Whistl launches Apprenticeship Fund for small businesses


Whistl the UK’s leading logistics specialists in e-fulfilment, mail and parcels has launched the Whistl Apprenticeship Fund. The company is inviting small businesses in the areas where it has sites to apply for funding for their own apprenticeship schemes.

Employers with an annual paybill over £3m have to pay the apprenticeship levy in monthly instalments. These employers are termed as levy paying employers. Employers have 24 months to use their funds once they enter their apprenticeship service account, after this point, their funds will expire.

Whistl saw an opportunity to help small businesses that could not afford to fund their own apprenticeships by allocating its monthly surplus funds to them the new transfer service.

Whistl typically has £30,000 a month available from its Levy to fund apprenticeship training both within the company and the community. The Whistl Apprenticeship Fund is focusing on early years learning, digital and engineering focused apprenticeships.

In a pilot study the company has already helped 20 organisations fund Level 2 to 5 apprenticeships in areas including Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Yorkshire.

Organisations can view and apply for the Whistl Apprenticeship Fund at Search funding opportunities (manage-apprenticeships.service.gov.uk).

Alistair Cochrane, CEO, Whistl, said: “We are pleased to be able to make such a positive impact in the communities in which we operate by investing in apprenticeship opportunities for organisations that are not able to benefit from the Levy Scheme.

“At Whistl we really do invest in our employees, providing opportunities for career development in all areas of the business whether through apprentice qualifications, the Kickstart scheme, our HGV Driver Academy or our LEAP learning and development apprenticeship programme which is open to all employees who wish to further their career.

“At Whistl we believe that people want to work in a company that will give them opportunities to upskill and to develop their potential no matter what their current role is. We call our employee development programme ‘We value your career’. We are delighted that we can extend our programme to also help provide people within our local community with career development opportunities too.”

Minister for Skills Alex Burghart said

“Apprenticeships are playing a vital role in delivering the skills this country needs, and we want employers of all sizes to be able to hire and train apprentices with confidence.

“That is why we have given employers the freedom to reallocate their unused levy funds, as part of a cross-sector effort to support high quality apprenticeship training.

“It’s fantastic to see the work Whistl is doing to support local businesses and apprenticeships in their area, and I would encourage all larger businesses with leftover levy funding to follow their lead.”