Posted: Tuesday, 23 August 2016 @ 11:14
It appears that the Governments new Skills Minister, Nick Boles, has been listening to the comments of employers, providers and possibly some MP’s, concerning Apprenticeship reforms.
The proposed models for funding Apprenticeships, either payment to employers through the PAYE system or an Apprenticeship credits system, have been abandoned.
It was considered, largely due to the feedback received from the consultation, that these systems were too bureaucratic and burdensome to employers.
A decision for a new funding mechanism is therefore back on the drawing board and we await further information, which is not expected before the next general election.
Another reform concerned cash contributions from employers, the minister feels that a cash contribution towards the training should not be required in the first year of an Apprenticeship programme. Arrangements for compulsory employer contributions towards training apprentices remains vague.
In any event it is envisaged that any new funding system will not be fully implemented until 2018/19.
The minister confirmed that Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship provision should remain but there should be more Level 3, Advanced, provision on offer.
The minister acknowledged that given the Governments ambition to deliver 3 million Apprenticeship in the next parliament, providers have a critical role in selling Apprenticeships to employers.
He also stated that schools are mandated to provide careers advice to their students which should include Apprenticeship career opportunities.
With regard to the new trailblazers standards currently being developed, he thought that there would be fewer standards than the current number of frameworks available.
Functional Skills were felt to be little known by employers who recognise GCSE’s as the qualifications taken by school leavers. However, he did understand the concerns of employers who feel that having to learn Shakespeare was not a pre-requisite in undertaking a technical Apprenticeship!!!