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Watch out for the July apprenticeship policy bumper bundle

Greg Wade

Greg Wade

Policy Manager
Universities UK
Student practical

We can expect quite a few announcements about future apprenticeships policy in July, in the post-referendum rush to clear the policy backlog.

One important one has already been made: the name of the shadow chair of the new Institute for Apprenticeships. Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Barclays plc, took up the post on 9 June. Barclays helped establish the relationship manager degree apprenticeship.

A new shadow chief operating officer has also been identified following the sudden departure of Rachel Sandby-Thomas, Nicola Bolton, former managing director for Trade at UK Trade & Investment is taking the reins.

Meanwhile, the Higher Education Funding Council for England will be digesting the applications it has had for the first phase of the £8 million development fund from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. This is an exciting opportunity to boost the provision of degree apprenticeships and we expect a lot of interest in the fund. 

Universities should also be on the lookout for the imminent announcement of a third procurement round for higher and degree apprenticeships through the Skills Funding Agency procurement portal.  

What's coming up on apprenticeships

So what else is to come? Assuming that there are no negative consequences arising from the referendum on 23 June and apprenticeship funds aren't put at risk, institutions should look out for: 

Employers wanting to deliver their own apprenticeship training

A guide describing how this can be done is likely to be published that will be of huge interest to institutions. 

Equivalent or lower qualifications (ELQ)

Flexibility on this will be crucial to enable employers to use apprenticeships to develop a workforce where the workforce is already highly qualified. We could get guidance or perhaps further discussion of the issues. 

Co-investment rates for non-levy payers

This is very important for involving small and medium sized enterprises in apprenticeships. Will the existing funding model, of two-thirds government funding, one-third employer funding, continue? 

Changes to the funding bands

There could be some changes to the bands but – and this is key to the sustainability of degree apprenticeships – we don't expect changes to the top funding tier. 

Incentives for particular groups, such as 16- to 18-year-olds

Will these continue and at what level of funding?

Guide for providers

What will the guide say about quality assurance arrangements? Higher education is already recognised as having different but highly effective and robust quality assurance arrangements, will this recognition be strengthened? 

Updated guide for trailblazers

What will the guidance for degree apprenticeship trailblazers say about including universities in the process?  

Universities UK's work on apprenticeships

Universities UK has been working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), and the Universities Vocational Awards Council (UVAC) to press for a policy environment that supports the development of degree apprenticeships. We have been arguing for flexibility in ELQ requirements, recognition of the strong quality assurance processes in the sector and encouragement to employers to engage with universities in the early stages of degree apprenticeship development.  

UUK will be keeping a careful watch on policy announcements and will be alerting members to the outcomes when they appear. Watch this space. 

These policy changes and their implications will be discussed at 'Degree apprenticeships: understanding the opportunities', a one-day UUK seminar on Tuesday 19 July at our offices, Woburn House in London. Book your place via the Universities UK website.

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chris walker
chris walker says:
1 July 2016 at 14:49

It's good alternate option for students who're interested to learn practically.


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