How to allocate your Levy to your Apprentices
The Apprenticeship Service (TAS) is operated by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and will be subject to ongoing change & development.
This guide has been written to support employers when allocating their apprentices using their Levy funds. Riverside will have no liability or responsibility for any inaccuracies that may occur now or in the future.
The Steps this guide will show you:
Step 1: Registration
Step 2: Sign your employer agreement
Step 3: Log in and choose Riverside Training to deliver training
Step 4: Approve your cohort(s)
Step 5: Viewing your Apprentice’s post cohort authorisation
Thanks for choosing Riverside Training as one of your selected training providers to deliver training to your organisation.
Step 1: Registration
If you have not done so already then you’ll need to register for the ‘Apprenticeship Service Portal’ You can do this by following the link here nad follow the registration procedure.
Information needed to set up your account:
- Government Gateway login details for the PAYE schemes that you want to include in your account.
- Details for each organisation that will be making an ahreement with a training provider for Apprenticeship training, including the companies house or charity number (if you have one)
If you don’t have a government gateway login details, you may need to ask someone from your payroll or finance department to help you set up the account.
Step 2: Sign Your Employer Agreement
If you have not done so already, you will need to sign a legal agreement with the ‘Education & Skills Funding Agency’ (ESFA) which will authorise your Apprenticeship funding to be paid to Riverside Training. If you navigate to the ‘organisations’ section within your account to sign.
Important information: If you do not sign the agreement, you cannot add apprentices to your account and allocate your levy funds.
Step 3: Login & select Riverside Training as your training provider
3.1 – Once you have created your account. Click on the ‘Start’ button and enter your login details.
3.2 – Once you have logged in, you’ll be presented with the following screen.
select ‘Add an applicant’
3.3 – You’ll be presented with a page advising you that you can either:
- Add details of one or more apprentices to your account
- Make sure your training provider gets paid through your account
In order to make the process as easy as possible for our employers, Riverside Training are recommending that you allow us to add your apprentices on your behalf.
This will limit the amount of input you will need to do, and enable us as your provider to ensure that the information entered against your Levy fund is in line with our agreement with your company. It also means it is accurate to the records we hold about your apprentices and prevents delay or errors in the ESFA systems and the utilisation of your levy fund.
You’ll be asked as part of this message to ensure that you have the following information before starting:
- Ensure that the organisation your apprentices will be employed through matches your account. Some employers have more than one organisation, if this is the case you’ll be given an option at the next stage to choose from the organisation that falls under your account.
- The name or names of your Apprentices. Riverside Training will enter this information on your behalf, based on the enrolment form that will be completed by your Apprentices. However, it is not essential for you to have this information at this stage. You will have the option to approve all entries that Riverside make on your behalf.
Important information: At this stage you will need to know how many apprentices you want Riverside Training to engage with in order to make a cohort. This will be explained in more detail further on in this guide.
Your training provider’s UK Provider Reference Number (UKPRN):
Riverside Training UKPRN: 10005488 – Riverside Training Ltd
Click on ‘Start now’ (please see below)
3.4 – If you have more than one option, choose the correct organisation for the apprentice(s)
Important Information: The contact of services that is held between Riverside Training and your company must have the same company name as cited in your digital account. If this is different, please contact your Account Manager in order for us to amend this and reissue the contract of services.
The example below shows one organisation called ‘WHAT’ . If this is showing the correct organisation for yourself, Click ‘continue’
3.5 – You will then be asked to add Riverside Training’s details.
Here you would enter ‘10005488’ and click ‘continue’
3.6 – The next screen will show Riverside Training’s details. You need to click next to the option to ‘ Yes, use Riverside Training Ltd’ and click ‘Continue’
3.7 – Assign a cohort to Riverside Training Ltd.
This screen will give you the option to add your own apprentice(s) or to opt for Riverside Training to add them on your behalf. We recommend that you let us do this on your behalf.
In order to do this, click next to the option ‘I would like my provider to add apprentices’
3.8 – Enter the basic details for Riverside Training to progress with the entry of your apprentices. We would benefit from you giving us the minimum of the following:
- How many apprentices this cohort will relate to?
