Many employers remain unaware that Government rules have changed to allow apprentices of all ages in England to receive funding for their apprenticeship training.
The previous funding restrictions by age are now gone. This means that apprentices of any age working in non-apprenticeship levy-paying companies will have 95 per cent of their training costs funded by government. Levy-paying companies can use their levy pot to support the costs in full.
This typically means an employer contribution of just £900 across a four-year apprenticeship. Recent analysis from The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP) also shows that employers that recruit apprentices can see a return on investment as soon as year two of the apprenticeship programme.
There’s more encouraging news: if these apprentices are already working within the industry and have some experience or knowledge that can be mapped against the apprenticeship requirements, the training time is reduced which means the provider should be able to offer the apprenticeship at a lower cost.
Ensuring that providers recognise, and give appropriate recognition of, this prior experience and learning is an area that regulators are particularly focusing on.
The only requirement is that the training and experience gained through the apprenticeship takes at least 12 months, including 20 per cent from ‘off the job’ training. Training providers should undertake a detailed review with the candidate and produce a personalised plan, setting out what is required, how long this should take, and the costs involved.
Given the skills shortages highlighted in a recent report by TESP, this is an excellent opportunity for employers to take advantage of funding to upskill and develop their existing workers.
There are also many experienced workers within the industry who won’t meet the apprenticeship requirements because they require less than 12 months additional training and experience or prefer not to undertake an apprenticeship. The Mature Candidate Assessment is an alternative route to fully qualified status for those working within the electrical industry, typically with five or more years’ experience.
To date, around 2,000 candidates have obtained their ECS Gold card via this route and over 500 candidates are currently enrolled. Work is underway to update the qualification to ensure it reflects requirements in the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations, and that it mirrors the apprenticeship standard (the “trailblazer”).
Full details on the current qualification are available on the ECS website: ecscard.org.uk/how-to-apply/mature-candidate-assessment