The Apprenticeship Levy for non-paying employers

Launched in April 2017, the Apprenticeship Levy see employers with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million contribute 0.5% of their payroll to a fund that’ll be used to generate three million apprenticeship starts by 2020.

However, even if your organisation won’t need to pay towards the Levy, you’ll still be able to take advantage of the funding pot to meet your workforce development needs.

To find out more, or get bespoke advice on how the Levy will affect you - book an obligation-free chat with our expert team of consultants today:

Talk to our levy team

How the Apprenticeship Levy will work for small employers

Unlike Levy-payers, organisations who don’t meet the threshold won’t need to register for an Apprenticeship Service Account to pay for their training. However, post-2018, plans are in place for the government to roll out the Apprenticeship Account Service to smaller companies, but they have promised there’ll be ample time and preparation to support this.

Employers that aren’t paying into the Levy (as well as Levy-paying employers that have used up all their funds) will still be able to procure training under a co-investment scheme. This means your organisation will have to pay 10% towards the cost of training, with the government taking on the other 90%.

However, if you’re taking on 16 to 18-year-olds, or 19 to 24-year olds that have a local authority education and health care plan, the government will contribute 100% of the costs associated with your apprenticeships, as well as an additional £1,000 contribution (made at three and 12 month milestones). Training providers will also receive a one-off £1,000 payment to support apprentices who meet the above criteria.


Unlike the current system, under the Apprenticeship Levy, there are no barriers to eligibility based on the qualifications of a potential candidate. This means employers can utilise apprenticeship training, whether they’re taking on new entry-level staff, or seeking to upskill their existing staff.

How SMEs can engage with the Apprenticeship Levy

Smaller employers will still need to register with the Apprenticeship Account Service to procure their training (when it becomes available) and use the system to select an appropriate apprenticeship from either existing SASE (Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England) frameworks or the new Trailblazer standards, which are being rolled out to replace them.

The Apprenticeship Account Service will also contain a register of approved training providers, which are the only organisations that can be used to procure Levy-funded training.

All of the new Trailblazer standards will require an end-point assessment organisation to be appointed, which is procured via a register, similar to that of training providers.

Once these steps are complete, you’ll be able to post apprenticeship vacancies online (if required) or undertaking training for existing staff.

Gifting Levy funds

Levy payers can share their funds with other organisations, meaning non-paying employers can benefit from the Apprenticeship Levy. To find out more, read our handy guide here.  

Advice and support

If you’re a non-paying employer looking to appoint an approved training organisation, or are looking for tailored advice on making the Levy work for you - fill out the form below to book an obligation-free chat with our Levy team today: