Businesses urged to 'seize the levy'

Businesses urged to 'seize the levy'

Businesses operating in the professional services sector across the West Midlands are being urged to make the most of the new apprenticeship levy.

According to research by BMet College, just 3% out of the West Midlands companies expected to pay the levy are from the financial, legal and insurance sector.

Nationally, this is at 18%, even though Birmingham has the UK’s youngest population and the fastest growing workforce likely to join this sector between now and 2020.

From April 2017 the Apprenticeship Levy for employers will be set at 0.5% of their pay roll cost and will be offset by a £15,000 allowance.

This means an employer would need payroll costs in excess of £3m to pay the levy. The research findings were outlined during a roundtable discussion hosted by BMet College.

Suzie Branch-Haddow, director of the Greater Birmingham Professional Services Academy at the college, said: “The levy presents a real opportunity for employers to diversify their workforces by recruiting a mixture of university graduates and technically-skilled apprentices. 

“These new apprenticeships are expected to be worth £105m to Birmingham, so our professional services sector should be thinking seriously about how to gain the best returns from this through their future recruitment and training strategies.”

BMet is creating a partnership board with employers who together, will develop apprenticeships and training programmes to tackle local skills shortages and improve workforce diversity.