In short, what is the Apprenticeship Levy? describe it simply, the Apprenticeship Levy is a levy on UK employers to fund new apprenticeships.

Who does it apply to?

It will be applied to businesses with annual pay bills in excess of £3 million, and the levy will be applied across all sectors.

How much is the levy likely to be?

The levy will be charged at a rate of 0.5% of an employer’s payroll. Each employer will receive an allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy payment.

How is the levy collected?

It will be collected by the HMRC monthly via Pay As You Earn (PAYE).

Where is this allowance paid into?

After the levy is collected via PAYE, it then becomes accessible by the employer via a digital account service. The employer can then use the account to pay for apprenticeship training.

I am a levy paying employer, how do I access the digital account service?

You can sign-up and access your Apprenticeship Levy Service here.

What can we use the digital account service for?

The digital account allows you to:

  • receive levy funds for you to spend on apprenticeships
  • manage your apprentices
  • pay your training provider
  • stop or pause payments to your training provider

What can we use the allowance for?

You can use funds in your digital account to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment for apprentices that work at least 50% of the time in England.

How do we spend our allowance?

Once logged into your digital account you can select the ‘Find apprenticeship training’ to find approved apprenticeship training providers. You will then liaise with your chosen training provider to determine a prices and payment schedules.

Once you agree and the training has started, monthly payments will be taken from your digital account and sent to the training provider.

What if there is not enough money to pay for training one month?

If you don’t have enough funds in your digital account to pay for training in a particular month, you will be asked to share the remaining cost of training and assessing your apprentices for that month with the government. This is called co-investment.

This co-investment means that you will pay 10% of the outstanding balance for that month, and the government will pay the remaining 90% up to the funding band maximum. If your costs go over the maximum, then you must pay the difference out of your own budget.

What are the funding bands?

You can find full details of the funding bands and their maximums here.

One universal issue every business faces, regardless of the industry is, should you hire ready-made talent or should you work to develop your own talent?

Of course, you may need to hire a specialist with skills and qualifications that you don’t have inhouse but very often our own staff have skills and expertise that is overlooked or, more importantly they have the potential to develop if given the appropriate training and development.

Those employees that you can identify as “trainable talent” often possess three key qualities that is worth investing in:

  • Experience
  • Work Ethic
  • Cultural Fit

The advantages of developing your talent pool can help both the business and the individual. For example, the business can benefit from:

  • you choosing what new skills your workforce gains, targeting skills to meet the needs of your operation for now and in the future.
  • better customer service, better work safety practices and productivity improvements.
  • your demonstration to your workforce that you value them enough to invest in them, improving loyalty and staff retention. In turn, retention is a saving to you.

For the workforce there are myriad benefits including:-

  • they acquire new skills, increasing their contribution to the business and building their self-esteem
  • the training they do can take them into other positions within the organisation – positions with better prospects and/or better pay
  • they’re upskilled to do new and different tasks, which keeps them motivated and fresh
  • because they’re being trained on your time, they see that you value them enough to invest in them. A good company is seen as one that retrains rather than churns.

And the real bonus to your business? The Apprenticeship Levy can help you.

See FE News – Our Managing Director David Kitchen provides an insight on the current M&A activity within FE:




Training Businesses for Sale

March 2018


NORTH WEST                                                                                                                            REF: ALL/7/2018


ESFA Direct contract holder – Advanced Learning Loans -Contract Value £750,000

Plus Non Levy Contract £300k awarded from January 2018.


Sub-Contractor (ESF) – Contract Value c£500,000 to July 2018

Specialism – Construction


2017 Turnover £1.3m, Net Profit c £465,000

Projected for 2018: Turnover £1.8m Net Profit £800k (including ESF)





NORTH WEST                                                                                                                     REF: COMM/17/2017


Commercial Training Business – works with large construction employers £100,000 pm revenue


Sub-Contractor – ESF – Contract value to July 2018 c £500,000

Specialism – Construction/Plant


Projection: Business Turnover 2017/18 £1.5m, Net Profit £200,000




MIDLANDS                                                                                                                                REF: APP/33/2017


Prime Provider – £500k Non Levy Apprenticeship contract plus £200k Advanced Learner Loan contract (unused) with potential for increase this year.

