There has been no let-up in this
area, with more apprenticeship-related announcements in August (many of them
seeking responses by 5 September).
It is worth doing a round-up
of these latest announcement, using the same checklist approach:
guide has now been issued. Universities will be providing higher
level apprenticeships to others, but might also want to provide apprenticeship
training to their own staff, the key issue is whether these will also be higher
All providers will need to
register with the proposed new register of apprenticeship training providers
(see below), although providers that only train their own employees will be
classified as employer-providers and it is proposed that they have a different
route onto the register.
The biggest issue for
universities wanting to train their own employees as apprentices is the need
for there to be an Ofsted inspection. Given that it has been accepted that
there is no need for Ofsted inspection when universities provide higher level
apprenticeships to other employers, it must make sense that this should also
apply when they provide higher level apprenticeships to their own employees.
Universities need to respond
clearly to the consultation on this point.
A range of issues are covered
in the apprenticeship
funding proposals, and responses to their online
survey are required by 5th September.
These rules are crucial to the
successful development of apprenticeships for universities and other employers
that either recruit, or already have a highly qualified workforce. The
proposals confirm existing rules that funds can be spent on individuals to undertake
an apprenticeship at a higher level than a qualification they already hold.
The crucial rule is in
paragraph 50 which proposes that an individual can be funded to undertake an
apprenticeship at the same or lower level than a qualification they already
hold, if the apprenticeship will allow the individual to acquire substantive
new skills and the content of the training is materially different from any
prior training or a previous apprenticeship. This is a key change that will be
crucial to enabling universities to invest their funds in recruiting
apprentices and developing their existing staff.
There has been a substantial
increase in government generosity. In the current system the employer needs to
find a third of the cost of the apprenticeship, the proposals suggest reducing
this to 10%. This could provide a substantial boost to getting SMEs engaged in
The proposals suggest 15
funding bands with the top band remaining at £27,000, a common point for most
degree apprenticeships. Details are also provided of what the proposals mean
for individual apprenticeship standards from May 2017.
Details of the incentives for
younger apprentices and for care leavers and those who have an Education,
Health and Care plan are included in the proposals.
The proposals make it clear
that where their workforce lives will determine what proportion of the levy
levy-payers in England will get back in the form of the digital voucher.
However, where their workforce works will determine whether or not the employer
can use the digital voucher to support an apprenticeship. This will impact on
employers close to the Scottish/Welsh borders.
The biggest new proposal here
is the new register
of apprenticeship training providers. All providers will now have
to join this new register, even if they are already on the existing register of
training providers, which has been difficult enough for some universities to
It is very positive that it
proposes accepting HEFCE assurance for the financial health test and it proposes
accepting evidence from QAA reviews for quality, capacity and capability tests.
However, there is the need for the register to be designed and operated with
the full range of possible providers in mind. Responses to a survey on
the new register are required by 5 September.
The proposals for the new
register also go into detail about sub-contracting and in particular propose a
range of new restrictions. This could have implications for a number of
universities who collaborate with further education colleges in the delivery of
higher and degree apprenticeships.
We hope the consultations receive
a good response-rate from universities.