With the first anniversary of the Levy fast approaching, 2018 has already started to see a huge change in the market and it’s a great time for businesses to think seriously about their options and how best to use this to their advantage.

Levy funds can be used for anything from new apprenticeship starters to up-skilling current employees, and any unspent funds are returned to the treasury after 24 months, which is why the deadline is an opportunity for business leaders to take advantage while they can.  

At Seetec, we’re now seeing the highest level of Levy starts so far this year. The impending deadline coupled with strong, strategic planning has boosted employee communications and engagement. Losing out financially has meant that Levy numbers have increased and we anticipate that the second quarter will be our busiest for starts ever.

For British businesses, there is the chance to up skill workforces and deliver real returns by taking advantage of the Levy, and it’s great to see people moving up the career ladder and in turn creating new opportunities for others. But leaders looking to get on board will have to think seriously about the next steps towards progression and do their research, as the upcoming quarter is a critical time for the Levy.

The introduction of complicated new rules and lack of preparation and consideration have created the perfect storm which has had a massive impact on the sector. There is still a lot of change ahead and the market, and its supply base, will continue to evolve over the coming months,  but 2018 should see new jobs, reduced skills gaps and developing workforces that can only help our British businesses thrive.

The good news is that from April, the government is allowing organisations to transfer up to 10% of their Levy fund to other organisations, meaning that smaller companies don’t necessarily have to miss out as a result.

For anyone wondering how to make the most of the Levy for their business, consider the following:

Don’t Be Levy Led
Communicating to your staff that your strategy  is about meeting the future skills requirements of your business, not “because the government has introduced a new tax”, but because you understand what your business needs to achieve and how your employees can help you achieve it, ensures the workforce takes it as seriously as you do. Communicating what this means for individuals and their teams will help with engagement.

Think About Progression
Where will the learners go next? Where are the skills shortages within the business? What do your future skills requirements look like? These are quite standard questions but coupled with the possible bureaucracy of government funding (eligibility, progression rules, emerging standards) it is critical to lay this out at the outset – your chosen partner should be able to fill in the gaps here.

Choose The Right Partner
As with all relationships, finding the right partner is much more than the ‘offer’, matching culture, ethos, direction and skill sets will enable a fruitful long-term relationship.  All stakeholders in the partnership need to buy into the strategy, understand it and own it.

Keep Up To Date
There is now the option for larger organisations to pay their levy funds down to smaller businesses both within their supply chain and outside of it. This will help them to up skill and improve the services they offer and could have a huge impact on the whole market. There will continue to be developments in the proposition and its guidance so in order to maximise any changes, keep yourself updated or work with a specialist provider who can keep you informed.

Daniel Lally is a Levy Business Consultant at Seetec. He and his colleague, Sales Director Steve Barker, will be attending the CIPD Learning and Development Show at the Olympia in London on 25th – 26th April. For more information, visit www.seetec.co.uk