Published: 09:55, 06 April 2017 |
Updated: 10:57, 06 April 2017
Companies with a paybill of more than £3 million will begin paying a tax to fund apprenticeships from today.
The apprenticeship levy is designed to encourage more firms to explore the possibility of hiring an apprentice.
Businesses affected will have to pay a 0.5% tax on their wage bill but can claim the money back if it is used to train present staff or new people starting apprenticeships.
“What is good about it is it encourages business to engage with apprenticeships,” said Tracy Searle, head of business development at East Kent College
“Many large businesses we have spoken to didn’t realise they could use the money to upskill their existing members of staff. They thought they had to take on new members.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to offer a new qualification to a member of staff. When 0.5% of the paybill is taken they can draw down the money.”
The government hopes the levy will help it meet its target of getting three million people to start apprenticeships by the end of this parliament.
“Many large businesses we have spoken to didn’t realise they could use the money to upskill their existing members of staff..." - Tracy Searle, East Kent College
The levy will only apply to an estimated 1.3% of employers, with the majority of companies set to receive grants and subsidies towards the cost of their training.
There is also a £1,000 incentive for employers that recruit 16-18 year olds.
Chris Homewood, employability development officer at Kent County Council, said: “The apprenticeship reform presents a great opportunity for many businesses.
“It’s an opportunity to develop your workforce to meet the needs of your business, and to develop skills training and staff development to suit.”
Catherine Daw, partner and head of employment at Maidstone law firm Brachers, said the levy will work for businesses if they plan ahead.
She said: “For businesses managing their people and talent strategies, it is always essential to plan for what’s coming.
“Whether it is taking advantage of the new apprenticeship scheme, developing an effective wellbeing strategy that will help promote a better workforce or taking account of key trends and upcoming changes, you need plan ahead.
“Getting the right advice can help you identify what you need to do and when, and ensure that you put effective measures in place.”
However, the levy has not been welcomed from all areas and has been described as a "blunt instrument".
Medway Council, which has 46 apprentices, will have to pay the tax.
Council leader Alan Jarrett said: “I don’t see how it would help the situation. The initial reaction was it is just another tax and we will have to see what we can get back from it.”
From academic achievements to engineering accolades and new facilities, Kent College offers students an outstanding school life.
Enter this month’s competition and you could win a luxurious return crossing!Sponsored editorial
There's no uniform or bells and students and staff are on first name terms. School life at Rochester Independent College is unique.
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
Your No1 guide to getting married in Kent. From dresses to discos and venues to veils, we've got everything you could possibly need for your big day
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating!
PLUS, register for free!.
Read our pick of the best holiday destinations. Whether its a weekend break, or something a little bit longer, we have reviewed a wide range of holidays.