Important information: You have a cohort per Apprentice or five apprentices that you wish to start all in the same period. This will depend on your internal recruitment or training plans.
We recommend that you limit the amount of cohorts if possible, as this will make client reporting easier for you.
- If you know the names of the apprentices feel free to add the names into the comments. Riverside can then cross them against submitted enrolment forms.
- The Framework/Standard for the Apprentices that Riverside will be delivering for you.
Then click ‘send’. Please see example below:
3.9 – You’ll receive a confirmation similar to what is shown below.
You have now done all you need to so. Riverside Training will take over the process and add your Apprentice’s details.
Step 4: Approve your cohorts following Riverside Training’s addition of your Apprentices details
Once Riverside have added your Apprentices to the system, we will send the cohort back to you via the portal and you’ll receive an email prompting you to log into your digital account.
4.1 – Log into your digital account and click on ‘Requests in progress’
4.2 – You will then see the below on the screen.
Click on this box to progress to approve the cohort.
4.3 – Click on ‘View’next to the Riverside relevant cohort:
Important information: You may be working with more than one training provider or have more than one cohort awaiting approval at any one time, so please ensure you are selecting the correct cohort if you do have more than one awaiting approval. You will be able to tell from the provider names and cohort reference code.
4.4 – Review the information within the cohort to ensure it is as planned and agreed with Riverside Training.
The following details should be checked as a minimum before approval:
- Number of Apprentices
- That the standard assigned to the apprentice matches what has been agreed
- That the total cost is in line with what has been agreed.
Important Information: If the total agree price exceeds the funding ban cap. for the standard/framework then you will receive a notification as part of this page. You will receive a message stating what framework/standard & the associated Apprentice has gone above the funding cap. If there are additional payments required for training being delivered, you’ll be invoiced by Riverside Training.
4.5 – Once you have reviewed the information on the Apprentices that are included in this cohort and you are happy to approve, click on ‘Continue to approval’ which you can see below.
4.6 – Here you will see three options. At this stage you need to click on the round button to ‘approve’ and click ‘Continue’
4.7 – You will then receive confirmation that your cohort has been approved (please see example below).
Step 5: Viewing your Apprentices post cohort Authorisation
5.1 – Login
5.2 – You’ll now see that you have an additional option to ‘Update existing apprentices’ Click on this option to continue.
5.3 – You will then be given a list of all the apprentices that have been approved via a cohort and the current status of the apprentices. You can expand on their information by clicking on ‘View’
What you CAN and CAN’T spend your Levy funds on
What you can spend your Apprenticeship Levy on!
- Apprenticeship Standards
- End Point Assessment
Even though you can only spend your Levy on Apprenticeship Standard Qualifications there is a huge variety available covering all aspects of your business.
Take a look at the Apprenticeship Standards available to use with your Apprenticeship Levy here.
End Point Assessment is 20% of the overall funding for the qualification.
If a learner was to start a Level 3 Team Leader Supervisor Apprenticeship Standard which totals to £5,000
80% will be drawn out of your account over 18 months (£4,000)
Therefore, the remaining 20% for the End Point Assessment will be debited out of your account upon the learner completing their EPA.
What you can’t spend your Apprenticeship Levy on!
Below is a list of what you can’t spend your Levy funds on, meaning you cannot draw funding out of your digital account.
- Travel subsidiaries
- Work placements
- In-house training programmes
- Licences needed to practice
- Commercial training
For instance, if you were to employ a new manager you can use your Apprenticeship Levy funds to train them within their new management role.
Training existing staff
Maximise the use of your Apprenticeship Levy by training existing staff.
The main areas to consider when selecting existing staff are:
- Project Management
- Operations/Departmental Management
- Human Resources
- Financial Services
- Team Leader Supervisor
- Learning & Development
Training your existing staff will help use your Apprenticeship Levy funds. Have a read of our blog ‘Apprenticeships are for everyone‘ to get a better idea of who can enrol onto an Apprenticeship
Training existing staff will also teach them new skills within their roles therefore increasing staff retention.
