Traineeship funding boost for providers and employers

GMLPF members will no doubt have read about the recent statement from the Treasury announcing funding for an extra 30,000 traineeships from September. The story featured yesterday in FE News, on the BBC website and various other media outlets.

Financial incentive

The package includes a £1000 financial incentive for employers to offer a traineeship place and a 55% boost in provider payment for 19-24-year-olds on the programme. Also, unlike previously, the scheme will now be open to those with level 3 qualifications. The details of the proposal are to be released tomorrow as part of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s economic plan for recovery post-COVID.

Concerns

Of course, GMLPF welcomes the announcement of Government investment in the skills sector as a method for tackling the inevitable increase in unemployment. We will be supporting members to understand how the additional funding can be accessed. However, we recognise also that there will be some legitimate concerns to raise and consider. These include:

  • The inevitable negative impact on 16-18-year-olds who are suitable for traineeships but do not attract the new employer incentive for 19 to 24-year-olds
  • We welcome the limits on payments per employer but need to know more about safeguards to ensure public money is spent appropriately and delivers strong social value and value for money
  • Traineeships are designed to lead to apprenticeships and employment; in the current economic climate, there is a real danger that these positions will not be available to trainees once they complete their placements.
  • Many are suggesting that funding would best be spent incentivising employers to engage with apprenticeships.
  • Traineeships are designed to lead to apprenticeships, but the scheme will now be open to those with level 3 qualifications.
  • Arguments that the focus on traineeships will impact on the take-up of T-Levels

We will be considering the implications in more depth following the full announcement tomorrow, in preparation for a consultation with members.

ESFA Provider Recovery Scheme: Round Two

The ESFA launched its Provider Relief Scheme late last week. To be eligible to receive support from the scheme you must hold a direct contract that was procured as a service under Public Contract Regulations 2015. This applies to apprenticeship contracts for services that commenced in January 2018, for delivery to smaller employers that do not pay the levy (non-levy), and adult education budget contracts for services that commenced in November 2017.

The Provider Relief Scheme will provide financial support over the period July to October 2020. Organisations who were unsuccessful in bidding into the scheme in Round 1 may still be eligible for support.

Eligibility Criteria

In addition to holding an eligible contract you will be required to meet the following conditions:

  • 2018 to 2019 qualification achievement rates which are above 40%. However, providers with rates below that can submit an exceptional case that they are a critical supplier based on niche provision. Further information on the criteria for exception cases can be found in the application guidance
  • Have submitted their latest financial accounts to the ESFA where these are due by 19 June 2020
  • Not been judged by Ofsted as making insufficient progress as a result of a new provider monitoring visit which resulted in a suspension on new starts
  • Delivered under the contract prior to April 2020
  • Continue to plan to deliver learning under the contract in July, August, September and October 2020, and demonstrate the ability to continue to deliver without additional support from November
  • You have not furloughed the staff required to deliver the contract (you are eligible to apply to the Relief Scheme if staff are fully or partially withdrawn from any claim for furlough if such a claim has been made when they return to work); and
  • Not received a notice of termination from the ESFA either terminate the provider’s AEB or non-levy contract
  • Training providers who are delivering deliver apprenticeships to smaller employers (non-levy) and who have a contract with ESFA, must also be listed on the register of apprenticeship training providers (RoATP) as a main provider.

Only training providers who meet the scheme criteria will be eligible to receive support under the Relief Scheme. If a training provider in receipt of support from the Relief Scheme no longer meets the criteria, they will cease to be eligible.

Providers will need to demonstrate that they have a need for the funding requested in order to maintain capacity within their organisations to support learners and respond to economic recovery. They will also need to explain how they are going to update and change delivery models to operate without further relief from November 2020.

Please note: the deadline for applications is midnight 9th July.

GMLPF will review the documentation provide and run a short webinar as we did with Round 1 on Wednesday 1st July at 2pm. To attend this webinar, please join from the link within the GMLPF e-bulletin sent on 29th June.

 

View additional information on the scheme on Government website

 

 

Recovery Planning Workshops slides

GMLPF ran three recovery planning workshops recently. The purpose of the workshops was to raise awareness of the LCR Recovery Plan, its themes and priorities, and to consult with members on how the plans might be improved. The workshops were themed on Apprenticeships, NEET & young people, and unemployed & adults in work. Members can download slides from the workshop below

Apprenticeships

NEET & young people 

Unemployed & adults in work

All systems go

GMLPF launch All Systems Go campaign to boost regional apprenticeship growth

This week, GMLPF will launch a Liverpool City Region apprenticeships awareness campaign Apprenticeships: All Systems Go primarily targeting employers and school leavers. The campaign uses the concept of a rocket launch, with visuals in GMLPF colours executed in 1950s-style design. Key messages provide an anchor to the design concept, encouraging employers to use apprenticeships to launch their recovery, and school leavers to use apprenticeships to launch their career.

