The Apprenticeship Reforms: a training provider's perspective

Joan Coe, Executive Director – Business Development of the recently merged North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College discusses the Apprenticeship reforms and the impact they will have on the Further Education Sector.

“The overall aim of the Apprenticeship reforms is to increase the focus on Apprenticeships and encourage employers of all sizes to use them as a key part of their recruitment and training strategy.

“This will be achieved by putting employers at the heart of Apprenticeship design. As a result, the relationships between employers and providers will naturally shift.

“This will be good news for the FE sector. It will deepen and strengthen our relationships with local businesses to provide the training and skills that are required in the local economy.”

The switch from frameworks to standards
“Approximately 800 standards are set to replace the current 250 frameworks (City & Guilds 2016) between now and 2020. Employer trailblazers have been designing the new standards to align with organisational and sector needs.

These standards will relate to certain job roles and enable organisations to meet their specific business needs. There has however been speculation that these standards will be too specific and not easily transferred to other organisations, specifically SMEs. Others argue that the increase in the number of standards will offer businesses a larger selection of programmes to choose from, programmes designed to meet industry needs and fill skills gaps. Which way this will go remains to be seen.”

Changes to funding
“In terms of funding, employers are now much more of a driving force; they will now select training providers and assessment centres from an approved register (RoATP).

All current frameworks and all new standards will now be allocated to one of 15 funding bands. These range from £1,500 to £27,000. Employers will now negotiate costs with the provider resulting in a more flexible, industry-focused process.

“North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College has been working closely with small, medium and large employers to stay up to date on new standards as they are approved and to ensure a smooth transition as the funding for Apprenticeships changes from May 2017.”

To find out more about The Apprenticeship reforms and more about employing Apprentices, call 0116 264 3535 or email business.development@slcollege.ac.uk