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The Apprenticeship Levy has its challenges but don’t miss out on the benefits

Posted on 20 June, 2018


HIT Training Managing Director, Jill Whittaker, urges hospitality businesses to utilise and maximise their levy funds.

“Latest figures from the Department for Education reveal a 28 per cent drop in new apprenticeship starts between August 2017 and March 2018, compared with the same period last year . What’s more, the number of apprenticeship starts in March 2018 were 52 per cent down on March 2017 . Within this, level two apprenticeships, which are a solid foundation upon which a fruitful career is built and which have an impact on the efficiency of a business, have significantly diminished. In my opinion, this is largely due to the negative connotations surrounding this qualification and the widespread confusion caused by the Apprenticeship Levy. It’s a situation which is being reflected across all sectors, including the hospitality industry. 

“What we’re seeing is that, for many hospitality employers, the perceived admin involved and apparent effectiveness of the Apprenticeship Levy appear to outweigh the benefits. There is considerable confusion between those employers contributing to the scheme and non-participants. 

“With anything new, there are bound to be teething problems and as such, it’s hardly surprising that according to a report by the Open University, £1.3bn of the cash paid into the fund has yet to be claimed . However, these figures are less dramatic than they first appear as businesses have 24 months to use their Levy payments and understandably, they’re taking their time to get to grips with the scheme and make sure they’re maximising the benefits it provides. 

“The Levy has delivered some interesting and unintended consequences, with degree, masters and management level apprenticeship booming (up by 594 per cent). While this is great news, many employers are spending their entire Levy pot in this area – leaving nothing for entry level apprenticeships. 

“At HIT Training, we’re encouraging hospitality employers to take advantage of the Apprenticeship Levy to upskill their entire workforce. Working with a training provider, employers can map out a scheme which is tailored to their business and the skills required. Setting up a high-quality training programme like this reduces staff turnover, improves efficiency and attracts future recruits.   

“Training schemes, such as apprenticeships, are paramount in addressing the labour shortage in the sector which, according to recent research, is predicted to get even more severe with one in 10 hospitality workers considering leaving the UK because of Brexit . You get a great deal back from your employees if you invest in their future, yet there are many hospitality businesses with excellent training programmes in place that don’t mention them when looking for new staff. Broadcasting high-quality training programmes is a key component of any recruitment drive and demonstrates that an employer cares about their people.

“As the Levy is now in its second year, hospitality businesses need to utilise and maximise their funds. There is no doubt that apprenticeships are the go-to solution for employers looking to develop, attract and retain talent, from new starters right through to senior level employees.”

Click here to find out more about the Apprenticeship Levy and to download our essential handbook.



It was great speaking to our account manager, Catherine, this afternoon and great to hear that HIT are being so supportive with our apprentices, I found the call very positive in a time of crisis, so thank you.

The Learner’s leaflet is great and being sent out to Apprentices and Line Managers following our communication last week providing a great follow up.

Jonathan Foot - Head of Apprenticeships, Compass Group

McMullen’s chose HIT as its sole external provider for Apprenticeships and vocational qualifications in early 2015 and since then we have found them a pleasure to work with.  Their expertise in this sector is superior and they have proven to be a professional and supportive partner who have a passion for learning and development, which matches our own organisation.

Amanda Walden – Training & Recruitment Manager, McMullen's

Encouraging our staff to improve their skills set and supporting them through apprenticeships and training programmes underlines our commitment to help them further develop their own careers. Offering the Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship also gives the Brend Group a point of difference which I’m convinced will help attract new members of staff in the future.

Andrew Mosedale - Group HR Manager, Brend Hotels

Our partnership with HIT has certainly made recruitment much easier in a very difficult labour market and gives us a point of difference in an increasingly competitive environment.  Kew Green has also benefited enormously from well trained, skilled and competent staff who contribute significantly to the ever improving and high levels of customer experience that our guests expect and deserve.

Andrew Tregenza - HR Business Partner, Kew Green Hotels

Apprenticeships allow us to give people a great opportunity to develop a career with us and learn a skill or trade that will accompany them throughout their career and life. We see progression to the Level 4 qualification as key to our strategy of providing development at all stages of an employee’s career with Harrison.

Alex Taylor - Training Manager, Harrison Catering Services

HIT Training has provided such an incredible support to us during lockdown, with regular webinar invitations, videocalls and engagement solutions. Our business focus shifted to learning and development and we managed to enrol 3 times more apprentices on training programmes than before!

Anastasia Talatzidou -L&D Manager, Gaucho


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