Successful Apprenticeship Levy transfers help support SMEs whilst complimenting the aims of the LLEP area Apprenticeship Strategy.
A car parts manufacturer with sites in Leicestershire and Derbyshire is reaching out to smaller organisations across the Midlands to help them with the cost of apprenticeship training and assessment. Plastic Omnium is a family-led independent group that operates globally and has 137 production plants in 25 countries. In the UK the company mainly produces external car parts for Jaguar Land Rover.
Businesses with a turnover of £3M or more can pass on 25 per cent of the value of their Apprenticeship Levy for use by other organisations, and six SMEs across the Midlands that work in engineering, construction and materials handling are set to benefit from the Levy transfer process.
The business engaged North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) to recruit its own apprentices in engineering, business administration and lean manufacturing. As part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) objectives, Plastic Omnium made the decision to share resources from its Apprenticeship Levy fund to help smaller businesses that may struggle to afford the cost of training for their apprentices.
The LLEP are delighted to see this effective partnership between Plastic Omnium and North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, as a large area employer supporting smaller businesses in this way. It supports the raising of skills levels across the region. It also compliments the aims of the LLEP area Apprenticeship Strategy which has twenty actions one of which is to encourage more large area employers to share ‘unspent’ Apprenticeship Levy with other businesses, and raise awareness of this service to employers who might benefit.
Anna Cyhan, LLEP Skills Officer, said:
“I would encourage Levy paying employers to consider sharing unutilised levy funds to other area employers. The employer can decide to transfer their levy to specific sectors or businesses. They may also choose to fund particular levels of apprenticeships.’’
The Leicester Employment Hub has also had recent success with transferring Apprenticeship Levy from Asda and Leicester City Council to support local smaller companies. Levy-payers might not always be familiar with the process for spending their training budget, and area colleges and training providers can help with the process, or the Leicester Employment Hub can also offer free advice and support.
Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive at NWSLC said:
“We welcome this move by Plastic Omnium to support smaller businesses by sharing their Levy funds. It is imperative that businesses do not lose the opportunity to spend the Levy on training an apprentice or upskilling their existing workforce. The Levy works on the basis of ‘use it or lose it’ and if it is not spent, that money is subsumed into general taxation, meaning that the workforce could miss out on opportunities to improve their careers and UK productivity targets will not be met.’’
Richard Haswell, UK HR Director for Plastic Omnium said:
“Since its introduction, we have used our Apprenticeship Levy funds to train apprentices and upskill team leaders and shift leaders across our business. We are delighted to be able to assist small businesses across the Midlands to build a talented workforce of their own using Apprenticeship Levy funding to help them develop new recruits or upskill existing employees.”