Insights Access to the Digital Apprenticeship Service for SMEs
04 December 2019

Access to the Digital Apprenticeship Service for SMEs

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If you’re an SME looking to access high quality apprenticeships you’ll soon have much more control over apprenticeship training decisions for your business.

From January 2020 SMEs who don’t pay the apprenticeship levy will have full access to the benefits of the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s (ESFA) digital apprenticeship service.

This will be welcome news for smaller organisations struggling to source suitable apprenticeship providers with non-levy funding to deliver the training they need.

Benefits of the digital apprenticeship service

Previously available only to levy employers, full access to the digital apprenticeship service allows you to:

  • Reserve apprenticeship funding
  • Select a suitable apprenticeship standard and end point assessment organisation
  • Select a suitable provider from the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP) to deliver your training
  • Advertise an apprenticeship vacancy
  • Give real-time feedback on the quality of training provision you receive
  • Have greater control over the amount of funding paid to your training provider on your behalf

Additional funding for non-levy apprenticeships

New non-levy apprenticeship starts between January and March 2020 will be funded from an additional budget that has been made available to support the transition. This budget will allow for up to 15,000 new apprenticeship starts during the first three months of 2020.

The additional budget can only be used to fund the new, employer-designed apprenticeship standards (not frameworks).

Existing non-levy contracts

During the transition period you’ll still be able to use training providers with procured non-levy contracts. From April 2020 the ESFA will extend existing non-levy contracts for both new and continuing apprentices, so this will also remain a route for SMEs looking to access apprenticeship funding.

Next steps for SMEs

The ESFA has created a series of videos to support employers who want to access the apprenticeship service. Watch them here.

If you’re an SME looking to access apprenticeship training for your business we can talk you through the process. Contact a member of the team on or call 08455 199455.