On 11 February 2021 the Co-op announced plans to create a levy share opportunity to support apprenticeships for individuals from under-represented groups. The Co-op is working with other employers to bring together funding to support thousands of apprenticeships, with the fund paying for the training and assessment of apprentices
The Co-op has a specific ambition that by 2023 the ‘opportunity gap’ in apprenticeships for individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds will be closed, but the portal is also intended to address underrepresentation in other areas.
Levy Transfer: Background
All levy payers pay 0.5% of their payroll costs as a tax into their levy every year on a monthly basis to use to spend on their own apprenticeship training costs. Any unused levy expires after 24 months and is returned to HMRC. This amounted to £330m in 2019/20.
To avoid the expiry of some of the funds, since April 2019, levy-paying employers have been able to transfer a maximum amount of 25% of their annual funds. Transferred funds can be used to pay for the training and assessment costs of the apprenticeships agreed with the receiving employer.
With this facility in mind, the Co-op has identified a way to collaborate with like-minded partners to pledge unspent levy funds and share them in a targeted way to support the provision of apprenticeships for under-represented groups, removing some of the administrative burden for employers.
How will it work?
The Co-op has created an online matching service where donating employers will pledge what they are able from their levy account that would otherwise expire creating a combined pledge fund.
The Co-op is working with The Growth Company Who provide and administer the platform that allows employers seeking Apprenticeship funding to post their request and the projected cost. The Growth Company will then seek to link those employers to those that are wishing to donate levy funds. They will support them to set up a levy account if one is not in place and link the donating employer to the receiver so that payment schedules can run automatically. This is a simple process that will require little input from either employer.
How will this help my organisation to donate Levy?
Co-op Levy Share will allow large employers to utilise their levy to support smaller businesses, whether that be developing your supply chain, forming strategic partnerships or demonstrating corporate social responsibility. Large employers will have exposure to numerous opportunities that they wouldn't have known existed without the site
How will Co-op Levy Share help me if I am looking for a transfer?
By connecting with levy paying organisations you could benefit from fully funded apprenticeship training without needing to pay co investment costs (funding criteria apply). You will be able to showcase your opportunity to a large national audience, in a straight forward simple way by registering on this site and the creating your opportunity.
It is anticipated that the first transfers of funds under this new scheme will happen from April 2021.