Levy Transfer funding programme expands after great start

“We are proud to be the first company to receive Levy Transfer funding from Warwickshire County Council and would strongly recommend that others in the sector explore whether the transfer funding could work for them.”

“What a difference a year makes,” says Fay Winterburn, Business Skills Lead for Warwickshire County Council. “When news emerged that we could share Apprenticeship Levy funds outside our own organisation, we established early on that this was a great opportunity to help businesses who would benefit from such skills support.

“Unique Senior Care, the first of those businesses, has been a fantastic organisation to work with and is a great example of how embracing funding support, and various other strands of the county council’s support, can be effective in business growth. The Levy Transfer had led to the creation of two new roles and enabled the enhancement of other staff training as part of the company’s growth journey”

Unique Senior Care

Unique Senior Care, which delivers high-quality care to vulnerable people living at home, received the £50,000 transfer last spring and has deployed it towards two priorities; upskilling existing staff, with a view to retaining them long-term, and attracting new employees.

Based at Hatton Rock, near Stratford-upon-Avon, Unique Senior Care employs more than 200 staff caring for 350 clients across Warwickshire and Coventry.

Its annual recruitment churn is significantly below the national average in the care industry of 40 per cent, highlighted as a major concern by a recent national Care Quality Commission report. But recruitment remains an issue for all in the sector so the company is doing all it can to further reduce that churn.

The funding, which was the first transfer from the county council’s Apprenticeship Levy, has been immensely helpful, according to Unique Senior Care director Philip Maundrill. With further transfer funding soon to become available to Warwickshire businesses in the health sector, he “strongly recommends” that they consider applying.

“The funding has significantly helped us to expand and improve training towards our objective of providing the best possible care for our clients in their own homes,” said Mr Maundrill. “The Levy Transfer is all about enabling constant advances in training and skills and that chimes exactly with the ethos of our company which, from the top down, is: Have we been better today than we were yesterday? And can we be better again tomorrow?

“The Transfer enabled us to double the number of registered managers who manage the staff who deliver the care to client. Two are now studying for their NVQ Level 5 in Management and Leadership in Health and Social Care. This means they will not only become better-qualified but also more fulfilled so hopefully will remain with us long-term.

“We are proud to be the first company to receive Levy Transfer funding from Warwickshire County Council and would strongly recommend that others in the sector explore whether the transfer funding could work for them.”

Like all large employers in England, Warwickshire County Council pays 0.5% of its annual employee pay bill into the government’s Apprenticeship Levy. These funds are designated principally to support apprenticeship training within selected businesses, but up to 10% can be diverted to other employers to help fund their apprenticeship training costs.

Warwickshire County Council sees the levy-sharing facility as an ideal opportunity to support local businesses. Since the initial transfer of funds to Unique Senior Care, the council has launched an already award-winning programme The Apprenticeship Levy Small Business Support Programme, led by Dan Nash (county council Apprenticeship Levy manager) and Fay Winterburn.

“After the initial successful pilot of supporting Unique Senior Care with transferred apprenticeship levy funds, we are really keen to expand our offer to other Warwickshire businesses who could make use of the funds,” said Dan Nash. “The County Council has long been a champion of apprenticeships and we recorded 136 apprenticeship starts between April 2018 and March 2019 – more than any previous year. But we would also love to enable fellow employers in Warwickshire to benefit from the new skills apprentices bring to their employers, so I am delighted that we can offer financial support for that now through the Apprenticeship Levy Small Business Support Programme.

“Applications from businesses who would like to invest in an apprentice are very welcome.”

* If you are interested in applying for Levy Transfer funding please call Faywinterburn@warwickshire.gov.uk or call 01926 412216.