Are you looking to employ an apprentice?
TO Upskill your existing team?








Looking to Upskill your team or recruit an apprentice?

We partner with businesses to build skilled, engaged and committed teams, bridging the skills gap by developing job-ready professionals for your industry.

Levy funding can be used by both levy paying and non-levy employers to upskill their existing teams or bring new apprentices into the business.

National Upskill are an apprenticeship provider, offering flexible levy and non-levy apprenticeships and upskilling options for businesses of all sizes and budgets.

Our free recruitment service also provides a novel way of reducing hiring hosts and investing in the long-term value of your workforce – Should you have any questions about finding apprentices or upskilling for your business, please contact us at

Contact Us





What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

The UK government launched the apprenticeship levy in 2017. This dictates that any employer with an annual wage bill over £3m is liable to pay an additional 0.5% in tax into their apprenticeship levy fund. Equivalent to £15,000pa for a company with a £3m wage bill. This levy fund is then used to fund apprenticeship training within their own organisation, or if they wish within other organisations, perhaps within their supply chain.

Levy funds can only be spent on apprenticeship training costs and no other goods or services.

Employers with a payroll of less than £3m per annum would be classed as non-levy employers.

Levy funds not spent by the levy employer expire after 24 months, and fall back into the HMRC. This money, in turn, goes towards funding apprenticeships for non-levy employers, where the employer would pay 5% of the cost of an apprenticeship and the government pays the remaining 95%.

As an example, money paid into the levy in January 2024 that had not been allocated to an apprenticeship programme by January 2026, would automatically go back to the HMRC to support non-levy employers and apprenticeships.

In the event that an employer spends all their accrued and projected levy funds while continuing to take on an apprentice(s), the employer would adopt the non-levy 5% payment model until funding is again available in their levy fund.

Click here to - ASK OUR LEVY EXPERTS.




How are levy funds transferred?

Up to 25% (increasing to 50% from the 1st April 2024) of your previous year's unused apprenticeship funds can be transferred to other businesses or perhaps charities of your choice. This is calculated as 25% of:

  • The total amount of levy declared in the previous tax year;
  • with the English percentage applied (The percentage of your employees that live in England);
  • plus a top-up payment of 10% from the government.

National Upskill can help you to identify and transfer unused levy funds to businesses of your choice in need of apprenticeship funding. This is used to pay for 100% of the training and assessment costs of the apprenticeship, up to the funding band maximum.

Funds donated can only be used for the training of a new apprentice. Please note that this doesn't have to be a new employee it can be used to upskill existing team members, it cannot, however, be allocated to someone already on an apprenticeship.



How are apprenticeships delivered by National Upskill?

National Upskill operates an online face-to-face delivery model, administered through channels such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom. We find that online learning works well in technology-rich environments or workplaces where the apprentices role will revolve around the use of hardware and/or software.

In the interest of maintaining the highest quality learning experience, we limit the use of pre-recorded content as we find this lacks the interaction and real-time feedback of face-to-face and one-to-one learning and interaction.

Instead, our approach involves:

  • Personalised, flexible and accessibly one-to-one, face-to-face sessions.
  • Interacting and engaging group activities.
  • Shoring up gaps in knowledge or weak points with individualised attention.
  • Bridging the gaps between theory and practical applications.
  • Switching between teaching, learning and coaching in areas where the apprentice feels confident and wishes to focus on real-world application.

Online group learning and discussion fosters a unique culture and environment of shared experiences, cross-sector discussions and the exchange of both knowledge and experience. Roll-on/roll-off apprenticeship recruitment ensures a strong mix of changing ages, genders, experiences and outlooks during group discussions.

At the same time, apprentices will be engaging with colleagues within the work environment for complete immersion, motivation and support.

Looking to attract and retain talent? Find out more how National Upskill can assist by getting in touch at


What safeguarding measures are in place for our apprentices?

Safeguarding is a commonly-used term within the education and healthcare sectors, focusing on the welfare, wellbeing and safety of:

  • Children (Aged 17 and under); and
  • Vulnerable adults (In broad terms, individuals of any age with learning difficulties, special educational needs or a disability)

Safeguarding measures are designed to keep these groups and others safe and protected from harm, neglect and abuse. The core areas covered under this umbrella include:

  • Physical abuse 
  • Mental abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Material abuse
  • Neglect
  • Omission
  • Sexual abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Discrimination
  • Self-abuse

National Upskill have a duty of care to safeguard our apprentices and ensure all learners are aware of safeguarding and how to report any concerns or issues. Safeguarding concerns from a learning or employer can be shared at



 Woman apprentice working on laptop

Frequently asked questions about how to employ an apprentice

Are there age restrictions on apprentices? 

