Making the apprenticeship system simpler

Over the past 5 years it is claimed that apprenticeships have been transformed into a high-quality skills programme for learners and employers. Employers have created over 640 standards to meet their business skills needs with training delivered by registered providers, which are regularly inspected, and apprentices complete rigorous end-point assessment, so employers know that they are fully competent in their role.

Having reformed the apprenticeships programme, the government now want to make it simpler for employers, training providers and apprentices. Apprenticeships will be further improved from August 2022.

Minister for Skills Alex Burghart:

We have transformed apprenticeships so they offer a high-quality route into professions as diverse as engineering, healthcare, and digital for young people starting their careers, or adults hoping to retrain and upskill.

We now want to focus on making the system as simple and user-friendly as possible, reducing bureaucratic burdens on employers and providers and giving apprentices the best possible experience.

Improvements include:

  • Making it simpler for individuals to accelerate their apprenticeship by placing a greater focus on provider assessment of prior learning and experience. By improving how providers take account of this at the start of their apprenticeship – and funding them to do a robust upfront assessment – apprentices will be able to cut out training they do not require and complete their apprenticeship more quickly. This means that they can spend more time in the workplace and will become fully competent sooner, boosting employer productivity and their own earnings potential.
  • Introduce a consistent baseline for off-the-job training, specifying the minimum number of hours that a full-time apprentice must spend in training. This will simplify the reporting for providers and create a level-playing field among apprentices who are on the same standard but working different hours. This means that apprentices who work more than 30 hours a week will be able to spend more time on the job delivering for employers, while still getting the vital training they need to complete their apprenticeships.
  • Changing English and maths requirements for those Level 2 apprentices who start with the lowest level of prior attainment in English and maths. People who start a L2 apprenticeship without L1 English and maths will no longer need to automatically attempt L2 English and Maths tests to complete their apprenticeship. It will mean that thousands of L2 apprentices can focus on securing a L1 English and Maths qualification with only those who are really ready to take the Level 2 tests attempting them.
  • A more efficient payment service for providers, reducing the data needed to make payments and improving Apprenticeship Service financial reports, helping providers understand what they are being paid for each apprenticeship and why. They will start testing these improvements towards the end of the year and do more to ensure that employers receive their £1,000 additional support payment promptly if they take on an eligible young apprentice. Having engaged employers and providers on changing payment profiles, the government received a clear message that system simplicity is the priority.

More details

The changes to recognition of prior learning, off-the-job training and English and maths come into effect in August 2022 and are outlined in the draft apprenticeship funding rules for main providers (August 2022 to July 2023), the draft Apprenticeship funding rules for employer-providers (August 2022 to July 2023) and the draft Apprenticeship funding rules and guidance for employers (August 2022 to July 2023).

All three documents are available at:

PAYadvice.UK 28/5/2022

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