Woodworking: Apprentices

Department for Education written question – answered on 17th March 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Garden of Frognal Baroness Garden of Frognal Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much in total the woodworking and joinery sector has contributed to the apprenticeship levy fund to date; what proportion of that total has been spent on apprenticeships; and whether any unspent levy can be redistributed back to non-levy payers to be used by SMEs to address skills shortages.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The apprenticeship levy is collected by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs from all UK employers with a pay bill above £3 million.

Employers in England access their levy funding through their apprenticeship service accounts. The Education and Skills Funding Agency does not require levy-paying employers to document their industry sector when registering an apprenticeship service account. For this reason, we are unable to provide data which shows the amount of levy funds entering the accounts of employers in the woodworking and joinery sector, or the proportion of that total which has been spent on apprenticeships.

In 2019-20, funding available for investment in apprenticeships in England has risen to over £2.5 billion, double what was spent in 2010-11, allowing employers of all sizes, including those in the woodworking and joinery sector, to access funding for apprenticeships.

The department’s annual apprenticeships budget, which is distinct to the funds available to levy-paying employers through their apprenticeship service accounts, funds apprenticeships in England for both levy payers and Small and Medium Enterprises. This means that levy payers’ unspent funds are not lost but are used to support apprenticeships in smaller employers.

We are also supporting smaller employers who do not pay the levy by moving them onto our digital apprenticeship service, giving them a greater choice of training providers and more control over their apprenticeships. In addition, smaller employers can benefit from transferred funds from levy payers, supporting new starts in supply chains and addressing sector skills shortages and local skills needs.

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