LATG LaunchThe Four Principals: David Byrne - Barnet and Southgate College, Penny Wycherley - Waltham Forest College, Tony Medhurst - Hertford Regional College and Andy Forbes - College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London.

The London Apprenticeship Training Group (LATG) today launched their new collaboration; established between Barnet and Southgate College, the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL), Hertford Regional College and Waltham Forest College.

The apprenticeship focused alliance promises to identify the right training provider, the right course and the right candidate acting as a broker between the employer and the newly formed Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS), which will be fully operational by April 2017.

The new alliance aims to support large and small businesses through the recent apprenticeship reform and apprenticeships’ levy, ensuring employers find the right apprentice with the skills to fit their business needs.

The introduction of the apprenticeships’ levy will move apprenticeship funding to employers who may find this confusing and time consuming. LATG will ensure employers ‘gain without pain’ with the additional responsibility this brings.

Research from the National Apprenticeships Service (NAS) has shown that 80% of those who employ apprentices agree that they make the workplace more productive and that apprentices are loyal and hardworking. In fact 83% of businesses that employ apprentices rely on their apprenticeships to provide the skilled workers that they will need for the future.

Andy Forbes, Principal of the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, on behalf of the London Apprenticeships Training Group (LTAG), said: "LATG will provide a full service from start to finish in recruiting apprentices for all industries.

"Colleges working together will be able to offer an even bigger range of options while at the same time making things much simpler for employers and young people looking for apprenticeships. We will take the load off companies of all sizes and help them gain fully from the new apprenticeships levy." 

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The Apprenticeship Levy

The levy fundamentally changes the way apprenticeship funding flows; for larger employers a levy will be charged via the tax system, collected into a pot and made available to employers via the new Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS). Employers will then be able to choose a training provider, course and candidate, with the DAS's help.

The levy will apply to all UK Employers but is only payable on annual 'pay' bills of £3 million plus. Employers whose 'pay' bills are less that this threshold will continue to have access to Government Apprenticeship Funding in the current way, which is less than 2% of employers. 0.5% of the employers 'pay' bill will be taken directly via PAYE.

There will be a £15k fixed annual allowance for employers to offset against the levy and this will be collected via HMRC and then made available via the new DAS; employers will then be able to use this to pay for Apprenticeship training. The DAS will help employers to identify training providers, choose a course and find a candidate and the DAS will be fully operational by April 2017.

Employers will be able to use funding up to a cap, dependent on the framework/standard, this is to cover costs of training, assessment and certification. It cannot be used for other associated costs such as cost of supervision or apprenticeship wages. Employers cannot spend an unlimited amount on one single apprenticeship, caps will vary - the higher standard, quality and level, the higher the cap and the levy can be used on existing staff or new recruits.

Levy funds can only be used with approved SFA training providers, so employers can either buy in via an approved provider, or become one themselves - subject to the usual SFA criteria, including Ofsted inspections. Some employers will want to direct their funding to their suppliers and this will be made possible. The levy is designed to put apprenticeship funding in the hands of employers and encourage take up. Engaged employers will be able to get more out than they put in via a monthly 10% digital top up and any unused funds will be reallocated to committed employers. The Institute of Apprenticeships will be established to regulate quality, set caps and approve standards and assessment.