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Apprenticeship Levy

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Information for schools about the Apprenticeship Levy and employing Apprentices

If your school is a community school or a voluntary controlled school, or if your school’s payroll is administered by Newham Council, your school will pay the Levy via Newham Council. This is because Newham Council is the employer and the Council pays schools’ national insurance contributions, so schools will pay the Levy as part of the Newham Council Levy.

Grant Maintained Schools, Academies and Academy Trusts directly employ their staff, so they are the employers. Voluntary Aided Schools also pay their own Levy, as the Governing Body of the school is the employer. These schools will pay the Levy if they have an annual payroll (including NI) of over £3M. They will have their own Levy Accounts, and will not be included in the Council’s Levy Account.

As the employer, Newham Council is responsible for appointing and contracting with apprenticeship training providersSchools cannot contract directly with training providers if Newham Council is the school's employer

The Council provides two opportunities each year for schools to request apprenticeships

Information for schools wishing to take on apprentices from September 2019 or during the 2019/20 academic year 

Recruitment for September 2019 starts closed on 7th May 2019.  If you wish to employ or upskill a member of existing staff as an apprentice from January 2020 start, you need to complete and submit the request form on the right hand side of this page by 11th November 2019.

Step1: Check the amount that your school will pay into the Levy in each financial year via NPW.

Step 2: Identify the role/s for which you would like to recruit an apprentice (use the attached form for this)

Step 3: Check the available apprenticeship frameworks and standards on the form to identify the apprenticeship that matches the job role you wish to recruit to. Check that your annual Levy contribution is sufficient to cover the maximum in the funding band for the apprenticeship training. Check the length of the apprenticeship, as the duration may be more than one year, so you would be paying the funding for that apprentice over more than one year. If you wish to upskill an existing member of staff via an Apprenticeship, check the prior attainment criteria and Level in the standard or framework are appropriate for the staff member

Step 4: Complete the apprenticeship request form attached, and email it to newhamconnect@newham.gov.uk by 11th November 2019 (for recruitment from Jan 2020).

Step 5: After the form deadline, you will be advised of the training provider that Newham Council has contracted with for the apprenticeship, and you can then contact them to discuss appointing the apprentice. You will need to discuss your needs to ensure that a suitable apprenticeship framework or standard is available. If you are recruiting a new apprentice you will need to agree the apprenticeship wages that your school will offer. You have to pay a minimum of the national apprenticeship wage, which differs according to the age of the apprentice.  Your school may wish to offer higher wages in order to attract a strong field of candidates.  If you are planning to upskill existing employees, you will need to discuss the eligiibility criteria with the training provider to ensure that the staff members are eligible.  This is particularly important if the apprenticeship candidate already has qualifications at the same level as the apprenticeship they wish to undertake.

Step 6: If you are recruiting a new apprentice, you will need to contact NPW to see if there is an apprenticeship job description template for the apprentice role that you wish to recruit to.  If not, you will need to draft a JD and ask NPW to check that it is suitable for the apprenticeship role, includes any eligibility criteria (prior qualifications or ability, age and funding eligibility) and does not inadvertently give employment rights to the apprentice. You will need to ensure that the apprenticeship vacancy is externally advertised in the same way that all external vacancies for your school are advertised, and that applicants are able to apply via an application form in the normal way. We also recommend that all vacancies are advertised via Newham Workplace by contacting them on 0203 373 4167 or 0203 373 6797 about free advertising for your apprenticeship vacancy.

It is recommended that you involve the training provider in the recruitment process at an early stage. The training provider will help you to check the eligibility of applicants. For existing employees, the training provider will also need to check the eligibility of the candidate. If the candidate does not have GCSEs or Functional Skills qualifications in Maths and English, the training provider will need to carry out an initial assessment of the candidate's prior learning to ensure that they are able to study at the level required for the Apprenticeship. 

Step 7: For new apprentices, once your chosen candidate has been accepted and enrolled by the training provider, NPW will send out the Apprenticeship Agreement (Contract) to the Apprentice.  An Apprenticeship Agreement is different to a standard Contract of Employment. 

For existing employees, the training provider will work with the school to ensure that the school and the staff member undertaking the apprenticeship understand the commitment required, and the 20% off the job requirement.  The existing employee will need to enrol with the training provider and sign a learning agreement with the training provider. 

Newham Council will liaise with the apprenticeship provider to ensure that new apprentices have been recruited and appear on oneOracle. The Council will then pay the training costs to the apprenticeship provider via the Digital Credit system.

