Transform Programme




If you run a small or medium sized business in East Sussex, you may be able to access information and support for apprenticeship training via the Transform programme.

Did You Know?

Hiring an apprentice is a productive and effective way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

  • 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation
  • 78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity
  • 74% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service
  • Businesses can claim a £1,000 grant if they employ a 16-18 year old or 16-25 year old who has an Education Health and Care Plan.

Other benefits of working with apprentices include:

  • you can adapt their training according to the needs of your business
  • they’re motivated to learn new skills
  • you can expand and upskill your workforce.

What is the Transform Programme?
The Transform programme aims to address current and future skills gaps by increasing the take-up and knowledge of apprenticeships, traineeships and skills training amongst small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the county.

Our knowledgeable and friendly team of Transform Advisors offer impartial, one-to-one advice and support to SMEs across East Sussex. These advisers also make businesses aware of the government-funded provision that is available for them to access, as well as informing them about how to source and access these programmes and how this provision can help them to meet their business objectives, including development and growth potential.

There is currently a future skills shortage and lack of employment growth in the following sectors: Construction, Digital, Engineering, Health and Social Care, Land-based industries, Logistics and the Visitor Economy, so we’re particularly keen to engage with SMEs in these industries.

Take a look at the tabs below to learn more about the project and the skills funding available to SMEs across East Sussex.

Transform Advisers can offer one to one advice about available training provision and government funding. Our team can help eligible businesses access apprenticeship and skills training provision and funding through a scheduled confidential workforce skills conversation, followed by an impartial brokerage service.

If you choose to take on an apprentice or progress any other training that is suggested by the team, our advisors will help you navigate the process from start to finish and offer as much (or little) help and support as is required.

Subject to availability and eligibility, the programme will also help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access apprenticeship levy transfer funds made available to the project by supporting East Sussex levy payers, including East Sussex County Council. Applications for levy transfer are subject to criterion set by the transferring levy payer; our Transform Advisors will help you to complete the application to give best possible chance of success.

Apprenticeships are an exciting option for both apprentice and employer. You can employ apprentices at different levels, from school leavers and university graduates, to people who want to further their careers or change career direction completely. You can hire someone new or upskill an existing employee. As an employer, you can get funding from the government to help pay for apprenticeship training.

An apprenticeship is a genuine job and under all circumstances an apprentice will be employed from day one. Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study and apprentices work alongside experienced staff, gain job-specific skills whilst earning a wage.

All apprenticeships include elements of on the job and off the job training, leading to industry recognised standards or qualifications. Some apprenticeships also require an assessment at the end of the programme to assess the apprentice`s ability and competence in their job role.

The national minimum wage (NMW) for apprentices is £4.81 per hour from April 2022. The apprentice NMW applies to apprentices aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship. Apprentices aged 25 and over, and not in the first year of their apprenticeship, will be entitled to the National Minimum Wage.

Apprenticeships are available at many levels from GCSE equivalent right up to degree and master's degree level equivalent.

More info. can be found at

As an employer that doesn’t pay the apprenticeship levy, if you are unable to access a levy transfer, you may need to pay 5% towards the cost of training and assessing an apprentice. The government will pay the rest up to the funding band maximum. You will pay the training provider directly and agree on a payment schedule.

If you employ fewer than 50 employees, the government will pay 100% of the apprenticeship training costs up to the funding band maximum for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and aged 19 to 24 with an education, health and care plan provided by their local authority or has been in the care of their local authority. If you exceed the funding band maximum, you’ll need to pay all the additional costs.

Funding for an Apprenticeship through Levy Transfer
The apprenticeship levy is paid by large employers with a pay bill of over £3 million (they pay 0.5% of their total annual pay bill). Currently, only 2% of employers pay the apprenticeship levy. Levy paying employers who do not spend all of their levy can transfer up to 25% of their unspent levy funds to SMEs. Where an SME receives transferred funds, they do not need to pay any contribution to training costs (normally up to 5%).

How will Transform Help with the Transfer Process?
In order to receive transferred funds, the SME will need to complete an application form and if successful, register on the digital apprenticeship system to receive the funds. This process can be relatively quick and simple, and our advisors will help you through the process from start to finish.

Find out more about how apprenticeships are funded at

Employers receive an incentive payment of £1,000 for recruiting an apprentice who is:
• aged 16 to 18 years old
• aged 19 to 24 with an education, health and care plan or has been in the care of their local authority

Find out more about financial incentives for hiring a new apprentice at

You may be able to access government-funded training available to SMEs to upskill new and existing workforce. These programmes can include a range of short or longer courses including for example, management training, marketing, literacy, digital skills, customer service, to name but a few. Some are fully funded, and some are co-funded, which means while it is subsidised by the government, it does require a contribution from the employer.

Investment in workforce skills development can have many benefits including for example:
• Increase in management and workforce capability, productivity and growth.
• Reduction is skills gaps and shortages.
• Develop new skills when you need them to respond to market changes.
• Increase morale, motivation, loyalty and retention.
• Development of career progression pathways and opportunities.

We are particularly looking to engage with SMEs from priority sectors where there are employment growth and future skills shortages. These sectors are Construction, Digital, Engineering, Health and Social Care, Land-based industries, Logistics and the Visitor Economy.

Eligible businesses include SMEs based in East Sussex and who have not received 200,000 euros of state aid in 3 years. Eligibility for transfer is that applications for levy transfer must be for apprentices who start within 3 months of an approved application. Applications outside this can not be reserved.

Contact Us 
If you are an SME based in East Sussex, interested in learning more about how skills investment might help your business, and how the Transform programme can help you, please fill in our contact form and we will be in touch to discuss next steps.

Transform has been part-funded by the European Social Fund 2014-20. It is a partnership between East Sussex County Council and the Sussex Council of Training Providers.

The project is receiving up to £300,000 of funding from the European Social Fund (ESF) as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England ESF programme. Established by the European Union ESF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, skills development, job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations.  For more information visit