A SCHEME set up West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to fund apprenticeship training for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is within touching distance of its £40million target.
The Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund enables large employers to pledge their unspent levy to fund the training of apprentices at SMEs.
A total of £39.6m has now been pledged to the scheme and the WMCA has launched a fresh push to get even more SMEs to take advantage of it through its levy donor delivery partners.
The push was announced at the recent Movement To Work Summit, an event held in Birmingham to offer business leaders an opportunity to listen to young people and understand the barriers that they face in securing good jobs.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands said: “With nearly £40m being donated by bigger businesses to support the growth in talent at SMEs across the region, we’re making big strides to grow youth employment and I would encourage all large employers across the West Midlands to get involved and donate their unspent levy and SMEs to take advantage of it.”
Originally set up in March 2019, The Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund allows some of the UK’s biggest businesses to cover all of the training cost of apprentices for SMEs by donating their unspent levy to the WMCA rather than see it returned to government. In turn, the region ultimately benefits from more job opportunities and a boost in skills and productivity.
The apprenticeship levy is charged by His Majesty’s Revenue and Customers and held centrally by government.
Businesses across the country can apply for funding to pay up to 95 per cent of the costs of training their apprentices. Unspent contributions are ‘sunset’ and retained by government after a two-year period.
Under the WMCA’s deal, regional organisations can transfer their unspent levy to the combined authority’s fund – keeping the money within the region and avoiding the risk of it being sunset.
Businesses wishing to register their interest in the West Midlands Apprentice Levy Fund can sign up here.