Apprenticeship funding announcements – where do we go from here?
What the Government's response on Apprenticeship Funding could mean for you
14 January 2015
By Richard Guy – City & Guilds Specialist Advisor - Apprenticeships
The Government has now published responses to the Technical Funding consultation on Apprenticeship Funding.
It has also published a summary of responses from employers and providers. The position is that a majority of respondents were against both methods of employer funding (PAYE and a Credit Account).
From Nick Boles' response, it appears that the Government remains committed to employer funding but not necessarily to either of these options.
In the meantime, the early Trailblazer funding system is in place and full guidance has been issued on this by the SFA.
Essentially this interim system is a hybrid - with SFA funds paid to providers but matched payments by employers to providers on the basis of £1 from employers for every £2 from the SFA.
So where do we go now?
The Minister is caught between two opposing viewpoints. On the one hand, employer’s needs for a simple “grant” type funding system as envisaged by the Richard Review and with reliance placed on the Apprenticeship Standard and robust end assessment to ensure quality.
On the other hand, the SFA seems to insist on continuing control and management via the provider system and the “matched funding" from employers. It is therefore hard for the SFA to accept a grant scheme. The other possible alternative (vouchers to employers) is not really employer funding at all from an employer perspective because SFA funds would go straight to providers.
City & Guilds has, for some time, held the view that the answer to this conundrum is to give employers a choice of a provider funding system or an employer funding approach.
The latter would need to be simple (i.e. PAYE or a grant as envisaged originally). The provider option could be based on the existing trailblazer system and hopefully with a relaxation of the matched funding requirement.
The sector would develop from this with some employers preferring employer funding and some preferring a provider-funded approach - probably with some sector differentiation. We could then all see what happened over time.