The Council has procured apprenticeship training providers for the 2017-19 academic years through Council procurement processes and procedures, which involved mini-tenders from registered apprenticeship training providers. 


Frequently Asked Questions


Why has the Government introduced an Apprenticeship Levy
The Government has a target of 3 Million people undertaking Apprenticeships within the next five years.  The only way the Government can significantly increase the number of apprenticeships available is to make it compulsory for large employers to offer apprenticeships, and make them contribute financially to the cost of apprenticeship training. They are doing this by introducing a Levy on large employers which came into effect in April 2017.
What is the Levy?
The Government introduced a ‘Levy’ on large employers with an annual payroll over £3M. The total pay bill includes all earnings subject to Class1a NIC and includes salaries, bonuses, commission, and pension contributions
Large employers pay 0.5% of their annual payroll to the Govt.. The Govt will allocate funds to the employer’s digital Levy account less 0.5% (£15K) which the employer can access to pay apprenticeship training and assessment costs.
Does my school have to pay the Apprenticeship Levy ?
If your school is a community school or a voluntary controlled school, or if your school’s payroll is administered by Newham Council, your school will pay the Levy via Newham Council. This is because Newham Council is the employer and pays schools’ national insurance contributions, so schools will pay the Levy as part of the Newham Council Levy.
Grant Maintained Schools, Academies and Academy Trusts directly employ their staff, so they are the employers. They will pay the Levy if they have annual payroll’s including NI etc., of over £3M. They will have their own Levy Accounts, and will not be included in the Council’s Levy Account.
How much will each school pay?
Schools will pay 0.5% of their annual payroll into the Levy. NPW Payroll has set up direct debits with schools for the payments, and the payments will be deducted each month by NPW. 
School payroll costs vary during the year, is this reflected in the amount the school pays?
Yes, the direct debit will take 0.5% of the total cost of each month’s payroll, so schools will need to take this into account when calculating how much money the school’s Levy contribution will be each year.

What if I have a payroll query about my Levy payments?

You should contact NPW 

What can my school’s Levy contribution be spent on?
Levy funds can only be spent on the training and assessment costs of approved Apprenticeship Standards and Frameworks. They cannot be spent on any other costs such as salaries, travel, management costs, equipment etc.
HMRC will collect the levy from the Council on a monthly basis, via PAYE and it will be paid into a ‘digital account’ for the Council.  The levy is then converted to e-vouchers which can be accessed by the Council via a newly formed Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment. The Council is responsible for the Levy Account, and will need to ensure that funds are only allocated and spent according to the Apprenticeship Levy rules. The Council collects the funds from schools via Direct Debit.
Are apprenticeships just for school leavers?
The term ‘Apprenticeship’ is often misunderstood.  Apprenticeships are often associated with a route into employment for school leavers. However, Apprenticeships are now available from Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) to degree and postgraduate level.  The training can last from one year to four years or longer.
Some apprenticeships are open to 16 & 17 year olds, and some require apprentices to be aged 18 or over. Apprentices can also be aged 19+ and 25+
Apprenticeships are essentially trainee jobs, so they are a route to becoming qualified in a particular job role. They include workplace assessments and qualifications appropriate to the job role and Level of the Apprenticeship, as well as an end-point assessment. There is also an expectation that the Apprentice will be offered a job by the employer on successful completion of their Apprenticeship
How would my school benefit from taking on an apprentice? 

Employing staff through apprenticeships can help to fill skills gaps in schools, and provides an opportunity to develop apprentices into skilled staff, ready to move into permanent job roles in schools.  A recent example of this has been the Level 3 Early Years Educator Apprenticeship at Sheringham Nursery School.  The school recognised that there was a difficulty in recruiting high-quality staff locally, and decided to start developing staff through the Apprenticeship route.
What is involved in employing an apprentice?
The Government Apprenticeship Scheme re-launched in April 2017, so even if a school has employed apprentices before, the process for employing an apprentice is now different.
The  school recruits the Apprentice, and is responsible for paying their wages. Apprentices must have the same working conditions as other employees, work a minimum 30 hours per week and must be paid at least the national minimum wage for their age group. Apprentices must also receive 20 days paid holidays.
Employers taking on an Apprentice must allow 20% of their contracted hours for ‘off the job’ training or study.  Some of this time can be used for coaching, supervision, work-shadowing etc.
The length of the Apprenticeship is determined by each Standard or Framework, and are generally between 1 and 4 years in duration
Although the Levy pays the training costs for the Apprenticeship standard, it cannot be used to pay for wages, travel costs, or the costs of managing or setting up an apprenticeship. The school has to pay for the Apprenticeship wages.

