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Meeting the financial adviser apprentice challenge

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If you are an employer in England with a payroll of over £3m per annum, a 0.5 per cent increase in employment costs from 1 April might bring tears to your eyes.

It is not all bad, however, as you can use this levy to fund apprenticeships for your own employees, provided you do it in a timely fashion. Employers in England not subject to the levy can also access apprenticeship funds. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own arrangements.

And if you are an employee that works in financial services and wants to move onwards and upwards, the new apprenticeship scheme has to be really good news. The challenge for you is that the funding can only be claimed by your employer. If you think your employer is unaware of the scheme, then let them know.

Most apprenticeships in financial services are available for advisers, paraplanners, compliance officers and a range of other roles, for which employers can call upon funds up to a maximum of £9,000. If you aspire to be a relationship manager in banking, however, your employer can draw down on £27,000.

All of that said, the rules are complicated and the funds can only be used for your training, not to pay you more than you already get. Training costs include:

  • An approved standard or framework
  • An approved training provider
  • An assessment organisation and end-point assessment costs
  • Full costs of the qualification specified within the apprenticeship
  • Membership of the relevant professional body

Levy paying employers will see their payments appear in a digital apprenticeship service account, which can be drawn down from May. Each monthly payment will be available for 24 months. Non-levy paying employers will not have a digital apprenticeship service account and will need to make arrangements with a training provider from the register.

Funding is provided under a co-investment scheme where the Government pays 90 per cent of the cost and the employer pays the remaining 10 per cent, up to the maximum funding available.

If you are a proactive employee, you can enhance your skills and knowledge with little or no damage to your employer’s profitability. What is not to like?

It pays to be prepared for this and in the next six weeks or so employers can get guidance from a number of sources. We have put together a helpful guide, which you can request by emailing apprenticeships@cisi.org or telephoning 020 7645 0714. You can also contact the Government Skills Funding Agency to calculate what your levy/funding might be at: https://estimate-my-apprenticeship-funding.sfa.bis.gov.uk/

If you are an employer, get going. If you are an employee who wants to get going, the least you can do is show this article to your boss. If you think training and education is expensive, then try ignorance.

Campbell Edgar is head of financial planningat the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment

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