Apprenticeships: what’s changing on 1st August?
The Government has released a new apprenticeship funding policy that comes into action on 1st August. It includes changes that have been made in light of the coronavirus pandemic – like employer incentives – as well as changes that have been planned for a while, such as the end of apprenticeship frameworks.
The changes are extensive and affect training providers, employers and apprentices. Here’s a roundup of the most prominent rules.
Incentives for employers hiring an apprentice
All employers who hire an apprentice between 1st August 2020 and 31st January 2021 will receive an incentive payment. The apprentice must be new to the business, but there’s no limit to the amount of qualifying apprentices employers can claim for.
For apprentices aged between 16-24, employers will receive £2,000, and for apprentices aged 25 and over, the inventive payment will be £1,500.
This is on top of the current £1,000 incentive for employers to hire a 16-18 year old apprentice, meaning employers could receive up to £3,000 for hiring a 16-18 apprentice.
The end of apprenticeship frameworks
From 1st August 2020, all new apprenticeship starts must be on standards. Apprentices that have started an apprenticeship framework on or before 31st July 2020 will still be able to complete their programme.
There are over 550 apprenticeship standards approved for delivery. See the full list here.
Employers that don’t pay the apprenticeship levy can create accounts on the apprenticeship service and reserve funding. From 15th July 2020, the number of ‘active’ or ‘used’ reservations available to non-levy paying employers will increase from 3 to 10, so employers can recruit more apprentices through the apprenticeship service.
Moving all non-levy payers to the apprenticeship service
Although the number of reservations for non-levy payers has increased, employers now have more time to transition from Government co-invested procurement contracts to the apprenticeship service. The transition period has been extended from October 2020 to 31st March 2021, meaning non-levy employers can still use procurement contracts for new starts until then.
The Government has reinforced its guidance around apprenticeship funding bands and claims. The apprenticeship funding system includes 30 funding bands ranging from £1,500 to £27,000. The funding band represents the maximum amount the Government is prepared to contribute towards training, off-the-job learning and assessment for that apprenticeship standard.
Training providers are expected to make adjustments to the apprenticeship course duration, off-the-job hours and funding claim according to each apprentice’s prior learning. Employers are then expected to negotiate a price with the provider.
If the training provider’s price exceeds the maximum funding band – due to stretch-and-challenge goals or additional curriculum – the employer can’t use their levy payments or Government funding to cover the cost. They must pay the extra from their own pocket.
The ESFA is very clear about apprenticeship funding claims. The provider must make reductions for prior learning and must record how adjustments have been made for each apprentice. If the ESFA isn’t happy with your process, they could recover funds at audit.
OneFile’s RPL Funding Calculator is designed to make sure you make compliant apprenticeship funding claims based on RPL evidence. With the RPL Funding Calculator, you’ll have auditable evidence of each applicant’s RPL and clear, audit-ready reports to show the ESFA how you’ve adjusted you funding claims according to prior learning.
To find out how you can use the RPL Funding Calculator in your centre, download your free guide.
This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
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