1.Who will be funding these apprenticeships?
The amount of government funding varies depending on whether the employer is a levy payer or non-levy payer. You can find more information on our Funding and Levy page.
If a primary care employer is unable to secure a levy transfer for example, the government will fund 95% of the tuition costs, leaving the employer to contribute the remaining 5%.
2.How can employers access apprenticeship funding?
All employers with a pay bill of over £3 million each year pay the apprenticeship levy which can only be spent on apprenticeship training. Apprenticeship leads, who normally work within their organisations training or HR department, will be able to help employers access the apprenticeship levy. Primary Care employers can access support from their local training hub.
3.If an employing organisation does not pay the apprenticeship levy, how can they access funding?
Organisations can still access government funding for apprenticeships by either:
- Reserve government co-investment: Organisations can reserve funding, where the government pays 95% of the training costs and the employer pays the remaining 5%.
- Levy transfers: Levy paying employers can transfer some of their annual levy to other employers. These transfers cover 100% of the training costs of the apprenticeship.
4.Is the apprenticeship levy different between primary and secondary care?
Primary care employers are not generally large enough to have a levy pot. They can either pay a 5% contribution to the costs, where the government pays the other 95%, or they can receive a levy transfer from a larger organisation (although this can’t be guaranteed). Health Education England (HEE) can facilitate this process. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
5.Can employers use apprenticeship levy funding to pay for their apprentice’s salary?
No. The apprenticeship levy, reservations of funds and levy transfers do not cover salary costs.
6.Is the levy funding guaranteed once employers employ an apprentice?
Levy paying organisations can use their available levy funds to pay for apprenticeships.
If you work for a non-levy paying organisation, you will need to either arrange for a levy transfer or government co-investment for each apprentice you intend to support. This must be in place before the apprenticeship begins. There are apprenticeship relationship managers in each region whose contact details can be accessed here. They can support non-levy paying organisations to apply for levy transfers or set up co-investment.
7.What can the apprenticeship levy be used for and who is it paid to?
Only the cost of the apprenticeship training and assessment up to the maximum allocated funding band. Apprentice salary or any other costs such as travel and accommodation, expenses or other training are not included in the apprenticeship levy and cannot be paid for using this funding. Where placements are required by the apprenticeship standard, these are not covered by the levy cost. Employers are responsible for making sure their apprentices gain the right on-the-job experience. This will require strong partnerships between employers at a local level, supported by the university.
Levy payments are made only to the university or apprenticeship training provider in equal monthly instalments over the duration of the apprenticeship, via a digital account.
8.How is the funding band of an apprenticeship decided and assigned?
Each apprenticeship is allocated one of 30 funding bands. The Physician Associate apprenticeship funding band will be different to the cost of the direct entry route.
Apprenticeship training providers will need to deliver everything required by the apprenticeship standard and end point assessment within the maximum funding available, including any mandatory qualifications. Universities can charge for any additional costs not covered by the apprenticeship standard, and these would need to be negotiated with the employer.
9.How much levy funding can employers access?
The amount of levy funding that can be used to pay for the apprenticeship standard and end point assessment is the maximum funding band amount of £17,000. If an employer negotiates a price with an apprenticeship provider that is more than the funding band, the employer must pay anything over £17,000. It may be possible for an employer to negotiate a price less than the funding band maximum, particularly where at-scale cohorts are being assembled by consortiums of employers. The apprentice can make no financial contribution to the cost of the apprenticeship training or end point assessment.
10.If someone is on an apprenticeship, can they access other student loans?
No. Apprentices are not eligible for student loans as they are employed, and the apprenticeship levy only covers the training and assessment costs of the programme.
11.Is there likely to be any Health Education England (HEE) funding support for employers who employ physician associate apprentices?
A HEE proposal has been made to provide a significant apprenticeship employment grant to trusts/PCNs employing PA Apprentices, in support of the development of educational infrastructure. HEE will update on this by April 2023.
12.Could an apprenticeship be funded as part of the Primary Care Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS)?
From April 2023 the Physician Associate apprentice role will be introduced into the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme, the ARRS.
Therefore a PCN can claim reimbursement for salary costs (plus some on-costs) up to a maximum reimbursable amount equivalent to Band 5 on the Agenda for Change payscale. Staff will need to be enrolled on an approved apprenticeship programme in line with the Network Contract DES. As set out in Investment and Evolution: Update to the GP contract agreement 2020/21 – 2023/24, staff employed through ARRS will be considered as part of the core general practice cost base beyond 2023/24.
13.Will Health Education England (HEE) cover placement costs for those on an apprenticeship route?
Currently apprenticeship placements do not attract placement tariff. Placements for apprentices should not be paid for by the university or employer. The recommendation is for local employers to work together, supported by the university, to offer reciprocal placement arrangements that help support all apprentices. This has been included in the tender specification for HEI (Higher Education Institutions) programmes and is being factored into their programme development.
14.Will there be funding from Health Education England (HEE) tariff for supervision requirements, as there is for medics?
Apprenticeships do not attract placement or supervision tariffs.
15.How will an apprentice in secondary care, complete the primary care part of physician associate training?
Apprentices will have to complete placements in other sectors and specialties to meet curriculum requirements. This will require strong partnerships between employers at a local level, supported by the university. Apprenticeships are not covered by placement tariff, so Health Education England will not be able to fund placements.