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November 16th, 2018

If your payroll costs are more than £3 million a year, then you’re paying 0.5% levy on that bill minus a £15,000 allowance, to HMRC.   A 10% ‘top-up’ is then added by HMRC to create a fund that can be used to deliver high quality, accredited training.

What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

The Apprenticeship Levy came into effect in April 2017. The levy aims to encourage employers to invest not just in apprenticeship programmes but to also develop wider business improvement skills in all their employees.

Are you accessing your contributions?

Lean Six Sigma Training

The Apprenticeship Levy paid by you can be accessed to fund training in your business. The levy, which covers 20,000 businesses including yours, aims to raise more than £2bn a year.

However, data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Open University found that in the first year, of the £1.39bn paid into the levy by English businesses, just £108m has been accessed.

This means lots of businesses are missing out on training they have, effectively, already funded.  Are you?

So, what can you spend your Levy on?

It’s not just for apprentices!  Did you know that your Levy funds can be spent on training for existing staff or new recruits if the training meets an approved standard or framework and the individual meets the eligibility criteria?

What types of programmes can be funded by the Levy?

Funds can only be used towards the costs of approved and accredited training. There a large number of vocational training programmes available, all leading to recognised vocational qualifications.  This includes training in performance improvement approaches such as Lean and Six Sigma.

Do I have to use an external training provider, or can we deliver the apprenticeship programme ourselves?

Training must be to an approved apprenticeship standard.  But, you can buy-in from an accredited provider or deliver the training yourselves.  If you want to “DIY”, your organisation needs to register as an approved provider and will be subject to Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) quality arrangements and Ofsted inspection.

How can we help?

The good news is that Bourton Group can deliver accredited, levy funded training in Lean and Six Sigma.


We’ve set-up a consortium of training and support providers who will:

  1. Design & configure training programmes.
  2. Deliver training and coaching.
  3. Administer and manage programmes.
  4. Provide an accreditation route and end point assessment.

All members of our consortium are approved to provide Apprenticeship Levy funded training.

Lean Sigma Approved Programme

The following Lean Sigma Training Programmes have already been approved for Apprenticeship Levy funding:

  1. Improvement Technician (Yellow Belt) Level 3 – details on request
  2. Improvement Practitioner (Green Belt) Level 4 – details on request

Lean Sigma Training Programmes with approval anticipated later this year.

  1. Improvement Specialist/Expert (Black Belt) Level 5 – details on request
  2. Improvement Leader (Master Black Belt) Level 6 – details on request

So, what do you stand to gain?

Your investment in training and development will give you a workforce that feels more confident, capable and empowered to:

  • Managing Projects and Change to deliver positive outcomes
  • Engaging with others, dealing with issues swiftly and competently

A team that is equipped to apply best-in-class tools within a structured methodology can:

  • Identify and prioritise improvement opportunities
  • Carry out improvement activities and projects
  • Share their knowledge and replicate best-practice for continuous improvement

Why choose us?

Our Consortium provides a ‘one-stop shop’ for all Lean Sigma Apprenticeship Levy funded training.

Training Content Trailblazers

Training standards and content have been developed in conjunction with several ‘trail blazer’ organisations with acknowledged expertise in business improvement, Lean and Six Sigma.

The following are just a few examples of organisations who have been involved in setting the Apprenticeship Standards under the category of Improvement:

BT Group Plc, Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd, Jaguar Land Rover Ltd, British Standards Institution.

If you’d like to know more about accessing your fund or the training we can provide for you then call us on 01926 633333.  Alternatively, you can email us at

Download full details here.

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