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Apprentices are a method of training individuals, usually within a skilled profession, whilst they undertake work at the same time. Although they are often perceived as a way into employment for younger people, apprentices are open to all who are aged over 16.

The government is encouraging organisations to use apprentices as a method of creating a skilled workforce, with a governmental target of 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020.

In England, funding of apprenticeships has been amended in recent years, with the apprenticeship levy introduced for large employers and co-investment introduced for smaller employers.

The Institute for Apprenticeship was launched in 2017 as a non-department public body who aim to create and develop quality apprenticeships.

Budget 2018 announces changes to apprenticeships

Chancellor Philip Hammond has used the 2018 Budget to announce incoming changes to apprenticeships which will enable organisations to make better use of these to train workers. These changes include:

  • organisations who pay the apprenticeship levy will be able to transfer up to 25 per cent of their levy funds to organisations within their supply chain
  • organisations who don’t pay the levy and pay part of the costs of apprenticeships, known as co-investment, will have their contribution reduced from 10 per cent to 5 per cent; with the government paying the remaining 95 per cent of costs
  • £5 million will be allocated to the Institute for Apprenticeships and National Apprenticeship Service in 2019-20 to ensure all new apprentices are starting on employer-designed apprenticeship standards from September 2020.

These changes are expected to take effect from April 2019. More information on paying the levy, and co-investment funding, can be found in our in-depth section.