Apprenticeships & Technical Education

The Apprenticeship Levy was implemented across the UK in April 2017. We are working closely with government officials and other key stakeholders to maximise its value for sector employers.

Apprenticeships and Technical Education Reforms

The skills arena is experiencing a complete overhaul of the apprenticeship and technical education system, including the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy on the largest employers, changes development and funding of Apprenticeships, transitioning from frameworks to Apprenticeship standards,  reform of every delivery aspect of technical education from entry level to level 5 and the introduction of new T Level qualification.

These changes have been big and bold, and we have welcomed their principles and the renewed focus on Apprenticeships and Technical Education. Our objective is to work across the UK to ensure the energy and utilities sector can maximise and optimise the value of the reforms, ensuring a resilient, skilled and sustainable workforce in gas, power, water and wastewater, and recycling waste management.

About Apprenticeships and the Levy

Apprenticeships are the UK’s flagship programme for delivering employer-led vocational skills training. An apprenticeship is a paid job with role-specific, employer-designed training. The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in April 2017 and is a tax paid by UK employers whose payroll is over £3m. Employers recover their levy payments by using them to contribute to the training costs of their Apprentices. The training costs of Apprentices in employers that do not pay the Levy are supported through direct government funding. Levy funding is only directly recoverable by English Levy paying employers.

About Technical Education and T Levels

The Post-16 Skills Plan committed to the implementation of all of the recommendations of the Independent Panel on Technical Education (the Sainsbury Report) to introduce a new system of technical education to provide a high quality technical option alongside an academic option for students aged 16-19. Parliament legislated to deliver these reforms through the Technical and Further Education Act 2017.

T-Levels are two-year classroom-based study programmes which include a substantial industrial placement and a new rigorous vocational qualification. There are 15 T Level Routes designed to cover all vocational areas. The first T-Levels will undergo pilot delivery from September 2019. Engineering and Manufacturing T-Levels are scheduled for delivery from September 2022.

On the horizon is a review of Entry Level, Level 1 and Transition year, higher technical qualification reforms, roll out of the NRS, post-18 education and funding modifications and streamlining in the number technical qualifications.

Our Work

Utilities demand more from the Apprenticeship Levy

The independent ‘Test and Adjust’ report for Energy & Utility Skills, undertaken by former Chief Executive of the National Apprenticeship Service, sets out six reforms to improve the Apprenticeship Levy.

The report was commissioned by Energy & Utility Skills  and the sectors’ Apprenticeship and Technical Education Advisory Group (ATEAG) to provide empirical evidence of the experience of employers in the power, gas, water and waste management industries in adapting to the apprenticeship and levy policy reforms. It presents employers experience of apprentices emerging from the new policy approach so far, describing what has worked, and suggesting where change and reform could add further value.

The ‘Test & Adjust’ report calls for six further adjustments to make the apprentice system fit for purpose:

A short video summary is available here and click here to access the report.

A summary of the report can be downloaded.

Sector Apprenticeship & Technical Education Advisory Group (ATEAG)

The Apprenticeship and Technical Education Advisory Group (ATEAG) is a UK-wide collaboration of energy and utilities sector apprenticeship levy-paying companies. Established in 2015 to optimise developments in UK apprenticeship policy, the group expanded its remit in 2017 to include the apprenticeship levy and other major UK technical education reforms.

ATEAG sustains a focus on ensuring that the energy and utilities sector is informed and understands the impacts of apprenticeships, levy and technical education policy reforms, responds to policy outcomes, and receives timely updates to support business decision making. The remit of the group is:

  • Inform the development and evolution of UK apprenticeship, levy and technical education policy that supports the current and planned needs of energy and utilities sector companies
  • Be the sector voice, externally promoting the sector’s needs and liaising with the UK and devolved governments and key stakeholders
  • Secure the best outcomes from apprenticeship, levy and technical education reform for the energy and utilities sector
  • Optimise the sector’s effectiveness in managing and recovering the apprenticeship levy

Group Chair : Tony Moloney (Cadent)

Deputy Chair: Matt Pitt (Veolia)

We are committed to providing our members with the latest information and ensuring that their knowledge and experience is taken into account to design effective policies. The following Energy & Utility Skills members participate in this group:

UK Power Networks


Key Resources

We have developed a number of resources to support our members in understanding the implications of the reforms for them, and to assist with policy implementation.

All documents and resources can be accessed from the Policy & Research section on the Members Area homepage. We have categorised all information and resources into the following pages:

Find Out More

For further information about our policy work on Apprenticeships, the Levy and Technical Education, please contact the policy team via