Government publishes new guidance on the apprenticeship levy

The government has released further guidance on the apprenticeship levy, providing a clearer understanding of how it will be funded, and the role employers and training providers will play.

From 6 April 2017, all UK employers that have an annual pay bill of over £3 million will be required to pay an apprenticeship levy to invest in apprenticeships. The funding will support people of all ages to gain high-quality skills and experience and help employers to offer more training opportunities and build a skilled workforce.

Here are the key points from the proposals today:

  • Employers that are too small to pay the levy will have to pay 10% of the training costs, with the remaining 90% paid by the government.
  • Employers with less than 50 employees will not have to pay towards the training costs of 16 to 18-year-old apprentices, which will be 100% met by the government.
  • Employers who take on a 16 to 18-year-old apprentice will receive an additional £1,000.
  • Employers and training providers who take on 16 to 18-year-olds or young care leavers with an education, health and care (EHC) plan will receive additional funding.
  • Employers will be able to use levy funds to retrain workers in new skills, even if they have prior qualifications.
  • Employers subject to the apprenticeship levy, who want to spend more on training than is in their digital account, will see 90% of their additional apprenticeship training costs funded by the government.
  • From April 2017, a register of training providers will be available to improve the link between training providers and employers. The proposed funding system will consist of 15 bands, each with an upper limit and which will range from £1,500 to £27,000. 50% of each apprenticeship programme must be delivered by a training provider.
  • Employers who are also training providers will be subject to Ofsted regulations.
  • Providers who have an Ofsted rating of grade 4 will be unable to provide apprenticeships.
  • Apprenticeship providers will no longer be rewarded with a double payment for each apprenticeship start.
  • The success payment (paid upon successful completion of an apprenticeship) will be replaced with a 20% completion payment, regardless of the final grade.
  • Apprenticeships will be available to everybody over the age of 16 at all levels.
  • Training providers who have apprentices enrolled on programmes that do not receive approval on the new register of apprentice assessment organisations will have their learners transferred to another provider. This is currently under consultation.

To help employers see how the levy and funding system would impact them, the government has also created a new online calculator.  This easy-to-use tool will allow employers to understand how much they will have to pay and how they could use their digital funds to pay for future training.

A consultation on the plans is now open, and will close on 5 September 2016. Employers and training providers are invited to have their say on the initial funding proposals to try to ensure that the final plans fully meet the needs of all those involved in the apprenticeship programme.

The final proposal on the apprenticeship levy is due to be confirmed in October 2016.


Apprenticeship trailblazers –where are we now?

ApprenticeshipsApprenticeships are going through a radical overhaul, with changes to the way they are developed and implemented, and a particular emphasis on involving employers in their overall design.

A number of ‘trailblazer’ groups have been carrying out this process, made up of employers, professional bodies, trade associations and sector skills councils, working together to design new apprenticeship standards for occupations within their sector.

You may be aware that HABC has been involved too, bringing its expertise and experience as an Awarding Organisation and developer of qualifications to the process, particularly with regards to the apprenticeship assessment plans.

HABC has been working with the transport apprenticeship trailblazer group, which is developing two proposed Level 2 standards for passenger transport services and passenger transport operations.

The passenger transport services apprenticeship will cover customer-facing roles on buses, coaches and trains, including ticketing and on-board sales. As well as job-specific skills, it will contain core values covering life skills and allow for career progression to team leading and management roles at Level 3 and Level 4.

The proposed passenger transport operations apprenticeship, also at Level 2, covers the back-of-house functions of a transport business and includes non-customer facing roles such as timetabling and planning services. It again covers core values and life skills,allowing for progression to team leading and management roles at Level 3 and Level 4.

HABC has assisted in the consultation on the final draft of the transport apprenticeship standards, including helping to create a learner journey from a brand new starter to being an employable apprentice, and helped to establish what type of assessment is appropriate (including formative, summative and end-point assessment) as part of an overall assessment plan.

The final draft of the transport apprenticeship standards are currently awaiting approval, expected some time over the summer.

HABC has also been taking part in the development of the new standards for the customer service apprenticeship trailblazer, having been formally invited to help develop an assessment plan alongside other organisations.

The standards, will include two pathways – front line customer service practitioner and customer experience specialist – will meet the needs of employers whilst allowing learners and employees to progress to the next level in their career.

Currently the customer service apprenticeship standards have been submitted for approval and we are waiting on the outcome of this.

Last chance to have your say on apprenticeship changes

apprenticeship changesWith the new apprenticeship changes People1st is offering employers the chance to have a final say on the proposed apprenticeships standards.

The first set of apprenticeship standards in a number of sectors covered by People1st – which have been developed by employer trailblazers and include areas such as retail and hospitality and travel – will be submitted for ministerial approval on 19 June 2014.

However, consultations will remain open until 16 June 2014 so that you can contribute and make your views known.

Updates from the apprenticeship trailblazers

As you probably know, apprenticeships are going through a radical redesign.  Last year, the government announced it would implement many of the recommendations of the Richard Review, with an emphasis on increasing employer involvement in the overall design of apprenticeships.

That process is now well under way, with a number of ‘trailblazer’ groups having been set up.  These groups, which are made up of large and small employers, professional bodies, trade associations and sector skills councils, have been working together to design new apprenticeship standards for occupations within their sector.  Whilst some of these (Phase 1) have already delivered new standards, a further eight sectors were announced in April (Phase 2), and are currently consulting on the draft apprenticeship standards that have been developed so far.





Consultation on early years’ trailblazers

The Early Years Trailblazer Leadership Group has launched a consultation on the new draft apprenticeship Standard for the Early Years Educator (EYE).

Developed by employers, the new standard will replace the current framework for apprenticeships at Level 3 and is part of the ‘trailblazer’ initiative, launched by the government in response to the recommendations of Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Doug Richard.

early years trailblazerCheryl Hadland, chair of the Early Years Trailblazer Leadership Group, said, ‘Early years staff need to have a Department for Education (DfE) approved “full and relevant Level 3 qualification” to count in the L3 staffing ratios, so our apprenticeship has less room for manoeuvre than in many other sectors.

Nevertheless we have tried to define the additional skills and competences that someone needs to complete an apprenticeship at this level. Now we need employers and their staff to speak up, using this consultation – have we got it right? Or should there be more, or less, in the proposed new standard?’