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UK Government apprenticeship levy

Scotland’s share of funding from the UK Government’s apprenticeship levy will support  a range of measures including increasing the delivery of 30,000 Modern Apprenticeships starts each year by 2020 and the establishment of a new Flexible Workforce Development Fund to help employers up-skill and re-skill their workforce.

The apprenticeship levy is a new way of the UK Government raising funds directly from larger employers, a policy announced in 2015.

While the apprenticeship levy will be a new tax on employers, its proceeds will largely be replacing existing apprenticeship funding in England, of which Scotland will receive a proportionate share in the Block Grant settlement.

In direct response to the views of employers in Scotland and reflecting on the apprenticeship levy consultation responses we received, all of the funds raised through the apprenticeship levy will be invested in skills, training and workforce development to meet the needs of employers, the workforce, young people  and Scotland’s economy. 

This was set out in the Scottish Government’s response to the introduction of the UK Government Apprenticeship Levy, published on 16 December.

Scottish approach to Apprenticeships

The Scottish Government is proud of our Modern Apprenticeship Programme, which would not be the success it is without the commitment of employers across Scotland. The Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board plays a key role in representing the voice of employers in shaping and influencing the future direction of Apprenticeship provision in Scotland.

There will be 27,000 Modern Apprenticeship places available in 2017/18 with additional flexibility for employers, wider access for persons with disabilities and those with experience of care and better supported infrastructure for rural communities.  We are also increasing the availability of Foundation Apprenticeships, which combine the benefits of school, college and work-based education for senior phase pupils and Graduate Level Apprenticeships which support the in-work development of graduates alongside study. 

The seven things you need to know about Scottish Apprenticeships

The ‘seven things’ published on 4 August 2017 outlines how we can help employers of all sizes develop their workforce for the future and dispels some of the myths around apprenticeships and the Levy, in particular:

  1. The Apprenticeship system in Scotland isn’t the same as other parts of the UK.

  2. Scotland’s Apprenticeships system is flexible.

  3. Employers influence the design and priorities of the skills, training and employability system in Scotland.

  4. All employers in Scotland can access Apprenticeships.

  5. In Scotland, Levy paying employers can access training and skills programmes.

  6. The Scottish Government does not have the powers to introduce an exemption to the UK Apprenticeship Levy for Scotland-based employers.

  7. The UK Apprenticeship Levy does not provide a new stream of funding to the Scottish Government.

Download The Seven things you need to know about Scottish Apprenticeships here.

Pilot Flexible Workforce Development Fund

The Minister for Employability and Training launched the £10m pilot Flexible Workforce Development fund on 7th September 2017. The fund opened to employers on September 11th, for an initial application window until 15th December.

The fund is part of a package of measures supported by the Scottish Government in response to introduction of the UK Government Apprenticeship Levy. Scotland based employers eligible to pay the UK Apprenticeship Levy can access up to a maximum of £10,000 of college provision through the pilot fund to address skills gaps and contribute to increased productivity.

The fund will be delivered through Scotland’s college sector bringing it together with industry to further support upskilling and reskilling of the existing workforce. The Scottish Funding Council will administer the funds to colleges on behalf of the Scottish Government. Guidance for colleges and employers is available on the Scottish Funding Council website.


For employers who may be liable to pay the Apprenticeship Levy, HMRC published  guidance, 'When you have to pay Apprenticeship Levy and how to report your payments'.

Employers in Scotland do not have to wait for the UK Government Apprenticeship Levy to be collected by HMRC before engaging with the Scottish Modern Apprenticeship Programme.

For further information

Advice for employers who want more information about Scottish Apprenticeship Programmes, or are looking to offer apprenticeship opportunities, is available on the Skills Development Scotland apprenticeship website.

Information on other workforce development services available for employers can be found on the Our Skills Force website or call Skills Development Scotland on 0800 783 6000.