Two years after the launch of its Transfer to Transform initiative, the Solent Apprenticeship & Skills Hub’s is celebrating reaching £3 million of apprenticeship funding being pledged by large employers across the region. 

This has led to smaller businesses taking on more than 200 new apprentices in a wide variety of roles across a range of different industries. Transfer to Transform helps smaller businesses invest in apprenticeships by redistributing unused apprenticeship levy funds from large employers.

One such business is New Forest Activities who have enrolled six employees on apprenticeships, ranging from Business Administration to Outdoor Activity Instructor. The New Forest Activities team use apprenticeships to get their staff motivated and trained during their quieter periods, to have them trained and to add a greater value to the business during their peak times.

The Apprenticeship Levy is paid by all employers with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million, at a rate of 0.5% of their total pay bill, to fund apprenticeship training. It is estimated that over £2bn of apprenticeship levy funding in the UK remains unused from the last two years according to a CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development) study.  Hence, initiatives like Transfer to Transform are instrumental in properly utilising this funding and in parallel enabling smaller businesses to invest in their workforce.

When first launched in July 2020, Transfer to Transform sought to give local businesses a boost in funding for skills support amidst the national Covid lockdown. And now it is the most popular service from the Solent Apprenticeship & Skills Hub, with pledges coming from nearly 20 large apprenticeship levy-paying employers to this initiative. 

These include: Southampton City CouncilPortsmouth City CouncilB&QCooperVisionSouthern Co-opsExxonMobilUtilitaUniversity of Portsmouth. As a result, Transfer to Transform initiative has accrued more than £3m in pledges with over two-thirds of this amount now redistributed to smaller businesses across the region to use for apprenticeship training.  

Jodi Fair, Manager of the Solent Apprenticeships & Skills Hub, said:

“When we first launched Transfer to Transform back during the first lockdown, we were just hoping to support a handful of small, Solent-based employers that needed a boost at a difficult time. We have exceeded that initial goal and worked with dozens of employers – large and small – that now use Transfer to Transform as part of their strategy. The progress and impact we have had to date gives us confidence to continue this effort and make a real difference to the success of all employers across the region.”

Councillor Dr Darren Paffey, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Children and Learning, said:

“In just two years Transfer to Transform scheme has grown to make a fundamental difference to the lives of over 200 people, as well as the small businesses that benefit from the scheme and the communities that depend on them.”

The Transfer to Transform scheme is still welcoming pledges from levy-paying employers as well as applications for funding from small employers. You can learn more about the scheme and the experiences of organisations who have already taken part on the Solent Apprenticeship & Skills Hub website


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