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The Apprenticeship Levy One Year On

Posted on 4 June, 2018


Following a year of the Apprenticeship Levy, Jill Whittaker, Managing Director at HIT Training, reflects on its impact and what opportunities its opened up for pubs.

“For some pubs, the perceived paperwork, costs and admin involved with the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy may well have, at times, felt a little overwhelming. 

“While this has caused some to write off the scheme as a failure, here at HIT Training we believe this is a short-sighted view. The reality is, that as with anything new, there have been teething problems and some confusion around the Levy itself. As such, it’s hardly surprising that, according to a report by the DFE, apprenticeship starts fell by 61% in 2017. 

“But this figure is much less dramatic than it first appears; businesses are understandably taking time to get to grips with the scheme first. This is certainly what we are seeing at HIT Training. In the hospitality sector, May 2017 saw apprenticeships starts at just 25% of the same month in 2016. But by the end of 2017 that figure had increased to 80% year-on year. 

Reflecting on 12 months of the Levy 

“A key area of concern for independent freeholders is that many fall under the £3 million pay bill threshold for the Levy, meaning they have to contribute 10% towards their apprenticeship training – no insignificant amount at a time when everyone is being squeezed on the likes of food costs and rent prices.

“But it’s important not to look at this cost in isolation but rather at the value that staff investment can offer in the longer term. Our hospitality clients certainly continue to applaud apprenticeships as an excellent way to upskill staff whilst also attracting and retaining top talent – saving on money lost to recruitment and constant onboarding of new staff. 

“Here’s three top benefits to consider:

  • 80% of companies who invest in apprentices report an increase in staff retention
  • Apprentices deliver an average of £10k per annum in productivity gains
  • 77% of employers believe apprenticeships make them more competitive 

What the legislation looks like now 

“This year has seen two key evolutions in the world of apprenticeships;

“First, the introduction of the new apprenticeship standards, making training even more relevant and rigorous, with the benefits to businesses made even more obvious. For example, as part of the new end point assessment for the Hospitality Team Member apprenticeship, apprentices have to complete a business project to identify an opportunity to improve the business in which they work – many employers have grabbed hold of these initiatives with both hands and are already implementing them to great success.

“Secondly, the Government has opened the door for Levy-paying employers to help fund an apprentice in another organisation. This means they can help to increase the skills base in their supply chain, sector, charity or local area – one for publicans to consider if there are partnership opportunities open to them.

“There is no doubt apprenticeships are the go-to solution for employers looking to attract, retain and develop talent, from new starters right through to senior level employees, and we’re encourage pubs to evaluate their training needs and access the benefits apprenticeships can provide to their business and employees.” 


Please click here to view the article in the Morning Advertiser.


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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