How charities can benefit from spare apprenticeship levies

Did you know that organisations with spare apprenticeship levy funds can transfer them to your charity? Margaret Burnside gives some hints and tips to show charities how to make the most of this golden opportunity.

As a charity, you may not be paying the apprenticeship levy but did you know that there is still a way in which you could benefit from it? From April this year, employers can transfer up to 25% of their annual apprenticeship service funds (an increase from 10%) to another organisation. These transferred funds can then be used to fund an apprenticeship. This is a golden opportunity for charities.

Organisations who aren’t spending all their levy are looking for ways to do so, and supporting charities in this way may fit perfectly with their corporate social responsibility policy. Any employer can receive a transfer, so charities of all sizes can benefit from having an apprenticeship funded by another organisation.

For example, we’re currently working with a local charity, The Feed in Norwich, which helps homeless and disadvantaged adults, training them in catering skills to increase their employability and self-confidence. The Operations Manager is currently on our Leadership and Management Apprenticeship Programme funded by Kettle Foods

Kettle Foods wants to really make a difference locally and it already funds places on its catering training programmes, provides training sessions with its chef and helps raise awareness of The Feed’s valuable work. It made perfect sense to use its available levy pot to support its partner charity further. It’s definitely worth approaching and asking your supporters if they have any leftover levy that they’d be willing to transfer to you.

How to benefit from a transferred apprenticeship levy: 

The transfer process itself is simple to do but I’d recommend watching the Education & Skills Funding Agency videos.

Before a transfer can be made, both the sending and receiving organisations must be registered on the Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS). The levy-paying organisation initiates the process. The receiving charity confirms and then adds the details of the apprenticeship. More details can be found on the website

Practical tips & hints:

If you’re going to receive a transfer, there are some things that you should bear in mind.

  • The transferred funds can only be used for apprenticeship training and assessment
  • The funds can only be used for apprenticeship standards
  • You will need to create an account on the DAS portal
  • An agreement must be signed with the Educations Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)
  • The transfer of funds occurs monthly from the sending employers to your apprenticeship account
  • If the apprenticeship stops for whatever reason, so will the funding
  • You WILL NOT be required to pay back the funds 
  • If the sending employer runs out of funds, you’ll be required to make a 5% contribution towards the programme; the government will pay the remaining 95%. The is called co-investment. Further information is on the website 
  • The cost of any training should not go above the funding band for the apprenticeship programme. For example, the funding band for the Leadership and Management Apprenticeship is £7,000. In the unlikely event that training costs exceed this amount, your charity would be liable for the outstanding amount. This shouldn’t happen but is something to be aware of if suppliers suggest adding extras to their programmes that won’t be covered by the levy
  • If you’re being funded by a training provider, that provider cannot then deliver the training for that funded apprenticeship 

Margaret Burnside is the Director at Cake People Development

If you have any questions about the apprenticeship levy transfer process, or would like to talk to Cake People Development about how its apprenticeship programmes could support you, contact the team on 01603 733006 email or visit

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