A consortium of Lancashire organisations are working together to help local businesses develop their workforce and retain funding within the county as it recovers from the effects of the pandemic.
The Lancashire Levy Transfer Network has been launched with some well-known local employers pledging to donate more than £500,000 of apprenticeship levy.
So far, ten of the region’s businesses have pledged their support; Bespak, Boohoo, Burnley Borough Council, Futaba Manufacturing UK Limited, Lancashire County Council (LCC), Lancaster University, Myerscough College, Rapid Recruit, Royal Mail and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
The Network enables other Lancashire business to get the support they need to access apprenticeship training for their staff. This opportunity could not come at a better time to support the recovery of Lancashire’s economy as the UK comes out of lockdown.
Organisations in both the private and public sectors who have a wage bill of more than £3 million are required to pay the apprenticeship levy. They are able to transfer up to 25 percent of their levy funding to any other employer.
The Network aims to simplify the process of matching up businesses for mutual benefit; levy-payers do not lose their underspent funds to a central government pot and instead, the maximum amount of levy investment is retained in the Lancashire region.
“The Network is a relatively simple way by which large employers can ensure that they can retain 25 percent of their unspent Levy funding for smaller businesses within Lancashire.“— Mick Cartledge, Chief Executive of Burnley Borough Council
Mick Cartledge, Chief Executive of Burnley Borough Council, said: “The Network is a relatively simple way by which large employers can ensure that they can retain 25 percent of their unspent Levy funding for smaller businesses within Lancashire. It is great to already see a number of large businesses in Lancashire pledging to donate a significant amount of unspent levy to ensure it helps other businesses in Lancashire.”
Sarah Kemp, Chief Executive of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, commented: “I wholeheartedly welcome this initiative. It will ensure that more of the apprenticeship levy funds collected in Lancashire will be reinvested in Lancashire, benefitting businesses and apprentices alike.
“It is great that so many major employers are already backing the Lancashire Levy Transfer Network and have pledged more than half a million pounds to fund apprenticeships in partner businesses.”
West Lancashire domestic abuse charity The Liberty Centre has already benefitted from unspent Levy transferred from LCC.
“Being part of the apprenticeship scheme has enabled us to retain and develop a skilled and talented member of staff, by offering an important development opportunity. “— Liberty Centre Chief Executive Gwen Bleasdale
Liberty Centre Chief Executive Gwen Bleasdale said: “Being part of the apprenticeship scheme has enabled us to retain and develop a skilled and talented member of staff, by offering an important development opportunity. During the programme, they have enhanced their skills and expertise, and we have benefitted from the positive impact on the organisation and services.”
Tim Cutler, Forum Manager of the Lancashire Work-Based Learning Executive Forum, said: “We aim to use our expertise in making the whole process as seamless and efficient as possible, ensuring that employers, both donating and receiving of funds, are fully supported throughout.
“The network will dedicate its time and resources to ensure apprenticeship levy funds are utilised as fully as possible in supporting local businesses, its economy, skills development and crucially, retaining these funds for Lancashire.”