A group of University of Birmingham apprentices
University of Birmingham apprentices.

The University of Birmingham is contributing £230,000 to support the development of skills across the West Midlands.

The University is the first higher education institution to join the scheme run by the West Midlands Combined Authority, The Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund, which has already been supported by the BBC, HSBC, Lloyds and other major Birmingham-based businesses.

The monies, which form part of the University’s unspent apprenticeship levy, will be used to support scores of apprenticeships in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the region.

Baljinder Bansal, HR Business Partner at the University, said: “The University of Birmingham has a proud tradition of civic responsibility, so we are thrilled to be part of this scheme, which will give so many people across our region a chance to train in a new profession and develop their skills. We are delighted to be working with West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and the WMCA on this fantastic scheme. We are looking forward to seeing the positive impact that the investment will make to a diverse range of people and SMEs.”

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and former CEO of John Lewis, said: “I am delighted that the University of Birmingham has become the first educational organisation to sign up to our unique apprenticeship levy transfer fund. Their contribution will help change people’s lives in the West Midlands by creating new apprenticeship job opportunities and supporting small businesses to expand and upskill their workforce.

“We were given unique powers by Government to keep levy funding within the West Midlands and use that money to boost apprenticeships – but we rely on institutions like the University understanding our ambitions and working with us for the benefit of the region. With the likes of HSBC, Lloyds, National Express, Wesleyan and now the University of Birmingham signed up to our fund, we hope to see many other large, important employers and organisations divert their contributions through us for the good of businesses, staff and young people across the region.”

The apprenticeship levy is charged by HM Revenue and Customers on all businesses with a payroll over £3 million. The levy money is held centrally by Government, and businesses across the country can apply for a slice of that funding to pay up to 90% of the costs of training their apprentices. After a two year period, unspent levy contributions are retained by the Government.

Under the WMCA’s deal, regional organisations can transfer their unspent levy to the combined authority’s fund – keeping the money within the region, and avoiding the risk of it being retained nationally. Contributions to the levy transfer fund are then used by WMCA to cover 100% of apprenticeship training costs for small to medium businesses in the West Midlands.

The University’s levy contribution to the WMCA is in addition to an existing contribution to Washwood Heath Multi-Academy Trust.

The University of Birmingham itself employs 60 apprentices, in a wide range of roles, including horticulture, catering, administration, marketing, maintenance and childcare. In addition, having launched its first Degree Apprenticeships in 2018, it now delivers 10 Degree Apprenticeship programmes to over 300 apprentices, covering a broad range of skills, e.g. urban and regional planning, digital skills, rail engineering and senior leadership. There are partnerships in place with over 70 organisations across the private, public and third sectors, in business, local government, education and the NHS.

For further information, please contact Head of Communications and Engagement (Infrastructure) Sally Brooks on +44 (0)121 414 3984.