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Home / Blogs / Changes to the apprenticeship levy and new remote EPAs – what you need to know

Changes to the apprenticeship levy and new remote EPAs – what you need to know

Blogs | 13th May 2020

There have been several recent developments when it comes to Apprenticeships, with recent changes to how the Apprenticeship Levy works, and the current global Covid-19 situation affecting the way that EPAs can be delivered. Let us bring you up to date.

Expanded apprenticeship access

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (EFSA) has announced that non-levy payers will now be included in its apprenticeship service after expanding access.

The change of heart comes after The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) revealed that 40% of small and medium businesses (SME’s) who apply for apprenticeship grants are being rejected.

This is due to the fact that they’re not eligible for the government Apprenticeship Levy Scheme as their operations are simply too small.

What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

All employers with a UK pay bill of more than £3 million pay a levy at a rate of 0.5% of that pay bill. Levy payers then use a government electronic account called the ‘apprenticeship service’. This contains their levy funds. The only thing that levy funds can be used for is to pay apprenticeship training providers and apprenticeship assessment organisations in England.

What have the new rules changed?

Previously, employers who had a pay bill which fell short of £3 million wouldn’t be eligible for the apprenticeship scheme.

However, the new rules now enable SMEs who would otherwise have missed out, to have a greater level of ownership, visibility and involvement with apprenticeships, funding and access to a wider range of high-quality training providers.

How Covid-19 has changed EPAs

With the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, those working within logistics companies are crucial to keeping the country running, including apprentices. Some of these apprentices may be due to undergo the End Point Assessments (EPAs) they have worked hard towards, but with social distancing and travel restrictions in place, as well as pressure on many supply chains, many of these vital assessments have been put on hold.

To help ensure that as many EPAs can continue as planned, RTITB (which is a registered End Point Assessment Organisation) has recently gained approval from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE) to deliver fully remote EPAs for the Express Delivery Operative standard.

The remote End Point Assessment can take place either in the workplace or training centre as normal, with apprentices able to complete a knowledge test online.

The Role Simulation will be conducted by a suitably qualified and experienced staff member from the apprentice’s employer or training provider. They will use RTITB’s assessment tools in collaboration with an RTITB assessor, who will carry out the Professional Discussion using either Skype, Zoom or an alternative suitable technology.

Approval for remote EPAs with RTITB for the Supply Chain Warehouse Operative (ST0259) Level 2 and Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) Driver C+E (ST0257) Level 2 apprenticeship standards are still pending.

How to get the most out of the Apprenticeship Levy

Although our sector is working through some unprecedented circumstance, apprenticeships still play an important part, especially when it comes to ensuring the skills are there to keep the country running. If you are keen to get up and running so that you can benefit from the Apprenticeship Levy, there is no need to delay. Just follow these five simple steps.

1. Find an apprenticeship standard that fits the needs (and required skills) of your business

2. Locate a provider from the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers which can deliver your chosen training. Your allowance only covers training from registered providers – contact us if you need help to find one.

3. Choose an End Point Assessment Organisation, such as our independent RTITB EPA Service, which is eligible via the Register of Apprentice Assessment Organisations (RAAO)

4. Advertise your apprenticeship vacancies to attract new recruits or select your existing staff members for the development opportunity. Apprenticeships are great for all ages! Read more on how to retain valuable, skilled staff for the future through an apprenticeship here.

5. Enrol and get your apprentice candidates’ training underway!

Let us help you

If you’re an employer looking for help finding the right apprenticeship training provider or need support in conducting your EPAs, we can help. Likewise, if you’re a training provider with apprenticeship contracts, contact us now to discuss our EPA service.

Get in touch with our End Point Assessment Manager Andy Blatch on +44(0)1952 520200 or email epa@rtitb.com to speak about which apprenticeship standard is the best fit with the duties of your driving or warehouse team.