Apprentices must be 16 or over and there is no upper age limit. There are certain employer bonuses for offering apprenticeships for 16-18's.

How much does it cost for an apprentice? 

Employers are either classed as non-levy or levy defined by their annual payroll being less than (non-levy) or more than (levy), £3m per annum (see above what is the apprenticeship levy).

  • As a levy employer the full cost of the apprenticeship comes from the employer's levy fund.
  • As a non-levy employer, you pay 5% of the total cost and government pays 95%.
  • Apprentices must be employed, so the salary cost remains with the employer the same as any other employee.
  • Apprenticeship programme costs vary by sector and level.

How much do I pay an apprentice? 

The National Minimum Wage as defined by Government is set out below. However, this is the minimum you pay by law - You as the employer can choose to pay more dependent on a range of factors such as the industry, sector and competitor salaries.

As of 1st April 2024, the National Minimum Wage for apprentices has increased. The new rates, depending on age, are as follows:

  • Aged 16-17: £6.40 per hour.
  • Aged 18-20: £8.60 per hour.
  • Aged 21+: £11.44 per hour.

What if we run out of money in our levy fund? 

Funds are paid into your levy fund monthly. Likewise, funds come out monthly for any apprentices you have on programme. Unspent funds are retained by the HMRC after two years.

Whilst you have funds in your levy you pay 100% of the training costs monthly from your levy, when you have insufficient funds and wish to take on further apprentices you pay 5% and government pays 95% which is the non-levy model. You resume payments when you have funds in your levy again.

Can we upskill existing staff? 

Yes. although apprenticeships are not designed to solely recognise existing skills, knowledge and behaviours, so for an existing staff member who has perhaps been doing the same job for a period of time, this is not simply gaining a qualification and certificate to reflect their existing experience.

Apprentices are expected to learn substantial new skills and knowledge. An existing staff member for instance may need to take on new and additional tasks and responsibilities to learn these new skills, knowledge and behaviours.

Can we work with more than one training provider? 

Yes. There is a broad range of apprenticeships, and it is unlikely one provider would deliver everything you need as a business, employers may wish to work with two or three providers for this reason. You may however want to limit the number of providers you work with, as each partnership requires management and monitoring.

What are gateway and end point assessment? 

Apprenticeships have different phases, primarily enrolment, induction, teaching, learning and assessment and finally end point assessment. The TLA (teaching, learning and assessment) phase is the longest at a minimum of 12 months through to 48 months. During this period as well as the teaching, learning and assessment, functional skills and any other qualifications will be delivered and achieved.

Only once all component parts have been successfully completed and quality assured will an apprentice pass through ‘gateway' into EPA (end point assessment). Gateway is effectively a milestone (virtual gateway) to pass through once the learning part is complete, and ahead of the end point assessment taking place.

End point assessment is then conducted by an external awarding body, independent of the training provider. End point assessment activities vary by apprenticeships. See specific apprenticeships for details.

Does the employer pay NI for apprentices? 

There are some exceptions, you may not be required to pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions if the apprentice is:

  • under 25 years old;
  • on an approved apprenticeship standard;
  • earning less than £967 a week (£50,270 a year)

This only benefits the employer as the apprentice continues to pay NI although some apprentices may be exempt from class 2. Your payroll team should check out current HMRC's guidance on paying National Insurance contributions to remain compliant.

Who provides the apprentice's training? 

To access apprenticeship funding from your levy account or direct from the EFSA you must work in partnership with an approved Apprenticeship training provider who is registered on the APAR register (Apprenticeship providers and assessment register).

National Upskills registration number is 164894.

Your chosen apprenticeship provider will oversee the apprenticeship programme and lead on all the teaching and learning, which is organised in partnership with both the employer and the learner. Each apprentice will have a tailored ‘ILP' (individual learning plan) and all three parties – employer, learner and training provider sign commitment statements which set out expectations on the three parties.

80% of the apprentice's time is spent on their day job, and 20% (up to 6 hours per week) is required to be OJT ‘off-the-job training'. This is multifaceted with a broad range of activities which count as OJT, and feed directly into the ongoing teaching, learning and development of the apprentice.



 National Upskill logo


Partner with National Upskill to help shape your ideal workforce

If you have any questions for our team, please get in touch at

You can also call us at 0333 772 9534.


 Apprenticeships logo

 Education & Skills logo