It is very important that schools work closely with the training provider to discuss the most appropriate apprenticeship framework or standard for that role, and an appropriate hourly wage rate.  Schools need to take account of the eligibility criteria for the standard or framework, and for apprenticeships in general, and the training provider will advise the school regarding eligibility.  Schools need to ensure that any eligibility criteria are included in the apprenticeship advertisement and in the apprenticeship description provided to candidates. NPW can advise on apprenticeship descriptions (similar to job descriptions) to ensure that they are compliant with Newham Council requirements.  Eligibility checks should take place before any offer is made to the candidate.  It is recommended that the candidate meets with the training provider and school to jointly enrol and sign the apprenticeship agreement and learning agreement at the same time.

If your school is employing a new apprentice, it is important to ensure that NPW issue an Apprenticeship Agreement to the apprentice, not a contract of employment.  

If your school wishes to upskill an existing member of staff, the training provider will need to check their eligibility for the apprenticeship framework or standard with the training provider, and the school and training provider will jointly sign a learning agreement

How do schools access the funds from their school’s Levy contribution?
Headteachers and Schools Forum were briefed about the Levy, and how it will operate in Newham in March 2017. Headteachers received a further briefing in July 2017 along with a request to schools for any apprentices that they wished to recruit for either September 2017 or January 2018 start. 
The briefing included the costs for each apprenticeship standard or framework, and bonuses for taking on a 16-18 year old apprentice, 19-24 year old care leaver or an applicant with an Education Health and Care Plan.  School Business Managers were further briefed in September 2017. 
The council put in place a process for schools to request apprenticeships twice each year, in the spring term for September start and in the winter term for January start.   
The Levy contributions remain in the employer’s account for 24 months so schools will be able to access their contribution paid in April 2017 up until March 2019 
Because Apprenticeship Levy funding can only pay for apprenticeship training, Newham Council does not have any resources to support schools with the recruitment of Apprentices. 


What happens to the Levy Credits if my school is going to convert to an Academy during this financial year?

If you have already recruited an apprentice before the conversion date, the apprentice will transfer to the new academy trust, as the trust will be the employer.  The trust would need to contract with the existing training provider to ensure that the apprentice could complete their apprenticeship.  The school's Levy credits that have been used to pay the provider for the apprenticeship training will only be paid up until the date of conversion.  Your Trust will need to register on the Apprenticeship Levy Digital Service in order to access apprenticeship training credits after the conversion date. 

If your school has paid into the Council Levy via the Council's payroll, and you have not taken on an apprentice, and are converting to an academy, you can contact Newham HR stewart.aldersley@onesource.co.uk to request your funding to be transferred. to new apprentices.  Funding can only be transferred via the DAS system to other organisations for specific apprentices, and Newham Council would still be responsible for recording the apprentice/s on the Council's DAS system. 


School Levy credits are 'live' for 24 months from the point at which they are paid, so Levy credits paid in April 2017 can be spent up to March 2019.  After that time, the Levy funding for that payment reverts to the Government.

My school is in Newham but the local authority is not the employer.  Our payroll is less than £3M per year, so we do not pay the Levy.  How can my school access Apprenticeship Funding?

The Government has announced funding for non-levy paying employers. The Govt will fund 90% of the cost of the apprenticeship training, and the employer (the school) funds the remaining 10%.  The Government has announced the list of training providers who have the funding to deliver apprentices for non-levy paying employers.  Funding is limited, so it is recommended that schools apply for the funding as soon as possible. Local providers in Newham who are in receipt of the funding are: Newham College, Skills For Growth, and Newtec. Alternatively, you can contact Newham HR stewart.aldersley@onesource.co.uk to ask if your school could use some of Newham Council's levy for apprenticeship training.




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If you wish to employ an apprentice, please complete the form attached and return it by 11th November 2019 for recruitment of apprentices from January 2020. (Recruitment for September 2019 starts closed on 7th May 2019).
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Apprenticeship Levy funding can only be spent on apprenticeship training. It cannot be used to cover any management costs. Newham Council is therefore unable to provide staff resources to support schools with the Apprenticeship Levy. We have designed a process with onesource HR to enable schools to access their Levy contributions. We are unable to provide individual advice to schools.
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Processes for the 2017/18 and 2018/19 academic years
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