Aims of All Systems Go Apprenticeship campaign 

The campaign aims to:

  1. Reassure employers, individuals, parents and intermediaries that apprenticeship providers are open and geared up to recruiting and delivering in line with Government Covid-safe guidelines
  2. Promote apprenticeships as an ideal tool for helping businesses recover post lockdown
  3. Promote apprenticeships as viable a career option as ever at 16 and beyond
  4. Encourage intermediaries to promote apprenticeships
Apprenticeships All Systems Go campaign components

The campaign consists of digital posters, social media activity, and web content including promotion of current apprenticeship vacancies, and apprenticeship case studies. We will also be distributing material to intermediaries including schools, careers advisors and other agencies, encouraging them to participate in the campaign.

This campaign is primarily an awareness-raising campaign, not a lead generation campaign. It has been designed to provide a context and support any tailored promotional campaigns being run by individual providers. We invite all GMLPF members and partners to make the most of the campaign as follows:

  • Download posters and share digitally, or print and display
  • Share GMLPF posts on your own social media platforms using hashtags: #Apprenticeships #AllSystemsGo and the following key messages: Launch Your Recovery with Apprenticeships (for employers), and Launch Your Career with Apprenticeships (for school leavers and other individuals)
  • Provide GMLPF with examples of case studies and any good news stories we can share as part of the campaign eg apprentices undertaking key work during lockdown; apprenticeship recruitment drives etc
Call to action

GMLPF CEO Ian Lomas marks the launch of the campaign with an invitation to regional businesses to embrace apprenticeships as a key tool for a post-lockdown recovery in Liverpool City Region:

Apprenticeship providers in Liverpool City Region are open for business and fully equipped to help firms recruit and train apprentices both virtually and face-to-face, in line with Government safety guidelines. As we know, Apprenticeships embed new skills and efficiency into business, and are therefore a key tool for boosting recovery in the region. I urge employers to factor apprentice recruitment into their recovery plans – now is the time to recruit and work with the wealth of talent available through the Apprenticeship programme!

The call to action for the campaign is to find out more about apprenticeships through usual Government channels. Messaging on social media will encourage audiences to contact their local apprenticeship provider. The campaign will continue for four weeks. We urge providers to make the most of the campaign by undertaking their own marketing activity during this period.

Downloads

Download digital employer poster

Download digital school leaver poster

Download twitter school leaver graphic

Download twitter employer graphic

Download FB/Instagram school leaver graphic

Download FB/Instagram employer graphic

Careers Connect and marketing training offers

Career Connect plays a valuable role at a local level, working with LAs and Schools, to work with those who are NEET or at risk of becoming NEET. They remain a useful vehicle for promoting programmes such as Study Programme, Traineeships and Apprenticeships.

It is clear that, even with resources such as LCR Learn, they are not as familiar as they might be with the range of providers and provision that exist locally. Also, they do not always possess information on who is the best person to talk to within a provider. To that end, and to ensure that Career Connect, have current information on providers and leads within the organisation, I am proposing to draft a provider and lead person list that can be used by Career Connect in conjunction with LCR Learn to help them provide advice on the range of providers and provision and, by extension, opportunities, that exist locally.

If you would like your organisation’s information to be shared with Career Connect then please send me details of a lead person within your organisation (name, phone and e-mail details) along with a statement confirming your consent to share this information with Career Connect only. This is to ensure compliance with GDPR  rules. This will help them ensure that any referrals are channelled to the right person in a timely fashion.

This Career Connect NCS Update may be of interest to members who are working with or come across, individuals who require advice and guidance that you might not be able to offer at the moment

GMLPF Infographic: Impact of COVID-19 on Apprentices

In the week commencing 20th April 2020, GMLPF undertook research into the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the employment and training status of apprentices in the Liverpool City Region. As part of our suite of COVID-19 communication materials, we have produced an information sheet illustrating the findings of this research.

These figures on this infographic are approximate and based on assumptions drawn from research with a sample of GMLPF members. This information is intended to provide an insight only into emerging trends. These figures and trends may change as more providers respond.

