The Education and Skills Funding Agency announced on 9 August that all employers would not be able to use the apprenticeship service to access apprenticeship funding from April 2019 as previously planned. To ensure a more gradual and stable transition, the Agency will instead extend current contracts for training providers delivering training for employers that do not pay the apprenticeship levy for 12 months, from April 2019 to March 2020.
Responding to this announcement, AELP chief policy officer Simon Ashworth said:
‘On balance this is probably a sensible decision in the sense that we don’t want the government to move to a new funding system in April 2019 which hasn’t been properly thought through and might lead to further instability. At the same time, we are acutely aware that this is not going to go down well at all with those good quality providers who weren’t awarded a non-levy contract at the end of 2017 and therefore we are keen to work with the ESFA to try and find a way to get these providers back into the non-levy market as soon as possible. Many of these providers are currently having to unnecessarily subcontract and we have already highlighted how some primes are taking advantage of this through inappropriately high management fees meaning less funding is making it to the front line.
AELP still maintains that a minimum annual budget of £1bn is needed to meet SME demand for apprenticeships.’
Link to ESFA announcement: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/apprenticeship-service-transition-acting-on-user-feedback