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Why should large employers gift their apprenticeship levy?

On the left is a profile image of Julie Harris. On the right are the Total People and Premier Foods logos.
Employers Case Studies

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2024, we are looking at the value of levy gifting and the difference it can make to all parties involved.

Levy paying employers can ‘gift’ or transfer up to 25 per cent of their apprenticeship levy to fund new apprenticeships in other organisations.

By gifting surplus levy, large employers can sponsor an apprenticeship in a sector or industry area that aligns to their corporate social responsibility agenda, while at the same time supporting employment and skills development in SMEs who benefit from fully funded apprenticeship training. 

Premier Foods, one of the UK’s largest food producers, are one such company, having gifted some of their surplus levy funds on three occasions since 2020. This has supported 40 apprenticeships across 32 organisations, with 14 of those learners having completed their qualifications.

We spoke to Julie Harris, Learning & Development Business Partner at Premier Foods, about why the company wanted to gift the funds and how they have found the process.

Tell us a little bit your role.

In my role as Learning & Development Business Partner, I oversee development programmes for our Operational Teams including apprenticeships. I also manage our Early Talent pipeline.

Can you tell us why you originally decided to gift your levy funds? 

We decided to gift some of our unspent levy funds to support apprentices in small businesses local to our Premier Business Services’ offices in Manchester focusing on the Accounting, Project Management and Business Services’ sector. 

We chose this sector to support the talent pipeline in this field and to give opportunities to those who might not otherwise have had the chance to undertake an apprenticeship.

Levy gifting fits with our strategic goals of supporting our local communities and providing development opportunities to people of all backgrounds.

Why have you decided to work with Total People?

We wanted to gift our unspent levy but it was difficult to find matches and still have an element of control in transferring our funds to businesses and their apprentices. Working with Total People has taken the heavy lifting out of the process. They act as the go-between to match our funds with small businesses who need it and advise them how to access the funds in their digital account.

Can you explain a bit about the process of transferring levy funds?

It’s easy.  We pledge a certain amount of levy – though there is no hard and fast commitment to stick to – and then Total People find the matches. A list is sent of the potential businesses and the amount they are seeking with basic background details of their company like a website address. We then choose whether to support that request. If we go ahead, we send a connection request to the receiving business via the digital account.

Do you have any advice for other organisations looking to transfer their unspent levy funds?

I’d say go for it! Total People make the process easy and it is great to feel that we have supported so many people with their apprenticeships alongside our own company scheme.  It’s a win-win for everybody.

Find out more about how to gift your apprenticeship levy and make a difference in your sector.

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