Information for employers

Degree and Higher Level Apprenticeships are an excellent opportunity to develop your workforce with new skills, specialist knowledge and enthusiasm.

Benefits of hiring an apprentice

Designed in collaboration with employers, our programme ensures that apprentices are able to provide the high level skills your business needs in an increasingly competitive global market.

With a University of Cumbria apprenticeship programme, you'll have access to:

  • academic expertise in areas ranging from leadership and management to health and education
  • expert staff with experience in industry and academic research
  • training needs analyses and advice on accessing apprenticeship standards and forming trailblazer groups
  • extensive learner support, including a personal tutor, advice on learning and development, and English and Maths if required
  • regular feedback on apprentice progress
  • a named key account manager
  • assistance with use of the Digital Apprenticeship Service and maximising use of the levy and government contributions.

Download the sub-contracting policy in relation to Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) funded programmes

Download the outline document of our approach to subcontracting

In spring 2017 the way the Government funds apprenticeship training in England changed, with the introduction of the apprenticeship levy for all employers who have an annual pay bill over £3m.

Smaller employers, and employers who spend all of their levy, can benefit from government funding of up to 90% of the cost of training and assessment.

There are ways for all employers to benefit from these changes, whether they pay the levy or not.

Download our Employers' Guide (PDF)

How much can an employer get out?

Levy paying employers

Employers in England who pay the levy and are committed to apprenticeship training will be able to get out more than they pay into the levy, through a 10% top-up of funds to their digital account to spend in England on apprenticeships.

If an employer spends all of their levy, they are able to access further funding for apprenticeships on the same co-investment basis as smaller companies, contributing 10% themselves and drawing down 90% from the government.   

Non-levy paying employers

For non-levied employers, up to 90% of apprenticeship training and assessment costs will be paid.

The government is also making some additional funding available to support apprentices, for example care leavers and young people who need additional learning support.

What will the levy pay for?

The levy will support all post-16 apprenticeships in England, and employers can use the funds to meet the individual needs of their business.

How can employers access funding?

Levy paying employers

Use of levy funds will be directly controlled by employers, and accessed via a Digital Apprenticeships Service (DAS) account.

The amount of funding entering the digital account will correspond to the proportion of employees with an English home post code (this is an English based system, even though the tax is UK wide).

Funds will expire 24 months after they enter an employer’s digital account, unless spent on apprenticeship training. The account will work on a first in, first out basis to minimise the amount of expired funds.

Non-levy paying employers

Non levy paying employers are expected to move to the Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) at a later date. 

Until then, education and training organisations who provide apprenticeship programmes will work with employers and the Skills Funding Agency to ensure that payments from the government (90%) and the employer (10%) can be made using other systems.

Who will pay the levy, and how much will they pay?

The levy will apply to large employers with an annual paybill in excess of £3m and will be 0.5% of the paybill, with an allowance of £15,000.

Levy paying employers

Levy paying employers will have the responsibility to calculate, report and pay the levy to HMRC alongside their usual PAYE payments.

Levied employer of 250 employees, each with a gross salary of £20,000
Paybill: 250 x £20,000 = £5,000,000
Levy sum: 0.5% x £5,000,000 = £25,000
Allowance: £25,000 - £15,000 = £10,000 annual levy payment.

The first time eligible employers will have to declare their liability will be May 2017, for the levy due on their April payroll.

Non-levy paying employers

For those employers who do not pay the levy, or those who have spent all their levy, there is a co-investment model with the government funding 90% of the cost of training and assessment, and the employer paying the other 10%.

In addition to our excellent apprenticeship training, we also offer the following services at a competitive price. 

  • Accreditation of Prior and Experiential Learning (APEL) which can reduce duplication of learning, time and cost of an apprenticeship
  • Psychometric Assessment Service, helping employers to use psychological testing as part of a robust recruitment and selection process
  • Brokered access to further training and development through the EDGE II programme for Cumbrian based SMEs.
  • Mentoring training and associated staff development support to maximise the benefit of apprenticeship training in your organisation.

1. Start planning

Think about ways that you could use apprenticeships to bring new skills into your business either by recruiting someone new or developing existing employees.

2. Get registered

Use the Apprenticeship Service website to see what standards and apprenticeships are available that might benefit your business. If you are a levy paying organisation, you will need to register. No funds can be paid for your apprentices unless your company is registered.

3. Contact us

Get in touch on 01228 888 740 or to discuss how we can help you and your organisation. 

Download the 'How to recruit an apprentice' guide (PDF)


Contact us

If you have any questions about our apprenticeship programme, get in touch.

Contact form

If you are an employer, please email

If you are a potential apprentice, please contact our Enquiry Centre ( or 0808 178 7373)


The course is aligned to all elements of my role as a manager/leader and helps develop and improve my skills and understanding. We have an opportunity to learn new skills such as strategic planning; this isn’t something we are required to do in great detail as middle managers, but by learning, it gives me confidence that I have more to offer my employer.

Adrienne Waldie, Higher Level Apprenticeship (Level 5) in Leadership and Management

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