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It can’t have escaped your notice that the new Apprenticeship Levy has arrived. Introduced on April 6, 2017, the Apprenticeship Levy requires employers with a pay bill over £3 million per year to pay into an apprenticeship funding pot. Once they have chosen their candidates and selected the apprenticeship training from the Government’s Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP), they will pay for the training from this pot. The Government will top up funds by 10%, so for every £1 that enters an employer’s Levy account, the employer will have £1.10 to spend on apprenticeship training.  A word of warning though – at the end of the two year cycle, any money left in the pot will go to the Government – in effect a tax payment.  A classic case of ‘use it or lose it’!

Smaller operators not subject to the Apprenticeship Levy will still be affected by the new co-investment plan with the Government’s RoATP register in place.  Smaller employers must contribute at least 10 per cent of the apprenticeship cost, while the government will pay up to 90 per cent (up to a maximum of £24,300).

That’s it in a nutshell and I spent much of March talking to media, industry professionals, training providers and operators to help them make sense of these reforms.  Obviously it’s early days, but overall, I think the spotlight on apprenticeships, the encouragement of operators large and small to run apprenticeships and the Government’s Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers giving clear access to vetted and approved providers is a step forwards for our industry.  Here’s why. Firstly, training people over a prolonged period of time with hands-on practical experience will answer those critics who say some training is done too quickly and superficially.  Secondly, it positions the fitness industry as offering a true vocation and robust career choices. Thirdly, it will encourage more young people into our industry and keep the workforce fresh, energetic and vibrant.

At Active IQ we have been ahead of the curve as much as possible, staying alert to changes and talking to decision makers including the Skills Funding Agency and CIMSPA and advising operators both large and small, training providers and individuals.  We have just heard we have been accepted on to the new Register of Apprentice Assessment Organisations and approved to act as an End Point Assessment organisation for training providers and employers delivering the new apprenticeship standards in Customer Service and Team Leading.  We are delighted to have our work and stance in the industry recognised and look forward to supporting the industry as it gets to grips with the new Apprenticeship Levy.