Apprenticeship funding announcements – where do we go from here?

What the Government's response on Apprenticeship Funding could mean for you

14 January 2015 / Jump to comment (3)

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. 

Comments 3 Comments

Derek Bailey

16 January 2015

I would strongly suggest that ones takes a look at what has happened to FE(VET) in Australia since the introduction of a "voucher" system.
The system has had problems.
Post apprenticeship level courses can be undertaken by taking out a Government loan, payable when one reaches a certain tax bracket.
I learnt my trade as a Journeyman Electrician in the mid 60's, with the formation of the CITB and JIB et al.
The rigour of the training, workplace experience and assessment against the City and Guilds stood in me good stead to perform my trade in various industries in many parts of the world.
And the costs to me was fairly minimal as long as I passed each unit/subject.
In Australia the prospect is rapidly looming that one wishing to be an apprentice will need to take out a government loan if required.
At present an apprentice can avail themselves of a $20,000.00 AUD loan which they receive instalments, payable (With interest) when they complete and start to earn above a certain tax bracket.
With the increasing costs of courses, textbooks, materials, trade tools, travel to educational facilities et al, the sum may have to be increased.

Hilary Hall

03 February 2015

Completely agree! The NHF represents over 5000 salon owners. As small or micro businesses most of our members would choose to leave funding in the hands of providers, rather than taking on the extra admin burden on top of running their business. But they should get to choose.

Adrian Oldfield

27 March 2015

The target market for apprenticeships should always be SMEs, since the majority of vacancies are created with these employers. Little or no SMEs I have ever met or worked with could cope with accessing apprenticeship funding. What happened to the "Individualisation agenda?" surely that would have been an option

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