Use it or lose it - don't miss out on the apprenticeship levy!

Tue 7 May 2019
Posted by: William Barns-Graham

apprenticeship levy - use it or lose it

The apprenticeship levy is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to ensure they have the skilled staff and knowledge needed to maintain competitiveness in international trade and supply chains, and to ensure the they have the proof of competency that is required for meeting many key regulatory standards.

However, it is an opportunity being wasted by too many businesses who have been paying into it, not using it and are now losing it.

Payments into the levy can only be used for 2 years, meaning a business who paid into the levy in April 2017 will now have lost the ability to use that payment towards the cost of putting their employees through a degree apprenticeship – including some of the programmes being run by the Institute of Export & International Trade.

The opportunity being wasted cannot be overstated. Having employees with industry-approved knowledge and skills relating to international trade processes and supply chains has never been more important – and the levy helps you to get these cheaply!

Further, staff competency is now a significant requirement from regulators towards the attainment of several key industry marks of approval – including AEO status. Being recognised as meeting international standards like AEO is vital for maintaining supply chain competitiveness in an increasingly crowded market.

Degree apprenticeships are an incredibly cost-effective way for companies to demonstrate these vital competencies and to meet these important standards.

How the apprenticeship levy works

Since April 2017, businesses with an annual pay bill of £3m+ have been paying 0.5% of their wage bill to the government for an apprenticeship levy. In return, they receive 100% funding of the cost of a qualification within two years of the payment. Smaller businesses with an annual pay bill below £3 million receive 95% of the costs of the qualification.

An employee being put through the Institute’s ‘Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship’, for instance, gains a Foundation Degree in International Trade, a Bachelors Degree and Chartered Manager status. It is the only degree apprenticeship of its kind that can give you the skills of global trade that will be essential in the years to come, with Brexit looming.

The apprenticeship levy therefore allows your business to upskill staff cheaply and, importantly, helps you to retain them. They gain access to a wealth of learning support resources and information, and they get hands-on support from the Institute’s vastly experienced tutors. The learning assessments are designed to link into the business circumstances of the student, meaning they are always learning practical steps they can take to improve and optimise their business.

Use it or lose it

Businesses who have been paying into the apprenticeship levy since April 2017 need to start offsetting payments against approved apprenticeship qualifications as soon as possible or risk not being able to use them at all.

To find out more on Apprenticeships in International Trade please telephone the Institute on 01733 404400 or email