Since the introduction of the Government Apprenticeship Levy in England, FIS has been listening to those affected and measuring the impact on a large part of its membership who are not required to pay the levy. It will come as no surprise to some of you, that access to local apprenticeship training provision was one of the major issues faced by a large proportion of members.

Part of the problem – sector training providers who would have normally educated your apprentices were put into two categories, levy paying and non-levy paying funded. The balance was heavily weighted towards levy paying access and it left many of our membership unable to access local provision.

As an intermediary organisation we have been reporting our sector finding to the National Apprenticeship Service and change is coming.

The Education Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) is expanding access to the apprenticeship service to employers who are not one of the existing 22,000 apprenticeship levy-payers using the service. This will be of enormous benefit to 80% of the FIS membership.

FIS Skills Engagement Manager Amanda Scott said: “What this means to our members is non-levy payers will now have greater ownership, visibility and involvement with apprenticeships funding and access to a wider range of high-quality training providers. Funds will be open allowing for three apprentices per company during the testing phase. This will mean that SMEs will be in greater control of the apprenticeships that they engage with and will be of enormous benefit to 80% of the FIS membership in England.”

We will continue to update you regularly but here is the latest from the National Apprenticeship Service.

The early transition – from now until March – will be an initial test phase, during which time we will undertake large scale testing, seeking feedback from smaller employers and training providers. During the transition in 2020 we will continue to run contracts with training providers so smaller employers have a choice around how they access apprenticeship funding, joining the apprenticeship service when they feel they are ready.

During the test phase, additional funding will be made available for up to 15,000 new starts through the service.

As we enable smaller employers to use the apprenticeship service, we are introducing the ability for them to reserve funds for training. This will allow us to forecast, monitor and manage apprenticeships funding within the overall budget for apprenticeships. To manage a gradual transition from contracted training provision to employers arranging their own apprenticeships through the apprenticeship service, employers will initially be able to reserve funding for up to three apprenticeships.

For more information and how to access the service visit and see item 4

For further details please contact FIS Sector Skills Engagement Manager Amanda Scott