// Apprenticeship Levy funding remains unused
// Open University finds more than £3 billion unused despite support
More than £3 billion in Apprenticeship Levy funding in the UK remains unused, despite support for the system from employers, a new report suggests.
Research by the Open University found that two out of five employers – many of which are retailers – want “significant” changes to the levy.
The levy was introduced in 2017 and requires businesses with an annual wage bill of £3 million or more to pay 0.5 per cent of this amount into a fund which can be spent on apprenticeships.
The university said a Freedom of Information Act request showed that employers have “earned back” only £480 million of total funding available.
“Employers are missing out on a golden opportunity to close skills gaps and ensure that their organisations are equipped with the ability, agility and knowledge required to handle upcoming challenges,” Open University corporate director David Willett said.
“The lack of consistency from tweaks to the levy system and funding bands is having a profound effect on organisations, leaving many unable to make long-term strategic decisions about training and skills.
“Others simply need more support to help them develop a strategy or access the funding, and that’s where we can help.
“With so many employers experiencing skills shortages, it’s crucial that they make use of the levy and invest in training to ensure that their organisations remain strong and competitive in future.”