Off-The-Job Training Concerns Still Holding Back Apprenticeship Starts

04 Apr 2018

Published in: Member News

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers has raised concerns that the off-the-job training requirement is reducing the number of apprenticeship starts

Apprenticeship capacity will be permanently lost unless the government is able to address provider's concerns over off-the-job training, the chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, Mark Dawe, has said.

As part of the government's apprenticeship reforms, new standards mean there is now a requirement for 20 per cent off-the-job training.

Writing in the AELP newsletter, Mark Dawe said providers he has spoken to are now "desperate" for greater clarification and has urged the Department for Education to help.

"It is this uncertainty that is leading to starts being delayed, where employers are saying that without clarity, they refuse to start apprentices - they don't want the risk of criticism or challenge form the government's agencies," Dawe said.

"Off-the-job training is still the biggy - even the NHS is saying it is not workable, so hopefully that will be a little closer to home for [skills minister Anne Milton] and she can have a chat with her ex-colleagues about the reality of it and how it affects all levels."

Anne Milton worked as a district nurse for 25 years before becoming an MP.

"Let's get practical and sort out some of the core problems," Dawe added. "Ripping a livelihood away from hundreds of loyal providers, preventing good-quality training and development on the ground, imposing yet more funding rules that make it harder for providers to offer what employers want - it's time to sort things out, DfE.

"I hear comments that not many providers are actually going bust, but what we are seeing is fundamental restructuring within providers. Capacity is being lost every week as providers drop unworkable standards and underfunded frameworks - this capacity will be permanently lost and no one else seems to be aware or care."

A spokesperson for the DfE pointed to guidance on apprenticeship off-the-job training the department published last June. "It sets out how employers and training providers should meet the 20 per cent off-the-job training requirement for apprentices, with some best practice examples. This is part of our apprenticeship changes to improve the quality of apprenticeships for all," they added.

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