Specialism H&SC L4 and L5


Business Turnover £1m, Net Profit £235,000







SOUTH EAST                                                                                                                               REF: ALL/37/2017


Construction provider with signed large levy client signed on an exclusive deal for 2018/19.


Healthy Levy pipeline.

No Direct Contracts

Business Turnover £1,500,000 Net Profit £225,000






NORTH WEST                                                                                                                      REF: ALL/39/2017


Beauty Academy with two high quality salons. On RoATP and experience of handling Advanced Learner Loans. Stable staffing.


Business Turnover £250,000 Net Profit £60,000






MIDLANDS                                                                                                                                 REF: APP/43/2017


ROTO and ROATP Company that owner no longer requires. No debt or future liabilities.










NORTH WEST                                                                                                                          REF: ESFA/49/2018


Management, H&SC and Child Care Provider.


Direct AEB, ALL and Non Levy contracts with ESFA.

Grade 2 Provider.


Great opportunity with Unutilised ALL contract.


Business Turnover £600,000 Net Profit £60,000


ASKING PRICE £240,000 – Owner looking for immediate retirement. UNDER OFFER




SOUTH EAST                                                                                                         REF: ALL/52/2017


Hair and Beauty Salon on ROTO and ROATP Main Provider.

No debts, staff or ongoing commitments.


Sale of Company with trading history.






NORTH WEST                                                                                                                           REF: SUB/54/2017


H&SC and Child Care provider.


On RoATP, Has Non Levy contract and good employer base.


Business Turnover £600,000 Net Profit £240,000







NORTH/MIDLANDS                                                                                                               REF: APP/07/2018


Prime Provider – £285k Non Levy Apprenticeship contract plus £165k AEB (both unused) with potential for increase this year.


Company established several years but have been fairly dormant over past 12 months. On ROTO and RoATP, Positive balance sheet


Business Turnover £80k Net Profit £12k








NORTH WEST                                                                                                                           REF: APP/12/2018


ROTO and RoATP Provider with Non Levy contract of £251k.


No delivery done yet.


Sale due to owner’s health


Turnover £335k

Net Profit £50k






SOUTH EAST                                                                                                                        REF: APP/15/2018


ROTO and RoATP provider with a current £600k Non-Levy sub contract to a college.







MIDLANDS                                                                                                                                 REF: APP/18/2018


Direct Contract holder – distressed sale


Non-Levy £700k (plus several sub contracts to the value of £800k)

Advanced Learner Loans £500k

Active Levy payers on board



Turnover £2m, recent losses has produced negative balance sheet of £200k


The company has debts of c £500k and is operating at below Grade 2 standard although no Ofsted visit has been made.


Needs turnaround of Operational delivery


ASKING PRICE £250k outright sale plus needs potential investment of £200k to pass upcoming RoATP refresh








NORTH WEST                                                                                                                              REF: LL/14/2017


* ESFA Direct contract holder – Advanced Learning Loans -Contract Value £750,000

Sub-Contractor – ESF – Contract Value c£500,000 to July 2018

Specialism – Construction


Business Turnover £1.2m, Net Profit c £450,000






NORTH WEST                                                                                                                     REF: COMM/17/2017


Commercial Training Business – works with large construction employers £100,000 pm revenue

*Sub-Contractor – ESF – Contract value to July 2018 c £500,000

Specialism – Construction/Plant


Projection: Business Turnover 2017/18 £1.5m, Net Profit £200,000




Read more

After the events of the last 6 months, where does it leave you and your training business, and what are your options?

You may have seen our recent piece in FE News –

The shambles of the last 6 months RoATP/ITT Tenders/Funding Allocations have left many providers in a precarious position.

