Apprenticeships are changing
The next two years will see new qualifications designed to better represent business value. The idea being to better prepare learners for the world of work. Funding too is about to undergo radical change thanks to a new levy that puts the onus on employers to 'use it or lose it'
Current apprenticeship frameworks are to be replaced by clear and concise standards, defined by employer groups and recognised by industry. Each occupation will have a different Apprenticeship Standard, linked to a specific occupational level.
The standards are rigorous, challenging and require a minimum of one year training. All new standards are to be published so companies, learners and trainers have access to all of the relevant information.
These reforms are a radical change to the design of apprenticeships. The move to independent assessment at the end of apprenticeships gives employers and training providers more flexibility in the how they deliver training. It also lets them design their own apprenticeship programmes.
Blazing a trail
The term Trailblazer refers to a group of employers working together to design new apprenticeship standards for occupations within their sectors.
Trailblazer groups are free to work with whoever they choose to develop their assessment plans. City & Guilds has worked with a number of sectors to create standards that will soon be ready to deliver.
PIVOT is set up to deliver Trailblazer apprenticeships along with all new apprenticeship standards.
The Apprenticeship Levy
In May 2017, funding and procurement of apprenticeship training changed. The UK government introduced something called the ‘Apprenticeship Levy’. All companies – public or private - with a pay bill over £3 million now make an investment in apprenticeships (0.5% of their annual pay bill).
Employers access the funds through a Digital Apprenticeship Account (DAA) controlled by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). The DAA is hosted on a system known as the digital Apprenticeship Service (AS).
Each levy-paying employer has a virtual account equivalent in value to its contribution, less an amount equivalent to the notional contribution for its employees that live in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, plus a government top-up of 10%.
Funds in this account can be used to cover the cost of apprenticeship training and end-point assessment for apprenticeships undertaken in England.
To access the funds employers will need to sign a contract for the delivery of a recognised apprenticeship, by a registered provider. The ESFA maintains a Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP).