What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

The Apprenticeship Levy is the government portal for employers to:

  • Access funding to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment costs
  • Agree a training commitment with a training provider
  • View financial transactions
  • Give training providers permission to carry out some tasks on your behalf
  • Receive a transfer of apprenticeship funds
  • Create an apprenticeship advert

How can I access funding?

Levy paying employers access their funds through the online Apprenticeship Service. The funds in their accounts are available to spend on apprenticeship training in England. The amount of funding that an employer paying the Apprenticeship Levy can access is linked to the value of their levy contributions, the proportion of employees living in England plus a government top-up.

What if I don't pay into the Apprenticeship Levy?

Employers who do not pay into the Apprenticeship Levy can reserve funds using the Apprenticeship Service. They will pay just 5% towards the cost of training and assessing an apprentice. The government will pay the rest up to the funding band maximum.

I am a small organisation - am I still eligible to hire apprentices into my organisation?

Employers with fewer than 50 people working for them are able to train, at no cost, apprentices aged 16-18 or aged 19-24 who have previously been in care or who have an Education, Health and Care plan. These employers are not required to contribute the 5% co-investment; instead, the government will pay 100% of the training costs for these individuals up to the funding band maximum.

How is it paid?

Funds will be taken in month – and available to spend in the following. All payments will be ‘one month in arrears’. Employers will receive a 10% top up to monthly funds entering their Apprenticeship Service account.

Does it expire?

All funds that appear in the Apprenticeship Service accounts of employers who pay the levy expire 24 months after they appear in the account.

What if I’ve used all the funds in our Apprenticeship Levy?

If you have used all funds available in your Apprenticeship Levy, the 5% contribution will apply, requiring you to pay 5% of the total cost of any additional apprenticeships.

How can I set up an account on the Apprenticeship Service?

Levy paying employers will need:

  • An email address you have access to
  • The Government Gateway login for your organisation (or you can use the accounts office reference number and employer PAYE scheme reference number if your annual pay bill is less than £3 million)
  • Authority to add PAYE schemes to the account
  • Authority to accept the employer agreement on behalf of your organisation

A small employer who does not pay the Apprenticeship Levy can use the PAYE scheme reference number (also known as ERN number) and your account office reference number (AORN).

The ESFA has a YouTube channel full of handy how to videos.


If you can’t find what you are

looking for, please contact your Account Manager for further information and support.

Can I transfer funding to another employer?

Organisations can transfer unused funds in their account to any number of employers, for any number of apprenticeships with each, up to the maximum of 25% of funds entering the account.

How do I pay the training provider (QA)?

The training provider (QA) will be paid the agreed cost of the apprenticeship, up to the funding band maximum and will get:

  • 80% of the cost in equal monthly payments throughout the apprenticeship
  • The final 20% when the apprentice completes their apprenticeship

Your training provider will receive Apprenticeship Service funds in equal monthly payments.

Apprenticeship funding in Scotland

Apprentices aged 16-19 years

100% funded by the Scottish Government (via SDS).

Apprentices aged 16-19 years

Apprentices aged 20-24 years

Partially funded by the Scottish Government (via SDS).

Apprentices aged 20-24 years

Still not sure how funding works?

No problem. If you want to know the ins and outs, let’s go through it together. Contact us.

Still not sure how funding works?

If you have any questions on funding apprenticeships, please contact us using the form below.

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We can work together to help recruit tech and digital apprentices or help reskill your existing workforce and provide your business with the in-demand tech skills you need.

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