We can and must make the apprenticeship levy work for industry, says skills expert Semta

Semta is urging businesses in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector – of all shapes and sizes and in all parts of England- not to miss out on the opportunities afforded by the new apprenticeship levy.

Annette Collins, Head of Semta Apprenticeship Service says that businesses need to make the most of the fundamental changes to skills funding arriving this Spring.

Semta Apprenticeship Service has been working with employers across the sector to help them to prepare for the levy since its announcement in the summer of 2015 and has developed a “one-stop shop” service to make spending levy funds on high-quality, industry-developed apprenticeships as simple as possible for employers.

“This is a momentous moment in skills provision – one not to be taken lightly,” said Annette.

“We have skills shortages across the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector, and the levy offers an opportunity to employers across the sector to spend a potentially quite substantial sum of money on meeting their skills needs.


“It’s really important to remember that employers will be able to be creative and flexible in how they spend their levy funds to benefit their business.  They will be able to use them to up-skill and re-skill existing workers, as well as to recruit new talent. The Semta Apprenticeship Service will be there to help those in industry to maximise business and learner impact.”


On its introduction on 6th April 2017, the levy will be set at a rate of 0.5% of an employer’s annual payroll – a £15,000 allowance from government will mean that only employers with annual payrolls of over £3m will ultimately pay any levy. This means that a majority of employers will not pay the levy and will not pay for their apprenticeships with the new digital voucher scheme.  Instead, 90% of the cost of their apprenticeships will be covered by government, with further top-ups being offered too so that some non-levy funded apprenticeships will continue to enjoy full government funding.


From Spring 2018, levy-paying employers will be able to transfer up to 10% of their apprenticeship vouchers to SMEs and their supply chains – offering the prospect of millions of pounds’ worth of additional funding cascading down through the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector.


“These huge changes may seem daunting, especially to smaller companies  –  we will put our strong heritage of 60 years serving the engineering sector and our unique status among apprenticeship providers as part of the Semta Group to best use,” said Annette.


The new Apprenticeship Levy service sees the provision of a strategy to deliver apprenticeships for businesses that utilises the expertise of the entire Semta Group:


  • Information, advice and guidance
  • Support to identify the right apprenticeships
  • Advice and support to develop a new apprenticeship standard if there isn’t an existing route available to meet employers’ needs
  • A fully managed apprentice recruitment service
  • Access to managed and quality assured levy compliant training delivery
  • Specialist assessment services – throughout the duration of the apprenticeship and end-point assessment
  • Dedicated levy consultation service.


Semta Apprenticeship Service has just received a very positive Ofsted report, confirming our Good quality credentials, which found that ‘Directors, Leaders and Managers work relentlessly and effectively along with employers, to improve the quality of apprenticeships.’


The Apprenticeship Service was deemed to be ‘Good’ across the board with effective leadership and management, quality teaching, learning and assessment – personal development, behaviour and welfare – outcomes for learners – and apprenticeships. This is backed up by recent research which showed that 90% of Semta Apprenticeship Service’s learners stay with their apprenticeship employer, providing a great return on investment for the business and positive career benefits for the individual.


“There is an unprecedented amount of change currently taking place in the skills arena.  However, built upon our unique industry insight, the Semta Group can help employers to fully prepare for the challenges and opportunities this offers, helping to develop skills solutions that ensure maximum business and learner impact,” added Annette.