Support for small businesses to employ apprentices

Earlier this week, the Prime Minister announced some changes to funding arrangements for apprenticeships which are designed to help small businesses benefit from having an apprentice. You can read the full details of the announcement here.

In summary, the key developments announced are:

  • From 1st April 2024, small businesses which do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy can have the full cost of apprenticeship training funded for anyone up to the age of 21. This replaces the previous ‘co-investment’ scheme which required non-Levy paying employers to partly fund the training.
  • From 1st April 2024, the amount that Apprenticeship Levy paying organisations can transfer to support other organisations will increase from 25% to 50%. The aim of this is to allow larger employers with unused Levy funds to enable smaller business to benefit from having an apprentice. Smaller organisations can find funding from larger businesses here.

The government has stated that the announcement is underpinned by £60million of new government funding, that it expects these measures to enable 20,000 more apprenticeships and that where there is demand for apprenticeships from businesses, it will ensure that there is funding to deliver them.

More details on the announcement are likely to be made available to organisations in the coming weeks, however commenting on the announcement, Clare Dunn, Associate Director of Business Engagement at CIMSPA said,

Although we’re not a ‘traditional’ apprenticeship sector, lots of businesses operating across sport and physical activity benefit hugely from apprenticeships either when taking on new staff or when upskilling and developing their existing team.

However, we know that the 91% of businesses in our sector that have fewer than 49 employees often struggle to engage with apprenticeships and a key reason for that is the lack of access to funding.

We hope that the announcement that small businesses can have apprenticeship training fully funded for employees up to the age of 21 will help more young people to start a career in our sector and gain fantastic experiences which are often unique to working in a smaller sized business, but which will stand them in great stead for the rest of their career.

We also welcome the fact that larger employers not using the entirety of their Levy can transfer more of that unspent pot for smaller organisations to use. It will help organisations across the sector to increase the skills and confidence across the workforce, leading to enhanced experiences and participation.

We’ll be supporting our Employer Partners to help them make the most of these new announcements.”

Find out more about partnership opportunities with CIMSPA

CIMSPA Partnership opportunities

Find out more about Apprenticeship standards for the sport and physical activity sector

Apprenticeship standards


The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity

CIMSPA’s work enhances the career opportunities and professional development of the workforce operating in sport, fitness, exercise, leisure, gyms, coaching, outdoor exercise, health and wellbeing. We achieve this through sector-wide engagement, membership, networking, events, directories and professional standards.