5 things you need to know about the 20/21 apprenticeship funding rules
If you have anything to do with apprenticeship funding, you’ll know that the rules are always changing. Each year, the ESFA makes changes or clarifications to the previous year’s funding regulations. However, the updated rules don’t automatically apply to all apprenticeships when they’re launched – it all depends on when your apprentices started their programme.
This means training providers need to stay up to date with the latest regulations, and even manage multiple rulebooks at once. To help you keep on top of the changes, here are 5 things you need to know about the 20/21 apprenticeship funding rules.
1. New redundancy arrangements
The 20/21 funding rules introduce new arrangements for apprentices who have been made redundant before completing their programme.
Apprentices who have been made redundant within 6 months of the final day of their practical period can continue their apprenticeship training without being employed under an apprenticeship agreement. Providers can still deliver training and support the apprentice to end-point assessment – all the remaining costs will be funded by the ESFA.
If an apprentice has more than 6 months left, providers can continue to train and support them, and help them find another employer. If the apprentice takes a job that is not related to their apprenticeship, or a new employer isn’t found within 12 weeks, providers must record the apprentice as withdrawn.
2. Actual off-the-job hours
The ESFA has introduced yet another rule around off-the-job training. Providers must now record the actual hours an apprentice spends completing off-the-job training on the ILR each month.
At the end of the programme, if the actual hours delivered is less than the planned off-the-job hours, providers must now provide a statement to the employer to explain the reason for the difference. If the apprentice and employer are happy with the volume of off-the-job hours, they need to countersign the statement so the provider can include it in the evidence pack.
3. Employer incentives and the Kickstart Scheme
From August 2020, all employers that hire a new apprentice are eligible for an incentive payment of £3,000. The ESFA has clarified that employers who’ve hired learners that have progressed from the Kickstart Scheme to an apprenticeship are eligible for the incentive.
4. End-point assessment before Functional Skills
From 25th February 2021, eligible apprentices can temporarily take their end-point assessment (EPA) before achieving the required Functional Skills qualifications (FSQ).
This flexibility is only possible for apprentices who are not on a break in learning and are ready to take both their EPA and FSQ, but cannot access a Functional Skills assessment remotely or in person.
5. Additions to the evidence pack
Many of the above changes to the apprenticeship funding rules must be evidenced by the provider in the evidence pack. This includes the actual off-the-job hours delivered and a statement signed by the employer and apprentice if the actual and planned off-the-job hours don’t match.
These are just 5 of the major changes you should be aware of in the 20/21 apprenticeship funding rules – but there are plenty more nuances where these came from.
To find out exactly how apprenticeship funding is calculated, download your apprenticeship funding formula.
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