ESFA Business Update – Issue 32 (April 2018)


The below update is taken from the ESFA Business Update, you can read this on the site.

This update covers a number of apprenticeship announcements, an update on the minimum wage for apprentices and your opportunity to take part in a ‘soft skills’ project. Keep reading to find out more.

Financial year-end: actions on the apprenticeship service

To prepare for the financial year-end, please ensure that any apprentice records held on the apprenticeship service are up to date, approved and match the data that training providers submit to ESFA.

Training providers should ensure that apprentices added to the apprenticeship service account match the details in their ILR submission. This will assist ESFA in making timely payments.

Training providers can access an Apprenticeship Indicative Earnings Report that will show a headline view of the cash value of their apprentices and highlight any errors they need to put right before year-end.

If an employer or training provider has any issues regarding data lock errors please contact the helpdesk on 08000 150 600 or at

For guidance, please refer to the apprenticeship technical funding guide and ILR guides and templates for 2016 to 2017.

Transferring apprenticeship service funds to another employer

From April employers who pay the apprenticeship levy will be able to transfer apprenticeship service funds to other organisations to pay for their apprenticeship training and assessment.

Transfers will give employers more flexibility and help larger employers to support smaller employers in taking on more apprenticeships.

For the first phase, employers can transfer up to 10% of their annual funds to one other employer. The number of employers they can make a transfer to will increase over time and after user feedback from the first phase.

Key dates:

  • Levy-paying employers who use the apprenticeship service will be able to see their transfer allowance at the end of April (the 10%).
  • They will be able to make a transfer to one other organisation from May.
  • The receiving organisation will be able to start adding apprentice commitments from May.
  • For these new commitments, training providers can then be paid from June.

Keeping up to date with the apprenticeship service

Is your organisation using the apprenticeship levy to its full potential? Follow us on Twitter and read our blog posts to learn more about how to use the apprenticeship service as a levy-paying employer.

Significant recent improvements include employers being able to edit the stop date of an apprentice, and being able to download transactions from the finance section of their apprenticeship service account, making it easier to manage their funding. We have built these new functions in response to feedback from employers using the service.

If you have any queries about the apprenticeship service, please call the National Contact Centre helpline on 08000 150 600 or email:

Apprenticeship funding rules 2017 to 2018

We will shortly publish new versions of the apprenticeship funding rules to include new rules about delivering apprenticeships funded by transfers of levy funds.

We have also taken the opportunity to clarify a few other areas, based on enquiries we have had, at the same time. Updates include:

  • amendments arising from the Apprenticeships (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2017
  • alignment with the EPAO conditions of acceptance
  • incorporation of the English and math’s addendum (published 29 September 2017) into the main body of the funding rules
  • further clarifications to existing rules to address frequently asked questions

These versions of the funding rules apply to apprenticeship starts from 1 May 2017 to 31 July 2018, with the exception of the new rules on transfers, which will apply to new apprenticeship starts from 1 May 2018 to 31 July 2018.

For further information please visit the funding rules page on GOV.UK where a summary of changes will be published for ease of reference.

You can also email the service desk.

Value of ‘soft skills’ in recruitment

The Department for Education has launched an exciting project looking into how young people can better articulate the ‘soft’ skills they’ve gained through extra-curricular activities. These activities can be formal, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, or informal, such as caring for a relative.

As an employer of young people, your opinion on this area would provide valuable insight for our project. Take our short survey to get involved.

National Apprenticeship Week 2018

National Apprenticeship Week 2018 was the biggest and best yet, with employers, training providers, apprentices and partners all getting behind the Week to deliver brilliant results for the sector and spelling out why ‘Apprenticeships Work’.

Thank you to all employers who got behind the Week. With your support there were 780 events delivered during National Apprenticeship Week 2018 and #NAW2018 was trending on Twitter in the UK on launch day, with the potential reach of all @Apprenticeships activity at almost 18 million during the Week. There were almost 1800 features and articles during NAW, coverage in the media included the Metro, the Daily Mail, the i, and the Daily Mirror and interviews on Talk Radio, plus online articles on the BBC, Evening Standard, The Guardian and Cosmopolitan. Our GOV.UK NAW page saw 43,149 unique visitors, which has also resulted in an uplift in all our apprenticeship content on GOV.UK.

Hire an Apprentice campaign films

A suite of new employer films have been created as part of the ‘Hire an Apprentice’ campaign – designed to highlight the range of benefits apprenticeships deliver across any industry.

The films feature employers including JCB and Fairfields and can be viewed on You Tube.

Apprentice Minimum Wage increase from April 2018

The national minimum wage for apprentices increases this month, from £3.50 to £3.70 an hour. This is a 5.7% increase, above UK inflation and applies to apprentices under 19 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. Apprentices must be paid at least the national minimum wage rate if they’re an apprentice aged 19 or over and have completed their first year.

For more information, please email or call 01536 513388.

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