The Apprenticeship Levy and NHS Trusts

In his Summer Budget of 2015, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the introduction of an Apprenticeship Levy on UK employers. The Levy is designed to support the Government’s commitment to improving productivity by increasing the quantity and quality of apprenticeships.

How the Levy works, and what it aims to achieve…

The Levy, which will come into force on 6th April 2017, applies to employers across all sectors with a paybill over £3million a year, and will be charged at a rate of 0.5% of the paybill. It is designed to be administratively simple, with payments made on a monthly basis through the employers’ usual payroll processes, using PAYE real time information.

Each employer will receive an annual allowance of £15,000 to offset against the Levy, and the policy objectives state that it will ‘…deliver new apprenticeships and support quality training by putting employers at the centre of the system.’ ‘Employers who are committed to training will be able to get back more than they put in by training sufficient numbers of apprentices’. The policy document goes on to say that ‘It is expected that the levy will support productivity growth through the increase in training.’*

Given that the Levy will apply to NHS Trusts, and seeks to address training issues which are very pertinent to NHS staffing, NHS Professionals recently surveyed client Trusts to see how they expect the Levy to impact them and their planning. Here are some of our findings**

*GOV.UK Apprenticeship Levy Policy Paper, February 2016

**Based on a response rate of 30% from our clients

What did our Trusts say….

Awareness and concerns

  • Well over three quarters of those questioned are aware of the Levy, have started to review their existing training provision and identify opportunities for Levy credit investment
  • Main concerns are programme resourcing, funding and the immediacy of the April 2017 commencement date.

Benefits of apprenticeship investment

  • The majority of respondents felt the main benefits were improved recruitment, staff retention and workforce development
  • With an average of 41 apprentices each, three quarters of their supported apprenticeship schemes are either for Healthcare Support Workers or Healthcare Assistant Practitioners

Level of commitment

  • Just over three quarters of respondents confirmed they are either:

o   very likely or extremely likely to invest more into apprentices in the future

o   willing to pay above the national minimum wage for apprentices to attract the best candidates

  • Just under three quarters would be interested in working with NHS Professionals in some capacity to support an apprenticeship programme

If you’d like to discuss the Apprenticeship Levy, its benefits for NHS Trusts and/or our findings in any more detail, please contact


Keith Nash, HR Director, NHS Professionals

About the author

NHS Professionals administrator

NHS Professionals manages the temporary staffing needs of around 66 NHS Trusts across England. An integral part of the NHS, it aims to reduce Trusts’ spending on flexible workers without compromising quality, by providing greater transparency of demand and supplying bank staff at the best possible rate. Its bank of more than 40,000 flexible workers comprises general and specialist nurses, doctors, midwives, admin/clerical , allied health professionals, healthcare scientists, support services among other healthcare professionals.

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