RoATP refresh 2021 – what’s changed?

The ESFA has launched its latest refresh of the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP).

Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP) refresh 2021 – what's changed?

The ESFA has launched its latest refresh of the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP) – the third refresh since the register was first launched in April 2017. The refresh is part of the ESFA’s ongoing commitment to improving the quality of apprenticeship delivery and includes a series of changes – from widening entry conditions to reapplication for all providers.

The RoATP has been closed to new applications since April 2020 due to Covid-19, except for levy-paying employers delivering critical services during the pandemic.

What are the key changes in the 2021 RoATP refresh?

Widening of the current ‘employer provider’ entry condition

Since the register closed in April 2020, only levy-paying employers delivering critical skills have been able to apply to the RoATP. Employers were only able to apply via the ‘employer’ route, but now they can apply as ‘main’ and ‘supporting’ providers too. This change will mean even more providers are available to support critical services.

Widening of other entry conditions

The RoATP refresh also introduces the new ‘employer endorsement’ criteria. This means that any providers that are delivering critical worker training need to get an endorsement from an employer that verifies that the provider’s training responds to an identified training gap.

If providers have this employer endorsement, they can start applying to the RoATP from 1st March 2021. All successful providers will only be able to deliver the critical-worker-linked provision set out in their application.

Removal of inactive providers from the register

Providers on the register that have not actively delivered training in the last 6 months will be considered for removal from the RoATP. This change will reassure employers and apprentices that the providers on the register are active deliverers of high-quality training.

This particular change may be problematic for some providers who are struggling to deliver during the pandemic. However, providers won’t be automatically removed from the register – they will be informed and given the opportunity to appeal.

Requirement for all active providers to reapply to the register

All remaining, active providers on the RoATP will have to reapply to the register – taking into account the new conditions of acceptance. Providers will be invited to reapply, starting from May 2021 through to 2022.

The reapplication will check that providers have the sector-specific expertise to deliver high-quality apprenticeships that meet the needs of apprentices and employers. Providers will have to evidence their capacity and expertise – as well as the systems they have in place to collect prior learning data, progression data, ILR data, and employer and apprentice feedback.

When does the new application criteria come into force?

The new RoATP guidance has already been published, but different sections of the criteria will be phased in at different times. The widening of eligibility criteria will take effect from 1st March 2021 to increase provider numbers for high-priority skills. Then in May 2021, the phased reapplication of current providers will start, alongside the removal of any providers that haven’t actively delivered in the last 6 months.

What do providers think about the latest RoATP refresh?

The overwhelming reaction from providers has been one of outrage. The refresh has come at a time when many providers are still managing the pressures and strains that have impacted the sector since the pandemic hit.

I actually can’t believe they are doing this to us right now, we’re all on our knees trying to develop and deliver quality remote learning. Give us a break ESFA.” said Sue Bishop via Twitter.

Some of the changes in the RoATP refresh have caused a stir across the sector. The best thing providers can do to make their reapplication as painless as possible is to prepare the evidence early. Of course, there’ll be admin tasks to gather financial information, but if you have an apprenticeship system in place, you should be able to access a lot of the delivery evidence instantly.


To find out how you can use OneFile to support your apprenticeship delivery, book a demo with a member of the team.

Book a demo

Or for guidance on your RoATP application, download your step-by-step guide.

Get guide

This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
so this research is to be used at the reader's discretion. OneFile is not liable for any action taken based on this research.