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Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are key to the successful delivery of The Talent for Care national strategic framework.


An apprenticeship provides on the job training and qualifications and allows the individual the opportunity to gain the experience necessary for their current or proposed role and potential career progression.

They are nationally recognised qualifications and are a combination of learning and developing the competencies required for the role.You can use an apprenticeship to train both new and existing employees of any age and there are three ways in which you can offer apprenticeships in your business:

  1. Existing staff members who are employed within your business and for whom an apprenticeship would provide a comprehensive range of skills and qualifications. 
  2. New staff; where you are recruiting for a role, consider whether the role would be suited to an apprenticeship opportunity. 
  3. New staff; where you are able to offer opportunities for individuals to complete an apprenticeship with your business employed on a fixed-term contract

Apprenticeships offer a range of benefits to your business; they are a proven way to:

  • Develop the skills of local people and involve them in the delivery of local services
  • Fill skill gaps and recruit motivated individuals who are keen to progress within your business
  • Train the current workforce, increasing staff motivation, productivity and retention.

Overall, apprenticeships will support you in delivering a high quality service in a cost effective and efficient way.

In 2015/16 by engaging with our NHS trusts and other health and care providers 1277 apprenticeship starts were achieved across the region which was an impressive increase on the 551 achieved in the previous year.

In March 2016, the excellent efforts of the nation’s apprentices were recognised at the National Apprenticeship Week and KSS local area team recognised the efforts and good work of apprentices and other support staff based with the NHS providers across the region at the Health Education England working across Kent Surrey and Sussex Apprenticeship Awards on 17th March 2016.

The target for 2016/17 is 1369 apprenticeship starts in Kent, Surrey and Sussex region and with a healthy level of activity already reported against the first quarter of the year we expect to support the NHS Trusts to achieve this activity.

Planning is now underway for the 2017 Apprenticeship Awards where we look forward to celebrating this year’s apprenticeship achievements. 

The career progression team recently hosted a webinar to promote the benefits of apprentices to the organisation. You can view the full video here.

For further information please contact Robert Smith who has spent the last 6 years working with NHS trusts and organisations by supporting their delivery of apprenticeships to both their new and existing staff across the bands 1-4 workforce. Rob was originally working across the Wessex region and has been working across the KSS region for the last 2 years. Rob can be contacted on Robert.Smith@nsahealth.org.uk.

Rob has put together a spreadsheet looking at the Bands 1-4 job roles linked to apprenticeship pathways. The aim of the document is to outline as many roles as possible within Bands 1-4 workforce linking them to specific or suitable apprenticeship framework for each role and the progression routes. The spreadsheet also lists the apprenticeship standards as well as the training providers within the Kent, Surrey, and Sussex region. You can download the spreadsheet in the related documents section at the bottom of this page. 

The NAM database has been developed by Health Education England to capture activity and spend on apprenticeships in a meaningful way. As well as providing a national picture, the database will allow a regional and local view on the number of apprenticeships we have and if they have completed their training.

We request that all the NHS trusts and large providers across the Kent, Surrey and Sussex region populate the NAM database with their apprenticeship activity from the 1st April 2016.

For further information and details on how to access the NAM please contact Michele Clark at Michele.Clark@hee.nhs.uk. Michele is the Workforce Development Programme Manager and previously worked as the HR manager for the region. Working with Rob Smith, she monitors apprenticeship activity via the NAM database and is responsible for the quarterly reporting of care certificates completions and commencements, traineeships, pre-employment and work experience programmes, health ambassadors and apprenticeships. Her particular interest is the recruitment of ex forces personnel.

The Apprenticeship Levy

In spring 2017 the way the government funds apprenticeships in England is changing. Some employers will be required to contribute to a new apprenticeship levy, and there will be changes to the funding for apprenticeship training for all employers.

The apprenticeship levy requires all employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill over £3 million each year, to make an investment in apprenticeships. You can benefit from this investment by training apprentices.

For those employers with annual wage bill less than £3 million, information on apprenticeship funding from May 2017 can be found in the related documents section below. The information in the guidance document will also be applicable to most GP practices.

Paying the apprenticeship levy

You will need to pay the apprenticeship levy if you are an employer, in any sector, with a pay bill of more than £3 million each year. For the purposes of the levy, an ‘employer’ is someone who is a secondary contributor, with liability to pay Class 1 secondary National Insurance contributions (NICs) for their employees.

The levy will be charged at a rate of 0.5% of your annual pay bill. You will have a levy allowance of £15,000 per year to offset against the levy you must pay. This means you will only pay the levy if your pay bill exceeds £3 million in a given year.

You will pay the levy to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) through the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) process. Further guidance for trusts and other levy employers can be found in the related documents section below.

Accessing money paid under the apprenticeship levy

Once you have declared the levy to HMRC you will be able to access funding for apprenticeships through a new digital apprenticeship service account.

You will be able to use this to pay for training and assessment for apprentices in England. The service will also help you find training providers to help you develop and deliver your apprenticeship programme.

Creating an account to access your funds

Online tools for employers will be available via the digital apprenticeship service over the next year. You will be able to register to create your account from January 2017 and you’ll be able to familiarise yourself with the service.

When funds will appear in your digital account

The apprenticeship levy will be introduced on 6 April 2017. The first time eligible employers will have to declare their liability to HMRC will be in May 2017 for levy due on their April payroll. Levy-paying employers will be able to see corresponding funds in their digital accounts shortly after their final declaration to HMRC, so after 22 May.

Top-ups to the funds in your digital account

The government will apply a 10% top-up to the funds you have for spending on apprenticeship training in England. The top-up will be applied monthly, at the same time the funds enter your digital account.

That means for every £1 that enters your digital account to spend in England on apprenticeship training, you get £1.10.

Expiry of funds in your digital account

Funds will expire 24 months after they enter your digital account unless you spend them on apprenticeship training. This will also apply to any top-ups in your digital account. For example, funds entering your account in September 2017 will expire in March 2019, unless you have spent them. Money is spent when it leaves your digital account as a payment to a training provider.

The account will work on a first-in, first-out basis, through either payment or expiry. Whenever a payment is taken from your digital account it will automatically use the funds that entered your account first. This will minimise the amount of expired funds.

This will happen automatically. Your digital account will let you know in good time when any funds are due to expire so that you can arrange to spend them if you wish.

Further guidance can be found here.

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