With the government’s apprenticeship levy now coming into force, the way in which apprenticeship training is funded is now changing. Those paying the apprenticeship levy will be able to utilise this funding to take on new apprentices in their organisation.
The intention is that any unused levy contributions will then finance the apprenticeship support for those employers not in scope of the levy, i.e. around 90% of businesses. However, there is currently some uncertainty about whether sufficient funds will be available to meet demand.
As a result, the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) has just announced that existing training providers with a contract to train apprentices, who have also made a successful application to the new Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers, will have their contracts extended until the end of the year, with further detail on the practical implications being announced in the coming weeks.
However, this means that a number of providers who do not currently hold apprenticeship training contracts, but who made recent, successful applications for the register may not now have a contract to train apprentices this year. There are also a number of existing providers who were not successful in their application for the new register whose contracts will not be extended unless there is a further change in policy.
The ECA is liaising closely with officials and key stakeholders on this issue and expect the situation to become clearer in the next couple of months. The ECA’s advice to employers who are not in scope for the apprenticeship levy and wish to take on apprentices this year, is to act early in engaging with their chosen provider.