Apprenticeship Service Account Guidance for Non-Levy Payers (SMEs)

SME Employers who have an annual UK PAYE wage bill below £3 million are eligible for the Government Co-Investment scheme. As a result, employers only pay a 5% contribution per apprenticeship (for employees aged 19 years & above) whilst the UK Government pays the remainder. From January 2020, apprenticeship funding is now accessed through the Apprenticeship Service Account, an online portal that enables employers to;

  • Reserve funding for their apprenticeship standards of choice

  • Enable their provider of choice to manage the account on their behalf and deliver the apprenticeships

  • Find an End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO)

This 5 Step Guidance document will show walk you through how to set up your Employer Account and how to give training providers the necessary access to add apprentice cohorts on your behalf.

As part of the on-boarding process, we’ll send you a Learner Details Spreadsheet to complete, this will give us the information needed to set you up as a user on the portal and to add apprentice cohorts later on.

  • We will need your Organisation Name (as quoted on Companies House/your PAYE scheme)

  • Employer First Name + Last Name

  • Employer Email Address (a work email address)

Create an account to manage apprenticeships


Step 1

You will receive an email that will ask you to set up a user account, after clicking on the link, you should see this screen below. For your Apprenticeship Service Account, you should use a work email address and be authorised to access your PAYE Scheme on your organisation’s behalf.

Step 2

Once you have confirmed your details, you’ll need to add a PAYE Scheme. For most SMEs, using your PAYE and Accounts Office reference numbers will be the easiest way (2nd option on the list).

Your 13-character accounts office reference number can be found on the letter HMRC sent you when you first registered as an employer. You will find your employer PAYE scheme reference in the payslip booklet HMRC provided.

Step 3

Once you have confirmed your PAYE details, you’ll need to view and accept the employer agreement (you will not be permitted to proceed any further until this has been completed).

You must have the authority on behalf of your organisation to set up the Apprenticeship Service Account, add the PAYE Scheme and accept the ESFA Employer Agreement.

Step 4

Once you have accepted the employer agreement, you will be able to set permission for training providers.

You’ll need to click on the Provider Permissions section of your account to give training providers access.

You’ll need to select ‘Yes’ on Create cohort. This will enable System Group to reserve apprenticeship funding on your behalf.

Although System Group can reserve funding on your behalf, you will have final authorisation. You’ll need to review and accept the changes before the process can continue.

Step 5

Using the information gathered in the Learner Details spreadsheet, we can create a cohort on your behalf. Once complete, you will be able to log in to your account to view and approve the details.

As previously stated, you have final authorisation. We cannot enrol your apprentices until you review and accept the apprentice details.


Speak to one of our experts today and contact us. We can help you acquire your Apprenticeship Account Service.

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