The UK Chancellor, George Osborne, used the autumn budget last week to announce the details of the Apprenticeship Levy, which is set to help generate a £3 billion training fund to drive much-needed skills development across all sectors – including Health and Social Care.
The levy, which is due to come into effect in April 2017, will be 0.5% of an employer’s wage bill, and will be paid by organisations with annual wage bills in excess of £3 million. Every employer will receive a £15,000 allowance to offset against the levy and spend on apprenticeship training.
In the UK, almost 4 million people, a third of whom are employed by smaller organisations, work in the health and social care sector. For those smaller organisations, which will not have to contribute to the apprentice levy but will still have access to funding, the new dictate represents a training budget boost.
Jill Whittaker, Managing Director of Connect2Care, the leading apprenticeship supplier for the Health and Social Care Industry, commented:
“The care sector is facing a skills gap, as our aging population creates a whole raft of new positions within the industry. New jobs are predicted to reach as much as 1.7 million by 2020.
“The levy couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for the sector, which is crying out for skilled workers. It will support the entire sector to develop and grow, and ensure that all care operators – private and public – are able to provide a high standard of training to staff.
“It is key that care sector managers make the most of the new levy , by taking advantage of the funding available to boost skills, which will ultimately support businesses’ bottom line without compromising on quality of care.”
In addition, as part of the new system, the Government will be expanding tuition fee loans to 19 to 23 year olds at levels 3 and 4, and 19+ year olds at levels 5 and 6 (degree level) to provide a clearer path for learners to attain technical, specialist and management skills where an apprenticeship may not be suitable, helping the care sector in particular meet this growing area of need.
The Government has issued a full response with details on the Apprenticeship Levy. For information go to https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/479648/apprenticeship_levy_response_25112015.pdf