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Apprenticeships policy in England

Published Thursday, June 29, 2017

This note provides a summary of current apprenticeships policy and developments in England in 2017.

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Skills and training are devolved policy areas. This Briefing Paper covers apprenticeships in England. Sources of information on apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are included in Section 3, Useful Sources.

What are apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are paid jobs which incorporate on and off the job training. Apprentices have the same rights as other employees and are entitled to be paid at least the apprentice rate of the national minimum wage. A successful apprentice may receive a nationally recognised qualification on the completion of their contract.

There are two different types of apprenticeship schemes, frameworks and standards. Apprenticeship frameworks are being progressively phased out and replaced by the newer apprenticeship standards.

Almost 900,000 funded apprentices participated on an apprenticeship in the 2015 to 2016 academic year, and the Government has set a target of 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020.

Policy Development in 2017

Apprenticeship Levy

On 6 April 2017 the apprenticeship levy came into effect with all UK employers with a pay bill of over £3 million per year paying the levy. The levy is set at 0.5% of the value of the employer’s pay bill, minus an apprenticeship levy allowance of £15,000 per financial year. The levy is paid into an apprenticeship service account, and funds in this account have to be spent on apprenticeship training and assessment.

The Government will apply a 10% top-up to the funds that are paid by an employer for the levy.

Other changes to apprenticeship funding

From May 2017 apprenticeship frameworks and standards will be funded in the same way. Each apprenticeship framework or standard will be associated with a funding band, and the government will only pay a share of the costs below the upper limit of the funding band.

Apprenticeship levy funds will be used to pay for the training and assessment for employers paying the levy (up to the upper limit of the funding band). Employers who do not pay the levy will pay 10% of the cost of training and assessment with the government contributing the remaining 90% (up to the upper limit of the funding band).

Additional payments may be paid to the employer and training provider depending on the characteristics of the apprentice and the type of apprenticeship.

Register of Apprentice Training Providers

From May 2017, employers paying the apprenticeship levy will be able to choose a provider from a new register – the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers. To be eligible to deliver apprenticeship training for apprenticeships, organisations must be listed on the register.

Commons Briefing papers SN03052

Author: Andy Powell

Topics: Employment schemes, Training

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