Use the Apprenticeship Levy to fund Women in Leadership qualified development programmes

26th October 2020

In these challenging times, with pressures on L&D budgets, did you know you can use the Apprenticeship Levy to fund Women in Leadership qualified development programmes?

Apprenticeship Levy funding is often mistakenly associated with school leavers or individuals entering traditional trades. This is not the case. Increasingly Professional Services & Financial Services firms are using their levy funds to support the development of existing staff at all levels including senior management roles.

If you don’t already know about the Apprenticeship Levy, it was first introduced in 2017.  Essentially, it is an HMRC tax placed on businesses with a payroll of over £3million per annum.  Organisations that sit within this category will pay 0.5% of their total pay bill into their Levy pot every month.  These funds may only be drawn down by a registered approved apprenticeship training provider.  It is a great way to fund training and qualifications in technical skills and leadership within the Insurance and Financial Services sector that result in professional qualifications.

Our experience is that the majority of businesses are not utilising all of their funds meaning they are lost after the two-year timeframe allowed by HMRC.  The unused funds are redistributed to smaller organisations who don’t who don’t pay into the Levy and to access this, the government asks for a maximum of a small 5% contribution from these smaller employers.

There are over 500 Apprenticeship standards available for organisations to choose from, resulting in a range of qualifications associated with different professional bodies.  However, after feedback from our clients it became apparent that these didn’t specifically cater for Women In Leadership.

Women in Leadership Programmes funded by the levy

With this is mind, we created a funded programme designed exclusively for women by women, to tackle the gender imbalance in the workplace and support women’s careers.

Insurance and Financial Services is historically a male-dominated profession and by introducing a female only talent program, it allows us to present a great opportunity to readdress the imbalance proactively.  We work with the Chartered Management Institute and is a registered approved Training Provider for Apprenticeships. The combination of these coupled with our expertise in topics such as; Assertiveness and Influencing, Imposter Syndrome, Authentic Leadership and Confidence Building, has enabled us to create a unique, funded and accredited programme.  The programme is delivered by female only coaches and tutors; and creates a safe environment in which to discuss the challenges faced by women when forging careers in the modern world.

For some time, the UK government has set targets for FTSE 100 companies to achieve 33% representation of females in senior roles – although this has now been achieved, there is more work to do!  Increasingly, regulators and decision makers will be looking for evidence – not just of a diversity and inclusion strategy and policy – but of the demonstrable actions taken by organisations throughout their structures.  Many organisations have seen the benefit of creating high performance talent programmes for women to progress from senior management roles to board level, however, there is a need to work on the talent pipeline from entry level upwards.

2 alternative programmes:

We offer a Women in Leadership programme for aspiring and first-time female leaders which includes completion of the CMI Level 3 certificate.  This programme takes 15- 18 months to complete and involves virtual conferences, virtual classrooms, video coaching, digital resources and two assignments.  Learners should look to assign between 0.5-1 day per week for off- the-job learning time.

For middle to senior managers who may have already completed previous managerial study, we have created higher level programme which includes the CMI Level 5 diploma and is delivered over 24-30 months.   This robust programme results in Chartered Manager status providing a significant confidence and skills boost to women working in leadership today.

To find out more about either level of this funded Women in Leadership programme contact Carolyn Blunt at

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