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Grace Hughes
Sep 27, 2023

The recent revelation that the Department for Education returned £96 million of apprenticeship funding to the Treasury in the 2022-23 financial year should serve as a wake-up call for businesses across the UK. This significant under spend in apprenticeship budgets underscores the need for employers to take full advantage of their levy funds and invest in apprenticeships to nurture their workforce and drive growth.

Understanding the Under spend

In the context of apprenticeship funding, an under spend occurs when allocated funds are not utilised within the given financial year. In 2022-23, out of the Department for Education's total apprenticeship budget of £2.554 billion, £2.458 billion, or 96%, was spent. While this may sound like a high utilisation rate, it represents a marked increase in underspend compared to the previous year when only £11 million remained unused.

This underspend is partially attributed to the increase in the overall apprenticeship budget. The budget expanded to accommodate the growing number of higher-level apprenticeship starts, which typically come with higher costs. Additionally, the absence of employer cash incentives in 2022-23 may have contributed to this surplus.

The Missed Opportunity

What makes this underspend particularly concerning is that it equates to unutilized resources for skill development and business growth. Apprenticeships offer a unique opportunity for employers to nurture talent, upskill their workforce, and enhance productivity.

Seizing the Opportunity

As the saying goes, "There's no time like the present." Employers should seize the opportunity to make the most of their apprenticeship levy funds. Here's how:

Explore Apprenticeship Options: Research the various apprenticeship programs available and identify how they can benefit your organization. Apprenticeships are not limited to specific industries; they span a wide range of sectors, from IT and engineering to healthcare and business management.

Assess Your Workforce Needs: Identify areas where your organisation could benefit from additional skills and expertise. Are there skills gaps within your team that apprenticeships could fill? Understanding your workforce needs is crucial in tailoring apprenticeship programs to your organization.

Partner with a Training Provider: Collaborate with an accredited apprenticeship training provider, such as Apprentify, that can help you design and implement apprenticeship programs tailored to your business objectives. These providers can assist with everything from recruitment to training and assessment.

Engage with Existing Staff: Consider apprenticeships not just for new hires but also for existing employees looking to upskill or transition into new roles. Apprenticeship programs can be a valuable tool for employee development and retention.

Leverage the Unspent Levy: Don't let your levy pot go to waste. Instead, take advantage of apprenticeships in your workforce today. These programs can help you maximise your levy funds and drive business success.

The under spend in apprenticeship funding is a stark reminder that businesses need to be proactive in utilising their levy resources. Apprenticeships offer a win-win scenario: they empower individuals to acquire valuable skills while providing businesses with a pool of talented, trained professionals.

So, don't let your levy funds gather dust. Invest in apprenticeships, nurture your workforce, and fuel your business growth. With Apprentify by your side, you can navigate the world of apprenticeships and make every pound in your apprenticeship budget count.

Let's work together to ensure that no levy pound goes to waste. Invest in skills, invest in the future, and invest in your business's success with apprenticeships.