Additional incentives for young Apprentices
If you were to take on an Apprentice between the age of 16-18 you will receive a £1000 incentive. £500 will be paid once the Apprentice has completed 3 months of the Apprenticeship Standard. The final £500 will be paid once the Apprentice completes their End Point Assessment.
Choosing The Right Training Provider To Spend My Levy With!
Choosing the right training provider to support the Apprenticeship Levy for an organisation can be difficult.
Here are a few tips that will help you as a business choose the right training provider.
Notices of concern
The first thing to check would be to see if the training provider has any notices for concern against the business.
Click on the link below to see a list of training providers with a concern against them.
If they are on this list then it’s highly recommended not to move forward with that particular training provider.
Qualifications the provider specialises in
What qualifications does the training provider specialise in?
Throughout the training provider search, you will come across providers offering training in every sector.
This can be a disadvantage as it shows that the training provider doesn’t specialise in any particular area within your organisation.
Learner management system
Is their online learner management system easy to understand for both the employer and the learner on the Apprenticeship?
Taking on an Apprenticeship Standard can be difficult enough, let alone having to learn a completely new e-portfolio system once enrolled.
Riverside Training use a platform called BUD which is extremely simple to use. You can see an overview of it here.
Whats does the training provider offer that will benefit your organisation?
Riverside Training offer an additional Sales NVQ certificate, which has been added on free of charge, if a staff member was to enrol onto the Customer Service Practitioner With Sales Standard which you can see here. The learner gets the added value of an additional Sales qualification as well as the Customer Service qualification.
Does the training provider offer a recruitment service to find Apprentices in your location?
If the training provider offers a recruitment service to source apprentices for your business, then this is a big advantage as it will save your organisation time.
This will also eliminate the screening process, therefore making sure that the strongest candidates are put forward.
Locations of Work Based Tutors
Where are their Work Based Tutors or Assessors based? And how will they be able to accommodate your business needs?
Check if the training provider has Work Based Tutors in a variety of locations, or more importantly, in your location.
This is so that the learner isn’t waiting for months for an on site visit and has regular contact with a Work Based Tutor.
Doing this will give the learner the ability to raise any concerns or questions that will help them throughout their qualification.
Choosing a training provider you can trust
Finally, choose a training provider you can trust.
Meet with a few potential training providers face to face to see what they can offer.
See how they can help your organisation and if they show support for enrolling your staff on the right qualification.
The above points are areas to consider when finalising the right training provider to use for each department within your organisation.
Above all, choose a training provider you can trust and feel like you will have a strong relationship with.
See what response you get from the employer when you’re asking questions. If you can see that they care, it will make you final decision easier.
Use It or Lose It – The Apprenticeship Levy
The term ‘use it or lose it’ has been used by training providers over the last few months because if an organisation does not spend their Apprenticeship Levy funds by May 2019 they will, put simply, lose it. (Your first months contribution & up to 1 months’ worth for each under spent amount each month thereafter)
The Levy: Two Years On
As you have probably seen all over the internet, and from the hundreds of calls you might have received from training & development companies asking you questions such as ‘what are you doing with your Levy?’, a lot of employers can only respond with ‘what is the Levy?’. This is because a lot of organisations simply do not know enough about the Levy, what to do with it and how to set up a Digital Apprenticeship Service Account (DAS).
The Levy has been active now since April 2017, where the government has allowed 24 months for organisations to spend their Levy before the money goes back into the HMRC system and will be deducted from your account as tax.
Managing Your Account Effectively
Payments only start from the month that an Apprentice or existing staff member enrols onto their Apprenticeship programme, so for organisations who have a back log of funds building up in their digital account, you are like to get a false impression of what you can afford through your levy funds. Apprenticeship Levy training costs will always be debited and deducted from your account on a monthly basis and you cannot back date payments.
Maximising Your Levy Funds Now
The Apprenticeship Levy works by drawing down funding from the account on a monthly basis. For example, if an employee was to enrol onto a Level 5 Operational Departmental Manager Standard which is £9,000 and takes 18 months to complete, then the funding drawn down is calculated by spreading 80% of the cost over the 18 month period and the final £1,800 will be deducted from your account on the day of assessment occurs. This means that £400 would be drawn out of your Levy account on a monthly basis and the remaining £1,800 at the end point assessment (EPA).
