Editor's message: The Government is hoping that an increased use of apprenticeships will help to improve the UK's productivity levels and address skills shortages.

Apprenticeships are in-work training programmes under which the apprentice engages in on- and off-the-job learning and development activities that will lead to a work-based qualification.

As well as being a way of attracting school leavers to your organisation, apprenticeships can be used to develop the skills of your existing staff as part of their ongoing training and development. There are levels of apprenticeship available from equivalent to GCSE up to a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

A new funding system for apprenticeships, the apprenticeship levy, was introduced in April 2017. If your organisation has a paybill of more than £3 million you must pay the levy (set at 0.5% of the paybill), and employers that operate in England - regardless of their paybill size - can claim funding from the levy to pay for apprenticeship training and end-point assessment.

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