AELP welcomes new apprenticeship funding rules
The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) has welcomed changes to the new apprenticeship funding rules - which have been introduced following the organisation developing a closer working relationship with the Department for Education (DfE).
AELP has made it a priority to work more closely with the DfE to influence funding rules and ensure earlier publication this year. This has included hosting a joint conference with the Department in December 2022, “Streamlining the System: Removing Barriers to Apprenticeships”, which gave delegates the opportunity to discuss ways in which simplification of the apprenticeship system could take place.
A number of rule changes that AELP has been campaigning for in recent years were announced in this year’s initial clarification version including changes to the active learning requirements - which means off-the-job training must now be planned to take place in every calendar month of the practical period, as opposed to every 28 days and greater flexibility in the planning and deployment of progress reviews.
AELP also successfully lobbied for further changes and flexibilities which appear in version one of the apprenticeship funding rules 2023/2024 including:
- The new flexibilities on active learning now being calendar months (as opposed to 28 days) will also be applied to legacy apprentices already on programme, not just new starts from August 2023 onwards.
- New flexibilities on deployment of progress reviews - at least four a year - will also be applied to legacy apprentices and not just new starts. Both of the above will support providers in their transition to a more flexible approach to delivery.
- The reversal of the DfE’s original proposal to include revision as an ineligible cost and not counting as off-the-job training from August 2023 onwards.
- Requirements for providers to check employer compliance with minimum wage legislation once an apprentice completes or withdraws has now been removed.
Initial clarification funding rules for 2023/2024 were initially published on 31 March, and final rules published on Friday 12 May – much earlier than in previous years. This follows on from a commitment given by the DfE at AELP’s simplification conference and gives providers and employers a lot more time to plan for the changes earmarked for the year ahead.
AELP has also played a leading role in explaining the potential funding rule changes to providers and employers across the skills sector, including hosting a webinar sponsored by OneFile, attended by over 600 delegates, outlining proposed changes.
A further webinar, hosted by AELP Director of Policy, Simon Ashworth takes place on 1 June 2023. The webinar will look at what the changes are for 2023/2024 and what that means for providers as they prepare for the start of the next academic year – and places can be reserved here with discounts available to AELP members.
AELP members can also access an exclusive blog on the AskAshworth section of their website.
Jane Hickie, Chief Executive of AELP said:
"There are some really big wins for providers included in this year’s funding rules, which streamline and simplify a very complicated area. Many of the changes announced reflect exactly what providers have been asking for, so it is hard to understate how important these moves are.
"Our strong relationship with the Department for Education (DfE) has been vital in delivering these changes, so I’d like to thank officials for being so responsive to AELP – the voice of the sector – in recent months. We will continue to work hard to influence policy across government to help deliver a world class, sustainable skills sector."