RoATP and other Appprenticeship developments
As the levy dates approaches, there has been saturation cover of developments around Apprenticeships in the education press, a lot of it very negative. Here are some of the main issues that have arisen this month:
How the levy impacts on charities
The levy will force over 1,000 large charities to take on many more Apprentices than they currently do, or risk losing their levy money (up to £70 million) to private business. One issue arising from this is that much of the money that will be diverted into Apprenticeships will have been donated to support the core work of the charity.
Chaos in the new Register for Providers (RoATP)
From May, no training organisation can deliver an Apprenticeship unless they are on the Register of Providers. In late March the Skills Funding Agency published the full list of 1,708 eligible providers. No upper limit to the numbers has been established, which is causing anxieties for Ofsted who will need to inspect them all.
However, there has been much controversy at the ‘omnishambles’ application process after providers with no delivery experience found success while several big, established colleges missed out due to “technical errors”.
The SFA has announced all new providers will have to undergo mandatory training before they can deliver Apprenticeships, as part of a “new approach to thematic auditing and other risk based assessments and behavioural monitoring”. This approach could result in providers losing their place on the register if they aren’t up to scratch.
The new register has 170 employers (30 of these from the public sector) and 80 Higher Education establishments, most going after the Degree level Apprentices.
The Register has now been re-opened so that organisations who feel they have been rejected on technicalities can reapply. But the window is very small with a deadline of 7th April. RoATP will open four times a year for new applications.
Apprenticeships for employers who don’t pay the levy
A meeting about allocations worth up to £440 million for delivering Apprenticeship training to non-levy employers was postponed by the Skills Funding Agency, leaving those who applied for the funding in limbo. No date for a decision has been announced yet, leaving many providers unable to plan for provision or confirm working arrangements with employers.
The problem of final assessment and qualifications
More than a third of the Apprenticeship standards supposedly ready for delivery involve no funded qualifications other than a final assessment. This means that Apprentices won’t have the chance to accumulate qualifications as they go along. More than half of the approved Apprenticeship standards also do not have an approved assessment organisation, with one big awarding organisation, OCR, pulling out entirely of delivering final Apprenticeship exams due to the uncertain financial returns involved.
The list of approved training providers is at http://tinyurl.com/k8tbv84