GMLPF chair Debbie Tagoe and Paul Johnson, Head of Provider Management at ESFA met on Friday to discuss the impact of cuts in Apprenticeships allocations for non-levy paying employers.
The board, staff and members of GMLPF are concerned that the reduced Apprenticeships allocations announced recently will have an adverse impact on:
- Training providers: financial insecurity; redundancies; business closure with subcontractors especially at risk
- Employers: Less funding available for Apprenticeships; fewer providers to choose from; limited niche provision; ultimately less involvement by SMEs
- Young People: fewer providers/SMEs offering Apprenticeship opportunities; increased NEET
- Apprenticeships: credibility of brand undermined; achievement of Gov’t targets unlikely
Business As Usual
Debbie put these concerns to Paul Johnson who made it clear that the ESFA are urging providers to proceed with business as usual.
He emphasised that providers should:
- Ensure you have read the document New non-levy apprenticeship starts for the period May 2017 to December 2017 sent out by the ESFA earlier this month thoroughly. You will see that some of the concerns that have been raised by GMLPF members are in fact addressed in this document
- Check your levy/non-levy allocation is correct by applying the method laid out on page 5 of New non-levy apprenticeship starts for the period May 2017 to December 2017. If you believe that there are discrepancies in the data used to calculate your allocation, you must contact your business manager immediately to discuss putting a business case forward by 31st May
Any GMLPF members who have already contacted their business manager regarding discrepancies and not heard back are asked to inform Debbie Tagoe. Paul Johnson has offered to chase up responses for GMLPF members.
He offered the following reassurances:
- Allocations DO NOT include carry-in funding. Carry-in allocations will be issued in July (for learners starting before 1 May) and December (for new starts between May-Dec 2017) Providers should be reassured by the fact that current and future carry-in allocations will be based on assumption of 100% achievement rate.
- ESFA are fully committed to funding high quality apprenticeships and will continue to do so as indicated on page 7 of New non-levy apprenticeship starts for the period May 2017 to December 2017
- Providers who have a sensible approach to recruitment ie focussing on high quality apprenticeships in quantities which are demonstrably manageable in relation to their organisational resources, will be in prime position for growth allocations.
Calculated risk likely to be best approach
GMLPF concludes that the message coming from the ESFA is that providers who will be successful under the new funding arrangements are those who continue business as they have always done, taking a sensible, realistic approach to recruitment.
Whilst it may be an understandable kneejerk reaction in response to perceived cuts in funding, it seems likely that providers who reduce their operations or who step back from subcontracting will find themselves saddled with a restrictive delivery model that will not allow for growth when the opportunities come along shortly ie July and December
As with any industry sector, it is the businesses that take calculated risks in periods of uncertainty that are most likely to succeed
Raising awareness of impact of funding cuts
GMLPF remains committed to raising awareness of the negative impact of any funding cuts on providers, businesses, young people and the apprenticeships brand. This is outlined in our infographic cuts to non levy funding May 2017 which we encourage members to share with MPs and via social media.
Foundation for ongoing relations with ESFA
We are greatly encouraged that following Debbie Tagoe’s meeting with Paul Johnson, he is keen to further develop relations with GMLPF. He congratulated GMLPF on our evidence-based approach to outlining impact of cuts on providers, informed by the statistics gathered from our recent online member survey. He has indicated he would like to start a piece of work with GMLPF post-election on benefit realisation of apprentices, looking at local case studies.
Adult Education Budget
In addition, Paul Johnson confirmed that announcements about procurement results for the Adult Education Budget will be made after the election.