It is a very worrying time for many Directors and Owners of training businesses. We know how painful this is and we are ready to help – we have vast experience in business management and turnarounds and believe that if you act quickly you can re-invent and REVIVE your business. We do have Chartered Accountancy capability within our team but this is so much more than Accountancy advice.

Project Revive from the Leadership Team will help you:

  • Explore your viability and future options as a business
  • Assess your capability and capacity to survive
  • Take a reality check on your financial position
  • Help with downsizing if necessary
  • Help you acquire, merge or partner with other companies if practical
  • Help you transform from being a Funding business into a Commercial Business, not reliant on future funding

If we do not think your company is viable or can survive we will advise you of the best way to close the business in an orderly fashion in your own time and with you in the driving seat.

There is no time to waste. Please call your Leadership Team contact or email for DAY 1 – The Diagnosis.

There is a lot of interest in buying and selling private training providers at this moment in time. Here are some of the providers we are working with that would consider a sale.

9/2017 – Apprenticeship Provider Midlands

Sub Contractor, £250k turnover

Wants to become part of a larger organisation


11/2017 – Prime Provider Midlands

Turnover £4m, Apprenticeships and Learner Loans


12/2017 – Advanced Learner Loan Provider – North

Turnover £600k

Also has Apprenticeship sub contracts

Opportunity for growth case on ALL contract


13/2017 Sub Contractor – North

£4.5m turnover – all sub contracts

Good mix of ESF, ALL, AEB and Apprenticeships


There are also 2 ROTO approved and 3 RoATP approved companies where little or no trading has taken place where the owners will consider a sale.


If you would like to express your interest in purchasing any of these businesses or would like us to list your business for sale please email our Managing Director David Kitchen

at and this will be treated in the strictest confidence.

The impact of the (unnecessary) RoATP process and the resultant pausing of the ITT tender raised a “common sense prevails” cheer from the ‘establishment’ of colleges and large contract holders. A ‘get out of jail free’ for many organisations who had not recognised the extent of the impending changes or adapted their business models to suit.

However, the contract extensions given for 2017 are less than expected and will still have a negative impact on those expecting apprenticeship growth.

Especially hard hit is a whole group of “sub-contractors” – ones that have built good businesses, ready for change, with excellent employer relationships and good data/quality systems that they have invested in ready to become ‘primes’ in their own right. Deferment of this contract is a real blow to this group of providers and could leave their businesses exposed to a considerable risk – quite possibly many of these good companies may go to the wall as a result.

Read more

As the Apprenticeship Levy is introduced it is clear that many of the 20,000 levy paying employers are not ready for this change. Only around 1% of these employers have registered for the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP) which enables them to build their own in house academy utilising their Levy ‘pot’.

We are working with and helping many employers review their Training and Development Strategy and as a result mapping across the development to the relevant qualifications and standards.

We can then either help in the setting up of the in-house training and/or introduce quality training providers from our GOLD network.

We can also provide support for employers in managing their SFA requirements (data, audit, compliance) and OFSTED requirements through our experienced team of professionals.

One of the biggest events in the FE world is the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, which is being introduced in April 2017. All employers with a payroll in excess of £3m will have to make a contribution of 0.5% of payroll to pay for apprenticeship training.

Many employers are not yet ready for this and are ill prepared to take advantage of the opportunity it presents.

Surprisingly, the vast majority of training providers are also not ready to present an offer to those employers. There is a huge shift required from the past – spending a funding contract – to marketing, preparing the right offer, pricing, contract negotiations and delivery of bespoke employer requirements which is what will be required. This fundamental shift is not and has not been addressed by training providers and many lack the commercial experience to make this shift.

There is a massive amount of work to be done in a short amount of time. Whether you are an employer – levy payer or not – or a training provider, the Leadership Team can help you prepare for the Levy and ensure that you get it right.

CONTACT NOW on 0845 303 9517 or