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For UK businesses that boast an annual wage bill of £3 million plus, the new 2017/18 tax year would’ve been met with the introduction of an additional ‘Employment Tax’: The Apprenticeship Levy, says Sukhy Dhillon.

For those yet to do their research, the Apprenticeship Levy has been developed to help create three million additional apprenticeship opportunities by 2020. How will it work? Well, all funds collected through the new employment tax will be accessible via the Government’s new Digital Apprenticeship Service, or ‘DAS’ account.

Businesses that pay the Levy, will receive a 10 per cent top-up from the Government for their contributions to put towards training and development, and those that don’t have to pay the Levy, i.e. their wage bill is less than £3 million per annum, will still have access to their own DAS account, but instead will pay just 10% of the usual apprenticeship costs, with the rest funded by the Levy pot.

Factual information and tax talk aside, the Apprenticeship Levy presents an exciting opportunity to help develop the UK workforce, to cut down unemployment and to provide an alternative career route for aspiring students, which doesn’t involve a debt of £30,000 plus for years to come.

Growing digital skills gap

How long has it been since you last looked at your mobile phone? Used a laptop or read something from a screen? I’m betting minutes. Technology is now evolving at such an exponential rate, that we, the human race, cannot keep pace.

The result? An evolving digital skills gap, that we need to fill, and quickly. Traditionally, training opportunities in employment are far and few between - with costs, time out of the office and lack of resource common demoninators for saying ‘No’. With the Apprenticeship Levy, Business Owners will have access to a whole host of training opportunities through Government Accredited Training Providers.

So whether you want to bring your tech team in-house, or improve efficiencies by helping staff learn new digital systems, now is your chance.

Reduction in unemployment rates

According to the latest statisitics, there are currently 826,000 registered NEETs [Not in Education and Employment] in the UK – a figure that represents 11.5 per cent of young people aged 16-24.

The creation of an additional 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 has the potential to seriously transform this statistic – a somewhat impressive turnaround in just three years. As it stands, there are currently thousands of businesses out there that embrace and welcome Apprenticeships, but there are equally thousands which don’t.

The Apprenticeship Levy will encourage Businesses to think about the benefits of recruting an Apprentice – and help them to evaluate the areas of their business that could improve or develop as a result of additional resource or internal training opportunities.

Alternative Career Paths

For years Students have been faced with two clearcut choices when leaving school – the first, secure a job - the second, enrol in University.

The Apprenticeship Levy provides the opportunity for students to take a different route to career success, combining employment with learning and development. It should be noted that this sense of ‘alternative career paths’ doesn’t just apply to new or young Apprentices. Ultimately, you can be an Apprentice, start a new job or build a new career path at any age.

Thanks to the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, this is now more possible than ever before.

Grab it by the horns

In essence, the Apprenticeship Levy serves a real purpose – and an exciting one at that. It serves the opportunity to help Businesses train and develop their staff members – it has the potential of reducing unemployment, and it serves as an alternative route in career development for aspiring students who don’t want, or cannot afford to attend University.

The key message? Businesses, stop thinking of the Apprenticeship Levy as another Employment Tax, and start thinking of it as funding for real opportunity – as if you grab it both horns, that’s what it will present.

Sukhy Dhillon, Marketing Director, Course Library

Course Library is the culmination of a strategic partnership between CV-Library and e-Careers, established to connect people to leading training partners and educational institutions, enabling them to gain qualifications or enhance their knowledge in an ever competitive and evolving world.