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How to find out if your employer pays the Apprenticeship Levy

If you're interested in starting an apprenticeship to develop new skills and further your career, you could be eligible for ‘free’ tuition if your employer pays the apprenticeship levy.

What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

The Apprenticeship Levy encourages businesses to invest in apprenticeship training, with the aim of increasing the quality and quantity of apprenticeships in the UK.

Businesses spending more than £3 million a year on salaries pay money into an apprenticeship account. If your employer pays the levy, they have already set money aside for apprenticeships, and they are highly motivated to spend it!

What happens if your employer doesn't pay the levy...

If your employer spends less than £3 million a year on salaries then they don't pay the apprenticeship levy. But you may still be able to do an apprenticeship.

It's possible that your employer could pay the tuition fees of your apprenticeship and claim 90 to 100 per cent of it back from the government.

How to determine if your employer pays the Apprenticeship Levy

1. Ask your manager

If you haven't already spoken to your manager about the possibility of doing an apprenticeship, then now is a good time. You might find that they know whether your employer pays the levy!

2. Ask your Human Resources (HR) Department

If your manager doesn't know (or you'd rather have more facts before you have that conversation) then the next option is to phone or email your HR department.

Depending on your employer, you may find they know the answer immediately, or it may take a bit of digging. Not every HR employee will know much about the apprenticeship levy so be prepared to provide some background information for context.

3. Ask your Payroll Department

If you're still at a loose end, try speaking to somebody in your payroll department. Give them a quick call and ask if you can speak to somebody that knows about the apprenticeship levy (or apprenticeships in general).

4. Do your own research

This isn’t the most reliable approach, but you can use it as a last resort if your previous efforts don’t answer the question. You're just trying to find out whether your company spends more or less than £3 million per annum on salaries.

Do some research and try to find the annual salary payments. If that fails, see if you can find out how many employees the company has. You might find this on their website or on internal documents. Then make a conservative estimate of the average company salary, and multiply it by the number of employees.

Now you can move forward with your application.

If you'd like more information on the apprenticeship levy then visit the government website.