What Are Employers Spending Their Levy On?
A recent study was conducted by the Open University with HMRC to look into what employers are using their Apprenticeship Levy funding for. It was discovered that 54% of organisations who are drawing down funds from their Levy account are using the money to train new recruits and take on new Apprentices within the business. The remaining funds are being used to train and up-skill existing staff or completely replace a graduate scheme that the organisation already had in place.
This is an advantage to all employers as it shows commitment to their employees that they are willing to invest on them to enable progression within their role. As Richard Branson famously quoted: ‘train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to’. Using this method and utilising your Levy funds on existing staff will not only improve morale, but it’s been proven to increase staff performance and satisfaction within their job role.
Different Ways of Using Your Levy Funds
As I have mentioned before, you can spend your Levy funds on existing staff members or by recruiting new Apprentices & new employees. Levy payments can only be used for Apprenticeship training, it can’t be used to subsidise staff salaries or commercial training. So utilising your existing staff is a good way to get the benefits from all funds paid into your account.
The Apprenticeship Levy has been active now for over almost 2 years and has completely changed the way organisations look at taking on Apprenticeships and up-skill their existing staff. This can only be a positive, as it means that employees who are working in large organisations now get the chance to enrol onto an Apprenticeship Standards in order to improve their knowledge, skills & behaviours within their roles.
Now is your chance to maximise your Levy funds before you simply ‘lose it’. Select the right staff to put through a qualification and make sure when you are drawing down funding for training you are using all funds available, because when May 2019 arrives (and it’s only around the corner) your money will start to disappear.
What is the Levy?
The Levy was introduced to employers in England in April 2017 to help fund Apprenticeships and to give employers more say in the level and type of provision available.
Many employers aren’t fully aware that the money, which has by now accumulated in their account can be used to training existing staff who may already have a range of relevant qualifications. Anyone in the business from those at the beginning of their careers to the CEO can use the funds to develop and improve their skills and will be considered an Apprentice for the duration of their course.
Find out more about what the Levy is by clicking here.
What Can You Spend Your Levy On?
The Levy can be spent on Apprenticeship training and assessment with an approved training provider and there are 400 different Apprenticeship Standards available to choose from. It cannot be spent on anything else such as wages, travel & subsidiary costs or any other costs associated with training. The new Apprenticeship Standards cover a broad range of professional development courses which have previously not been funded through governmental schemes and the number of people eligible for these places has increased dramatically. For instance, in previous years, any employees with a degree would not be eligible for an apprenticeship whereas now employees with a degree can embark on an apprenticeship course, providing that it allows them to gain substantive new skills and the subject is materially different from their degree.
Many organisations are starting with a full training needs analysis and prioritising Leadership and Management qualifications. The reason behind this is that if the managers are engaged and have a comprehensive understanding of the process and benefits of this type of professional development it will be easier to embed the culture of Apprenticeships into the business. The managers will then support other members of the team and more importantly allow their staff to engage and complete their qualifications.
Increased Staff Performance
It has been proven that by offering Apprenticeship training to staff it helps employees to improve their skills and retention. According to data from the National Apprenticeship Service, 92% of organisations that have engaged with Apprenticeships believe this offers more motivated and satisfied workforce and 80% of them have seen a significant increase in employee retention.
At Riverside we are delivering a significant amount of Management Apprentices from level 3 (Team leader/Supervisor) to level 5 (Operational departmental Manager) The most signed up for qualification in 2018 was Associate Project Manager at level 4 and we believe this is because many managers are great people who are excellent at their jobs are promoted to manager without any official or suitable training and development.
This is a great place to start
Leadership and management is a very broad area, and therefore it is important to recognise that a one-size-fits-all approach to training and development isn’t always the best option. Having specific solutions to your training and development needs can bring tangible benefits to a business.With a leadership and management apprenticeship you have the flexibility to be involved with the design and delivery of the programme. This means the content can be tailored to your exact business requirements, so the apprentices are getting relevant training to develop skills designed around your business need
Developing staff through apprenticeships can generate a real return on investment for many businesses. Apprenticeships are a great way to grow your team while keeping staff costs down, proving to be more cost effective than hiring skilled staff due to lower overall training and recruitment costs.