Download

GMLPF infosheet: Putting Apprentices on Furlough

As part of our suite of COVID-19 communication materials, we have produced an information sheet about apprenticeships and furloughing. The information sheet targets employers and aims to raise the awareness of furloughing as an option for employers to consider before making apprentices redundant. It also points out the disadvantages of breaks in learning.

We encourage members to share this with their employers.

Download

Members concerns about Coronavirus/Covid-19

The UK Government confirmed yesterday that it is remaining in the “containment stage” of its response to the coronavirus. Measures to delay the spread of the virus i.e. “social distancing” will not be introduced yet.

Notwithstanding that, a number of members have raised issues about this including; the need to work intensively with learners to allay their fears, the financial implications of a protracted pandemic, the practical challenges that providers (particularly those delivering work-based learning support) might face in engaging and supporting learners.

Clearly, as we have seen in other countries and Italy in particular, the number of cases that are reported in the UK is likely to increase significantly and will have an impact on learning providers and their ability to deliver learning programmes.

GMLPF is liaising with DfE, the Combined Authority and Ofsted to obtain and then disseminate any updates that they may have. These will be circulated as and when they are published. In the meantime, members should follow national updates by visiting this site which has some very practical information on the virus, how to delay it and what to do if anybody develops an illness as a result of contracting the virus. The guidance is largely focused on public health messages, in line with Public Health England’s core guidance.

 

Coronavirus break in learning guidance

DfE yesterday published some interim guidance that will allow apprentices to have a break in learning if they cannot be assessed due to the coronavirus. At the moment this only applies to apprentices who have reached the gateway and those who have gaps in learning due to coronavirus. A break in learning will apply where there has been a break of four weeks or more. The DfE guidance is set out below:

  1. Apprentices who are ready for assessment – i.e. who reach gateway and cannot be assessed due to assessor illness or Covid-19 related measures, will be allowed to have a break in learning. This should protect funding and completion of apprenticeships and should be reflected in the July completion rules.  The normal breaks in learning process should be followed and therefore we only need notifying once a break in learning has exceeded 4 weeks.  A break in learning must occur before the learner is recorded as completed.  Apprentices can go on a break in learning between completing the learning activity (learning actual end date) and the assessment, but there would be no requirement to record in this in the ILR as it will not have an effect on funding.
  2. Apprentices who experience gaps in training due to Covid-19 related illness in the workplace or off the job can classify this period as a break in learning.  The normal breaks in learning process should be followed and therefore we only need notifying once a break in learning has exceeded 4 weeks.
  3. Usually, breaks in learning are only permitted where they are learner-driven, however, we are aware that there may be occasion where an employer who is following government advice may take action that results in an apprenticeship have to be paused.  In these occasions, a break in learning can be used where there will be a break of longer than 4 weeks. The normal breaks in learning process should be followed.
  4. DfE advises adhering to the current escalation process of raising EPA (end-point assessment) issues through EQAPs (external quality assurance providers) in the first instance.

DfE emphasised that there “is a need for everyone (employer, provider, EPAO, Apprentice) to take a reasonable and balanced approach in these situations and to recognise that the health and wellbeing of individuals is a higher priority than performance measures”. 

It is understood that the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) will shortly be publishing guidance for this area in response to potential disruption from Covid-19.

If you have any queries or concerns please do contact us and we can raise this with authorities and other bodies such as AELP.

In the meantime, there may be merit in members revisiting and updating their Business Continuity Plans to help them identify levels of risk and put in place contingency measures to ensure that the risk of business disruption is minimised.

Risks, as they stand, include: staff contracting the illness and being unable to work or close family members contracting Covid-19 and the family having to self-isolate, learners developing symptoms and learning providers having to close temporarily to deep clean or close for a longer period, employers seeing sickness levels spike and being reluctant to release learners for OTJ training or in extreme cases not allow providers access to their premises. There is a risk that learners may take longer to complete their learning and that providers might not be able to recruit employers or learners to profile. Both of these have scenarios might impact on provider cash flow.

As part of their business continuity planning, members at this time might wish to explore the scope for making greater use of IT and remote delivery, home working etc to overcome some of the issues associated with coronavirus

Alongside this, there are clearly some practical measures that providers can take within their own organisations such as increasing the frequency of building cleaning and communal areas in particular, making available more cleaning products (liquid soaps in the absence of sanitising products), messaging to staff and learners etc