WMCA’s Apprenticeship Levy Scheme hits nearly £48m, supporting over 4000 apprentices into training
9th January 2024
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Originally set up in March 2019, the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund allows some of the UK's biggest businesses to cover 100% of the training cost of apprentices for SMEs by donating their unspent apprenticeship levy, which is charged annually by Government, to the WMCA rather than having to give it back to HM Revenue and Customs.

The WMCA is now encouraging even more SME employers to recruit apprentices so that they can benefit from the scheme.


Apprenticeships provide a great way for SMEs to attract future talent as well as upskilling and reskilling their existing workforce. Those SME’s accessing the scheme see their training costs reduced to zero, enabling them to reinvest that money to in recruiting additional apprentices or increasing apprenticeship pay to attract more candidates.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “The Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Scheme has been a resounding success for our region. It’s fantastic to see it reach the significant milestone of supporting over 4,000 apprentices - improving skills, providing jobs, and changing lives.  

“The skills that people are learning as a result of the Apprentice Levy Transfer Scheme will set them up well for future careers and ensure we provide a lasting legacy for people across the region.”

“Thanks to the funds that larger businesses have donated, a total of 1,683 small and medium-sized enterprises have already directly benefitted by being able to bring on board apprentices and by upskilling existing employees.

“I would very much encourage large employers to take the opportunity to get involved by donating their unspent levy funds – putting this money towards the service of transforming the employment prospects of talented people right across our region.”

One of the 4,000 apprentices supported is Zahid Stevens, aged 45, from Halesowen. After being made redundant, Zahid is now studying for a Level 2 Rail Engineering Apprenticeship with his new employer McGinley Support Services Ltd. The apprenticeship is being delivered by City of Wolverhampton College in partnership with National Infrastructure Solutions (NIS) - a leading provider of rail industry training - at the college's specialist rail training sites at the Wellington Road campus in Bilston and the Black Country Innovative Manufacturing Organisation in Dudley.

Zahid said: “People think that apprenticeships are for young people but being a mature student, I have felt very much part of the team and have valuable experience to share.

“For anyone thinking about getting into an apprenticeship I would thoroughly recommend it - you can continue your learning at any age – you just need to be willing and take the opportunities that come your way.”


Fiona Burke, HR director, McGinley Support Services Ltd said: “The Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund has allowed McGinley to access funds to build an apprentice programme to continuously feed new talent into an infrastructure industry which is facing a skills gap.  We have been able to deliver much larger numbers of apprentices using this facility to support the training costs which would not be possible without this fund. 

“The Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund allows increased apprenticeships to be delivered whilst also allowing the transfer companies to build their social value propositions.  McGinley has benefited by improving the future skills within our business which will in turn improve the future skills in the construction sector. Without the fund we could not have delivered the number of apprenticeships we have or will be able to in the future.”

Cllr George Duggins, WMCA portfolio holder for productivity and skills and leader of Coventry City Council, added: “The Apprenticeship Levy Scheme is a great way for big business to help local, smaller businesses grow fresh talent through apprenticeship opportunities. 

“By donating their unspent levy they can make a real difference in the lives of young people and those starting a new career, as well as allowing businesses to upskill their existing staff with apprenticeship qualifications.”

Zahid’s apprenticeship was funded by the levy transfer scheme through the support of donor, Lloyds Banking Group, one of the very first donors of the WMCA levy scheme and a key supporter of its initiation.

Andrew Assam, Lloyds Banking Group’s ambassador for the Midlands, said, “Working with the WMCA, we’ve been able to support 736 apprentices by sharing £6.23m of our levy funds.

“Apprenticeships are a great option and not just for the school leaver. People can grow their skills through on-the-job training and receive a salary and qualifications which can kick start their career. 

“Our firm belief is that the power of our support extends beyond the funding. For many small businesses who benefit from our funding, what they value most is having the opportunity to tap into our own deep organisational knowledge and experience when it comes to apprenticeships, workforce planning and upskilling. That’s why we would urge more businesses to support levy transfer initiatives, to share not only their funds but their experience.”

Businesses wishing to register their interest can sign up for more information at: www.wmca.org.uk/apprenticeship-levy.

People considering starting an apprenticeship can find out more at: www.apprenticeships.gov.uk



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Ian Henery

Member since: 4th February 2019

Presenter Black Country Radio & Black Country Xtra

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