Decision details

Apprenticeship levy maximisation – feasibility fund transfer into Workforce for the Future

Decision Maker: Chief Executive, West of England Combined Authority

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


Background / reason for decision:

This is an emergency decision taken in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The West of England Combined Authority constitution allows the Chief Executive of the Combined Authority in cases of urgency or emergency, to take any decision on behalf of the Combined Authority (after consultation with the Mayor). This decision has been taken under this provision.

£100k of Investment Fund monies was approved as a feasibility and development application with the aim to maximise the utilisation of the apprenticeship levy within the region. The feasibility and development application sought to create relationships between the larger levy paying companies in the region, whose levy wasn’t in all cases being fully utilised, and smaller, medium sized enterprises in the region who would perhaps take on an apprentice if financial aspects could be addressed.

The SME aspect described above - support to take on an apprentice, overview of the levy and finances - is covered through one of the core strands in the Workforce for the Future (WftF) programme. The missing part is the linkage into the larger levy paying companies. Through the transfer of the £100k funds to WftF both parties outlined in the feasibility and development application – SMEs and larger levy paying companies – could be engaged and greater efficiencies and impacts would be felt than through duplicated delivery outside of WftF.

This would allow much needed support for apprenticeship placements at a time where C-19 is having a significant impact on numbers.

A change request was submitted as part of the August ‘20 Investment Fund/WECA Committee reporting cycle but was proposed to delay until the project proposal was received from the delivery partner leading on the apprenticeship strand of WftF. The reasoning for this was to make sure that the proposal adhered to the aims of the feasibility application. Now the proposal has been received, and through that confirmation that the aims of the feasibility application are met, it would be beneficial to tie the two apprenticeship strands together from the outset. The earlier decision would allow a joined-up recruitment process for resource on the project, allow for better project planning and co-ordination and lead to a more efficient, aligned and complete project that can commence imminently rather than after several months.


To agree transfer of the £100k Apprenticeship Levy funds into Workforce for the Future to enable a regional apprenticeship service, led by the Western Training Providers Network, to enable both parties outlined in the feasibility and development application – SMEs and larger levy paying companies – to be engaged with greater efficiencies and impacts.

Alternative options considered:

Option 1 -
Do nothing – wait for the decision-making process through the December Committee. This will lead to delays in recruitment and the projects (SME and larger levy paying companies) commencing at differing times, leading to inefficiencies and a disjointed approach.

Option 2 -
Proposed option outlined above - Seek a decision earlier, between Committee cycles – benefits outlined in above.

Option 3 -
Do not transfer the £100k and commission the work separately to work already underway in the field of apprenticeships.

Publication date: 22/10/2020

Date of decision: 22/10/2020

Accompanying Documents: