SME Apprenticeship Funding

Did you know there is significant apprenticeship funding available for SMEs to invest into training and development?

Organisations of all sizes including SMEs can get support from the government to pay for training using apprenticeship funding. Funds are accumulated from the apprenticeship levy pot, which is paid into by large employers.

There are a vast array of courses available that this funding can be used for. Programmes range from the Improvement Standards (Lean Six Sigma/Continuous Improvement) to Leadership & Management Standards to more vocational programmes such as the Food Technologist Level 3 apprenticeship standard.

How much apprenticeship funding is there available?

The amount of apprenticeship funding available depends on whether an organisation pays into the apprenticeship levy. Organisations will likely pay into the apprenticeship levy if they have a pay bill over £3 million each year. You can find some guidance information on the government’s website. For those organisations who do, they will be able to drawdown funds they have available. See our useful apprenticeship Levy Calculator.

For non-levy paying organisations, typically SMEs, they can still benefit from apprenticeship funding. They can contribute just 5% towards the overall cost of training and end point assessment. The government will contribute the remainder (which may be match funded by the European Social Fund) up to the funding band maximum.

The funding band varies between apprenticeship standards. Regardless of funding band, apprenticeship training would be 95% funded for non-levy payers, which represents a brilliant opportunity to access quality training and development. Non-levy payers can also reserve funding for up to 10 apprentices each financial year and with some levy transfer pledges resulting in 100% funding it’s worth finding out more.

Celebrating Apprenticeships

What Are Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are designed to develop key knowledge, skills and behaviours in relation to the appropriate apprenticeship standard being studied. Apprenticeships provide a very valid and nationally recognised qualification. Apprenticeship benefits go far beyond just a qualification though, there are huge benefits for the learner and organisation alike.

Apprenticeship standards also span entry level to senior management roles. The highest standards are the equivalent of a post graduate University (Master’s) degree. Apprenticeships are useful to develop employees at all levels regardless of ability and experience. Therefore, this represents a fantastic opportunity make use of apprenticeship funding to invest in the programmes.

Why consider apprenticeship funding as an investment vehicle to develop your workforce

Value for Money

Taking the example of our Food Technologist Level 3 Apprenticeship programme, this has a funding band maximum of £18,000 per person and the course duration is approximately 24 months.

For a non-levy paying organisation, this would require just £900 (5% contribution) per person. This investment spans development of employees on programme for two years. The programme will equip learners with the key skills, knowledge and behaviours that will greatly benefit the business, subsequently generating a significant return on investment. We’d say that’s value for money, wouldn’t you?

Ease of Access

Access to apprenticeship funding from the government couldn’t be simpler. Organisations will need to create an account (if they haven’t already) on the Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS). As a result, this will enable reserving of apprenticeship funding ahead of any apprenticeship start date.

Once funds are locked in place, they are then ready and available to use when the programme begins. We have supported so many businesses register and reserve funding, for both apprenticeship levy and non-levy paying organisations. So, we are well versed and ready to help right from the get-go.

“I would like to thank CQM for the outstanding and exceptional help you have showed to help us accessing the apprenticeship funding but also guiding us through the apprenticeship programme enrolment. We really appreciate your dedication and commitment.”

Natacha Moreau

Human Resources Manager, Food Team International Ltd

Onboarding Support

We not only support organisations with their registration and reserving of apprenticeship funding via DAS, but we take care of the whole onboarding process. From start to finish we make it easy and pain free for the organisation and their learners.

For a brief breakdown of how we support during the onboarding process.


  • Understanding requirements, to ensure we supply the right solution that will meet expectations of all stakeholders and beyond.
  • Host an engagement session for apprentices. Invited are also their line managers, mentors and HR representatives so everyone has a clear understanding of the ins and outs of the programme. This also creates a fantastic opportunity to meet the expert development coach who will be delivering the programme, bringing the course to life.
  • Initial assessments for Maths & English, with functional skills built into the programmes to support those who need it.
  • Host an individual skills scan. This allows us to get to know the apprentice and their capability, identifying any additional areas of support and ultimately if they’re going to benefit from the course.
  • Simple, slick, step by step wizards have been set up to collect the right information and documents required, with full guidance provided. We will then do the rest, keeping everyone informed and up to date.

What’s the catch?

We wouldn’t be transparent if we said the only investment for an SME is just a 5% contribution. Of course, there will need to be an element of time investment too. This involves releasing the learner for training and fulfilling off the job hours, as well as supporting them throughout their programme.

However, to support this we always provide a detailed scheme of work for the full programme upfront. This document contains dates of workshops allowing for full visibility to plan. We also provide support and training for mentors where required, to maximise the learner’s support network. This allows the learner to get the most from their programme.

Discover our apprenticeship programmes or contact us below if you would like to learn more about how you could benefit from apprenticeship funding.

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