To mark National Apprenticeship Week, Asda has provided an update on how its levy transfer funding has been spent during the last 12 months – while reiterating its support for a reform of the levy scheme so that many more individuals and businesses can benefit from this funding.
The supermarket allocated £1m in levy transfer funds last year and to date has transferred £663k to small and medium sized business (SMEs) and public sector bodies, to fund more than 100 apprenticeships. These range from plumbers and electricians, to Police Community Support Officers and adult care workers.
The Apprenticeship Levy allows large employers to transfer up to 25% of their levy funds each year to other businesses to fund their apprenticeships, training and development. However, due to restrictions on the type of apprenticeships and training that can be funded through the levy transfer, many SMEs are unable to take advantage of this support.
Asda, which has circa £450k available to allocate from its 2023 levy, backs calls from the British Retail Consortium and other trade bodies for an overhaul of the levy scheme to provide greater flexibility in how the funds can be used.
Hayley Tatum, Senior Vice President – Chief People and Corporate Affairs Officer, said: “At Asda we are incredibly proud of our current apprenticeship scheme and we know that apprenticeships are vital in providing young people with opportunities for growth, employment and to build new skills. However, we believe that the current Apprenticeship Levy scheme requires reform to provide greater flexibility in the schemes where the Levy funds can be distributed. Asda would welcome reform that would make it easier for businesses to spend Levy funding as intended – offering new opportunities across the country as well as upskilling the existing workforce.”
The organisations which benefited from Asda’s apprenticeship levy funding last year include Joe Brennan Training, a London-based construction training academy, who received £360k to fund 42 apprenticeships and West Yorkshire Police, who recruited 19 Emergency Call Handler and Police Community Support Officer apprentices after receiving £100k from Asda.
In addition, Asda currently has 577 colleagues on an Apprenticeship and since 2017, has invested over £11m to help over 1,000 colleagues complete an apprenticeship. The retailer now offers more than 60 apprenticeship programmes and last year, added 15 new apprenticeship programmes, including in Marketing, Buying & Merchandising, Engineering, Supply, Coaching, Tech, and Warehouse.