Insights 5 facts you need to know about public sector apprenticeship targets
23 June 2017

5 facts you need to know about public sector apprenticeship targets

Public Sector

Apprenticeship reforms are impacting many UK businesses and the public sector is no exception. By 2020 the public sector will be responsible for recruiting more than 200,000 Apprentices by 2020. Here are five things to be aware of:


  1. Every public sector body with 250+ staff has to meet an apprenticeship target

    Since March 2017, public sector bodies in England with more than 250 staff have to employ at least 2.3% of their workforce as apprentices. The calculations are based on headcount, not full-time equivalent.

  2. Apprenticeship targets don’t just apply to local authorities

    If your organisation is funded wholly or partly by public funds and has functions of a public nature, there’s a high chance you also have to meet the apprenticeship targets. The government has published a list of those organisations that are ‘in scope’.

  3. You’ll have to report on your progress

    Organisations expected to meet the targets must ‘have regard’ for the legislation. This means that when making workforce planning decisions you need to actively consider apprenticeships, either for new recruits or as part of career development for existing staff.

    Public bodies will have to complete an Apprenticeship Activity Return to explain how they have ‘had regard’ for the target. In this return, you have to discuss your performance against target and justify any shortfalls.

  4. You don’t have to recruit apprentices to meet the targets

    You can meet your apprenticeship targets in two ways; either hire apprentices into your workforce or develop your existing employees through apprenticeship learning. Forget connotations of apprenticeships as low-level qualifications only done in entry level roles.

    These days, apprenticeships are completed by a wide range of staff, with several years’ experience. For example, leadership and management training could count towards your apprenticeship targets – but only from an approved apprenticeship training provider.

  5. You can use your Apprenticeship Levy to help meet your target

    If your organisation’s payroll is more than £3m – and that’s most public sector bodies – you’ll have to pay the Apprenticeship Levy. This is 0.5% of your pay bill. But the good news is you can spend your levy money on apprenticeship training. Even better, the government will top up your payment with an extra 10% - so for every £1 you put in, you can spend £1.10 on apprenticeship training. 


For more information about the public sector apprenticeship targets under the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act, and help with apprenticeship recruitment and training, contact us today