Over £1 million of unused apprenticeship levy has now been secured in levy transfers across Oxfordshire to open the door to new apprenticeship opportunities and talent.
The levy transfers, facilitated by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s (OxLEP) Skills team (OxLEP Skills), form part of a wider programme of activity to support the creation of new jobs and talent within the local business community.
Hitting this milestone means that OxLEP Skills has now reached over 75% of its £1.3 million target for levy pledges as part of the Social Contract Programme. The £1.7 million initiative was set up in May 2022, introduced as part of a number of measures aimed at helping Oxfordshire’s economic recovery from the pandemic.
The Social Contract Programme aims to boost the county’s skills and drive economic growth, helping local companies tap into their apprenticeship levy and unlock new talent in their workforce through training and assessment.
This milestone achievement has been made possible by employers across the region taking part in the scheme. Pledging their investment in apprentices, employers are opening the door to opportunities available to them in the local area and helping to retain talent locally.
The apprenticeship levy, paid by large employers with an annual pay bill of £3 million or more, can choose to transfer up to 25% of their levy funds each year to help other businesses pay for their apprenticeship training and assessment.
Sally Andreou, Skills Hub Manager at OxLEP, said: “Hitting this £1 million target is a major milestone for the team at OxLEP Skills and we are thrilled to have the support of so many local businesses. These employers are making a real difference in their communities, supporting the volume and quality of apprenticeships across the region by pledging their unused levy funds.
"Apprenticeships are a vital part of our economy, and by reinvesting apprenticeship levy funding we can support smaller businesses in the county to grow their workforce and retain high quality talent by helping them to develop the skills they need.
“We have a growing list of employers who have pledged their unused Levy several times, including Pearson, JDE Banbury and the University of Oxford. We encourage small businesses in Oxfordshire who have not yet taken advantage of the funds available through the apprenticeship levy transfer scheme to get involved and unlock the door to a growing future workforce.”
One of the many organisations benefitting from the levy transfer scheme in Oxfordshire is Hedena Health. After taking advantage of the apprenticeship levy transfer scheme in 2022, with support from OxLEP Skills and the Thames Valley Primary Care Workforce, Hedena Health successfully filled an apprenticeship position in Oxford with funding transferred from local large employer JDE Banbury.
Through the scheme, apprentice Bethany Lawrence began her two-year apprenticeship as an Apprentice Healthcare Assistant in October 2022. As Hedena’s first apprentice, the success of the role has started conversation around the different qualification pathways into healthcare and could provide a solution to the immense pressure and talent shortage currently being faced by the NHS.
To find out how your business can pledge unused apprenticeship levy or gain access to funding or support for an apprenticeship, please contact OxLEP’s apprenticeship advisors via www.oxfordshirelep.com/oxlep-skills.
For more information about the Social Contract Programme, or to discover apprenticeship opportunities in Oxfordshire, visit www.oxfordshirelep.com/oxlep-skills.