We have previously blogged on whether the levy, now having been in force for a year, has worked. Our view is that it has not been as successful as it could have been – to read more, please click here.

Part of why the levy may not have been as successful as it could have been is due to the apprenticeship label. Typically apprenticeships are seen as an alternative to further or higher education for school leavers and therefore as a way to upskill people at their entry point into the workplace. Apprenticeships are also seen as restricted to manual trades. However, the levy was not intended to be limited in this way and perhaps its labelling has caused misunderstandings. It can be used for training and upskilling the workforce at any level and in any trade providing its conditions are met.

Leadership and management skills are strongly linked to productivity. The Office for National Statistics concluded that a 0.1 per cent rise in management effectiveness leads to a 9.6 per cent rise in productivity. Training in leadership and management skills should therefore be encouraged to deal with the UK’s low productivity and using the levy seems to be a smart way to do this. To meet this demand, and utilise the new levy, Aston University has recently welcomed its first executive apprentice Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree students. Aston is one of the first universities to run with this in the UK, with other universities currently in the process of setting up similar degrees.

The government has capped the levy amount that can be spent on MBAs to £18,000, which is significantly less than the typical course fee of £24,000. Despite this, however, Aston and many other business schools have embraced the new levy and are finding innovative ways to utilise it. According to a recent survey, 40 out of 113 universities have or are in the process of creating specific MBA courses to make full use of the levy.

It is therefore worth considering innovative ways for your business to utilise the levy if you pay it. If you would like support and guidance on how to manage the new levy, please contact a member of the team.