In light of the Apprenticeship Levy that was recently introduced, many employers are now thinking about, or actively, changing their graduate schemes to apprenticeship schemes so they are able reclaim the payroll tax that funds the levy.

BPP Professional Education ran a poll of organisations which included engineers, financial services, law and accountancy employers. Fifty-three percent of those who took part stated they were in the process of the change and looked to benefit from the payroll tax refunds and government financial support.

“We’re very concerned about the rebranding approach that these employers are wanting to adopt. Graduate recruitment schemes form a very particular function in the labour market in terms of giving young people access to professional-level jobs. The schemes are not in our view, something that should be converted to apprenticeship schemes unless they were changed considerably”

Elizabeth Crowley, Skills Advisor, CIPD.

The afore mentioned survey showed that thirty percent of employers, if given the option, would switch their current management training programme into degree-level apprenticeship schemes. In contrast seventy-eight percent said they would consider apprentices of any age.

Apprenticeships are a way for individuals to gain technical skills of a high level. Individuals who have been trained to degree level have already invested considerably in their education who then partake in an apprenticeship, at a lower level of education, is not how apprenticeships were conceived to be used.

From April 2007, the apprenticeship levy will come into force for employers in the public and private sectors with a payroll of more than £3m. These employers will need to pay a levy to HMRC at 0.5 percent of the payroll bill (less an allowance of £15,000). Every £1 paid by the business, the government will add an additional 10p.

If your business has a payroll less than £3m, the government will contribute towards apprenticeships using a co-investment system.

Do you understand where your business stands with the apprenticeship levy?

Would you like some more information on how apprenticeships work?

Have you recently employed an Apprentice?

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