Wirral to promote business growth through underspent Apprenticeship Levy

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Wirral Chamber of Commerce and Progress to Excellence Ltd, a national training provider offering courses in multiple sectors, have united in launching a new scheme which will utilise the underspend of Apprenticeship Levy funding.

The 6th April 2019 will mark the two year anniversary since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy. This anniversary will also mark the start of the Government’s ‘claw back’ of any unspent monies from April 2017.

Wirral Chamber of Commerce and Progress to Excellence Ltd have launched a new scheme which aims to raise levy payers awareness of the alternative ways that they can choose to spend their levy funds. Which at this time, many companies do not know about.

Businesses can ‘gift’ up to 10% of their total levy value to support other Wirral organisations in training their teams via apprenticeships. For example, they may choose to work with a charity of their choice, a smaller business in their supply chain or any other Wirral employer that could benefit from a re-investment in training and development via apprenticeships.

In leading the way, Wirral will be the first borough nationally to highlight how larger companies can support the growth of smaller companies in the local area.

Charities for example, as non-levy payers, could benefit by receiving some funding from a larger Wirral based business to help fund a wide range of apprenticeship training. Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of sectors such as leadership and management, business administration and ICT.

Levy payers will be able to decide, as individuals, who to ‘gift’ their under spent levy funds to. However, Wirral Chamber of Commerce has undertaken a survey to gauge the requirements of non-levy payers in a bid to understand from local businesses and charities how and where this potential funding boost would make the biggest difference.

Patsy Crocker, Executive Director at Wirral Chamber of Commerce said,

“Together with Progress to Excellence Ltd, we are committed to ensuring that our business community can take advantage of this initiative and, as always, we will look to support their aspirations for growth through creating opportunities which will accelerate leadership and management skills to generate expansion.”

This was echoed by Damian Burdin, CEO at Progress to Excellence Ltd, who added,

“Now is the time for levy paying employers to act. If they do not do so, they will lose these funds as the Government will take them back.

“I am calling on all levy payers in the region, who do not currently use their levy pot, to do so now. They can either use it for training for their own staff, or alternatively, pass it on to another organisation who may not have the funds to train their teams. The likes of a local charity or SME would reap major benefits by having access to such funds, and I cannot think of a better way to utilise this pot of money than to support the overall growth and prosperity of Wirral.”

In a report published in April 2018 by the Open University, there was £1.28 billion in apprenticeship funds sitting unused. The same report went on to warn that if employers didn’t start to use these funds, they risked losing as much as £139 million a month from April 2019.

Figures released in December 2018 showed that there were just 75,800 apprenticeship starts in 2017/18, a drop of 24 per cent on 2016/17’s total.

To support employers to find out more about this initiative, Wirral Chamber of Commerce and Progress to Excellence Ltd will be holding an Apprenticeship Levy Focus Group. This will take place on Friday 25 January between 9am – 10am at the Progress to Excellence Ltd offices at Pacific Road, Birkenhead. This event will be an opportunity for levy paying employers to find out about the support available to them, the impact of this initiative on Wirral SMEs and charities and, how it will add value to the Wirral’s economy whilst supporting corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments.

The partnership between Wirral Chamber of Commerce and Progress to Excellence Ltd demonstrates the commitment in supporting economic and business growth in the Wirral through innovative schemes and by making a positive impact to developing skills and enterprise.

To find out more about this initiative or to book your free place for Friday 25 January, contact Patsy Crocker by emailing [email protected].

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