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Unspent Apprenticeship Levy? Why Not #ShareToSupport!

In April 2017 the government launched the apprenticeship levy as a way to create long term sustainable funding for apprenticeships and give employers more oversight to provide staff with a range of training and upskilling opportunities. However, since then over £2 billion of this apprenticeship funding has been returned unspent to the Treasury.

This figure, released by the DfE this month after a call from apprenticeship experts to be more transparent, shows the scale of the underspend. Employers have 24 months to use their funds on apprenticeship training and after this any remaining unspent levy funds will be transferred back to the Treasury. However, there is another option…

Levy paying employers have the opportunity to make further use of the levy by gifting any surplus funds to small businesses, allowing them access to free training in order to upskill existing staff or even recruit an apprentice and grow their business.

Here in the West of England, the Western Training Provider Network and West of England Combined Authority launched the Share to Support scheme in 2021 to support employers sharing levy and help smaller businesses receive these funds. Several large employers have already pledged to the Share to Support scheme, including GKN Aerospace, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Bristol City Council, Southern Co-op, University of Bristol, South Gloucestershire Council and Ashton Gate, with £1,000,000 of apprenticeship levy already shared to SMEs in the region. We’re now calling on other large employers in the West of England to join this list of businesses by pledging their unspent levy.

Employers can pledge to share up to 25% of their total levy and with apprenticeship training costs starting at £3,000, any amount pledged can make a huge difference to an SME wanting to access training. Your business can support the creation of jobs and progression/upskilling opportunities in the local community, including those in your sector and supply chain whilst also furthering your corporate social responsibilities. By gifting unspent funds, you could be helping a local nursery recruit an early years practitioner, a community centre upskill their management team or support an engineering firm expand their workforce with an apprentice engineering technician.

The Share to Support scheme allows for a straightforward process for employers pledging funds as we become the interface between gifting employers and SMEs. We know how busy you are so once you have made a pledge, our team will help your company by finding and matching you with SMEs, guiding you through the process of transferring your levy, liaising with the SME, confirming the apprentice start and keeping in touch with any updates.

If your company pays into the apprenticeship levy, you may have remaining funds left even after creating apprenticeship starts in your own business. To save these funds from being transferred back to Treasury, why not pledge to the Share to Support scheme and make a real difference to SMEs in your region.

To find out more please contact Leon on


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