Additionally, as staff become better skilled and gain greater understanding of the wider business throughout the programme, confidence and independent thinking will develop. This can contribute to the generation of new ideas and suggestions such as improvements to business processes or strategies.
Which, in turn can have a positive impact on productivity and efficiency in the business, thus reducing costs.
Riverside work with employers to look across the business at the current workforce first, before looking at any potential new recruits. Who could benefit from a training programme or needs one to aid their progression or knowledge. Even departments such as accounting (normally a paid for course) look at the Apprenticeship and use your digital pot to fund it.
Finally, a company that is willing to invest in people by supporting apprenticeships is showing a positive approach to Corporate Social Responsibility, which is good for attracting both customers and future high-quality staff.
The Levy is well and truly underway and the numbers of organisations who are now engaging is making steady progress after an understandably slow start. In October the government announced a package of reforms to ensure the Apprenticeship Levy was fit for purpose and that it was providing Apprentices with the skills they would need to succeed.
Why are changes being made?
The changes are being made to introduce more flexibility to businesses so that a wider audience of people can engage in Apprenticeships, people who may be in the supply chain of the business not just direct employees. An extra 90 million of funding has been made available to help boost the number of people able to benefit from the high quality Apprenticeship training now on offer. A further 5 million has been allocated to the IFA (Institute for Apprenticeships) to help introduce new standards as well as updating and shaping existing ones to broaden the offer.
The government is also establishing a National Retraining Scheme to support adults across the country and equip the workforce with the skills needed for the new economy. While their scheme is being developed, the government is also funding additional projects including 30 million to test the use of AI and innovative Edtech along with 34 million for construction skills funding.
You may already know that the Levy can be used for training new recruits of any age as well as existing staff across all sectors, in a variety of roles. By upskilling your current team you can introduce new skills all of the way to degree level which not only helps to boost morale but in turn helps with staff retention.
How can Riverside Training help?
Riverside Training follows a very structured process to help you shape and/or enhance your workforce development plan at the very start of the process so that your Levy account is maximised from day one and for a 3 – 5 year period. We firmly believe that this early planning is essential for the success of any Apprenticeship programme being embedded into business as it cross references all job descriptions to the relevant Apprenticeship Standard and appropriate level so that when businesses are recruiting or promoting staff they know exactly which qualification goes with each role. This provides structure and consistency and will entice others to apply for jobs in the future.
The beauty of these qualifications is that they are delivered, in the main, in the workplace and the learning is captured and managed on a state of the art eLearning system called BUD. This allows the learner to access their work and to communicate with their tutor 24/7 which takes the pressure off the employer and employee to fit it in around the provider. This type of delivery is known as blended learning and it perfectly suits industry and commerce from time efficiency to financial cost.
How we can grow your team
Your team may already be highly qualified and you may wonder what you can possibly add to their technical competence, particularly if they are already at degree level. This is where Riverside comes into its own by looking carefully at their job roles and responsibilities we can make recommendations around development paths that will tangibly add value to their day to day performance. We develop managers from junior/supervisory level through to strategic staff who are shaping and directing the business. This is traditionally an area where organisations start and we are adept at introducing a management development programme into national organisations. We take on the work of meeting, screening and enrolling staff and report into the Learning and Development team on progress, it’s a simple as it sounds because of our skilled tutors and cutting edge software.
The introduction of the Levy has firmly secured Apprenticeships and created a parity of esteem with all other development routes on offer and as the new standards become familiar to employers they will look for these qualifications on CV’s and understand just what’s been learned to achieve these results which will add value and desire to this type of development.
What we believe
We firmly believe in the Apprenticeship Levy and we work hand in hand with our employers to ensure those staff on Apprenticeship Standards with us reach their full potential as employees and as managers of the future
Use it or lose it!
Remember, if you don’t start spending the money accumulated in your account by May 2019 you will start to lose it into a funding mechanism that supports your competitors, let us help you to get things moving, we are here to help.