Apprenticeship Levy

All you need to know about Levy gifting and receiving – insights from Zurich and Carers Support Wiltshire

Between May 2020 and February 2021, it has been reported that over £2bn of apprenticeship levy funding, paid by organisations has been left untouched. Many large organisations are finding themselves to have surplus Levy funds which they are unable to utilise. What’s the solution to unused funds? Gifting unspent levy to your charity partners.

Following a Freedom of Information request led by the Department for Education in 2019, it was found that despite the Apprenticeship Levy raising £2.8bn, only £864m was spent.

Investing in your employees through the Apprenticeship Levy helps to solve skills shortages and increases productivity and staff retention. However, surplus amounts of the levy are being neglected. This is striking, especially in an environment where shrinking budgets means that charities and SMEs often lack the funding to invest in their employees’ professional development. In April 2019, the Government found a solution by allowing companies to gift up to 25% of their annual Levy to other organisations, including charities. By working with charity partners, corporates can make a vast impact to the learning and development strategies of charities through gifting their unspent levy.

Donating unspent levy 

There are two options for levy gifting:

Option One: Organisations who want to gift their levy can pledge funds through the Government’s online service. Companies can choose an amount they are happy to gift in a given financial year. Charities and SME’s then apply via the online service to receive a Levy gift. If they fit the criteria given by the company pledging their Levy, they can receive the funds towards Apprenticeship standard training programmes.

Option Two: Alternatively, employers can gift their levy directly to their charity partner(s) through the Digital Apprenticeship Service. This option allows the employer to directly work with the charities or SMEs they wish to support, rather than through open applications via the online service.

How Corndel can be a partner of choice – Zurich and Carers Support Wiltshire  

At Corndel, we strategically work with our employers to help them donate unspent Levy to charity partners. For example, when Zurich were interested in gifting some of their surplus Levy, we supported them to gift 20 places on the Corndel Diploma in Fundraising to support their smaller charity partners, including Carers Support Wiltshire. Zurich has worked with Corndel since 2021, delivering our leadership and data apprenticeships for their employees. Jude Pilcher, UK Apprenticeship’s Manager at Zurich explains:

“We heard about the great opportunity Corndel were offering through their new Fundraising programme, and we knew the programme would support our charity partners. We wanted to donate a portion of our Levy to our charity partners so they could take advantage of this great new programme, helping to upskill their leaders and fundraising professionals through the Apprenticeship Levy”.

Zurich Community Trust’s National Partnerships and Development Manager Sarah Covington explains how Zurich take a holistic approach when working with their charity partners, to develop what they see as true partnerships:

“In addition to grant funding, we offer a package of ‘non-financial offerings’ to support capacity building and sustainability. Offering the Level 3 Fundraising apprenticeship to our partners, as part of this package was an opportunity that couldn’t be missed.”
“Through working with a Corndel Professional Development Expert, our fundraisers have found ways to succeed and solutions when they’ve needed it. Working with Zurich to gift their levy, has meant that we’ve got tremendous value for money out of this course, and I am very thankful to Zurich Community Trust and Corndel."
Jude Walker, Chief Executive, Carer Support Wiltshire
“Working through the different areas of fundraising has boosted my confidence. Community fundraising, for example, is not my background, but having worked methodically through things, I feel much more confident. I’ve particularly enjoyed the catch-ups with my Professional Development Expert as there have been several times that I’ve had a challenge and we’ve talked it through.”
Jon Berridge, Head of Business Development, Carer Support Wiltshire 

The social impact of levy gifting

By working with charity partners, organisations can gift their unspent levy to charities across the country.

The pandemic has had catastrophic effects on the charity sector and without the help of donors, charities will continue struggle. However, by organisations choosing to gift their Levy, charities are able to upskill and develop teams, and enable them to  act more efficiently in their roles, and in turn, help the charity prosper.

If you are a Corndel client or looking to strategically work with charity partners through levy gifting, please email our Partnerships Director, Ali Terrington,