes. SMEs have a vital role to play in helping the government achieve its new starts target for apprenticeships, and in the success of the system overall. Clearly, with SMEs making up 99 percent of all businesses, that is a significant pool from which to help drive up small business apprenticeship numbers.

Appealing to the worker and the workplace
Small business apprenticeships are mutually beneficial for the employer and new apprentice alike. For the apprentice, the scheme can offer a route directly into the workplace, offering the training and skills to become work-ready in your chosen profession while earning a wage along the way.

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