Today, the Association of Employers and Learning Provides (AELP) set out their recommendations for government to address as part of the apprenticeship reforms. The 14 recommendations centre on enhancing of social mobility and broadening apprenticeships opportunities.
The recommendations are timely, coming just 4 months after the implementation of the apprenticeship Levy, and after the recent iteration of the tendering process for non-levy procurement. Everyone engaged in the delivery and assessment of apprenticeships is mindful of the consequences of the ‘new world’ of levy funding.
The requirement for a rigid 20% off-the-job training is a concern we share with AELP. Whilst we acknowledge the need for some aspects of off-the-job training, the imposition of a fixed threshold doesn’t take into account the different skills levels of learners, or the requirements of different occupational sectors.
We also welcome the recommendation to increase funding for providers for English and maths, with those furthest from achieving receiving the greatest support from the Education and Skills Funding Agency. As a sector, we need the resources to support these learners in achieving their maths and English, and ultimately, their apprenticeships.
With the decline in the number of 16-18 year old learners in apprenticeships, the need for traineeships becomes even more apparent, as a progression route into an apprenticeship or employment. Again, clarity around the performance management and funding requirements for these programmes will contribute to the success of learners furthest from employment.
The exclusion of qualifications from apprenticeship standards has long been a cause of concern for us. Qualifications empower learners, giving them a quality assured passport that will also allow them to move between jobs and have a record of the learning that they’ve undertaken. We have been acting on the needs of employers and learners by pushing for qualifications in standards wherever possible, and look forward to working with AELP to support this objective.