Thank you to all members who took the time to complete our survey last month. The results will help us continue to deliver the services you have said are particularly useful, and show us that over the past 12 months we have been on the right track in delivering what members need. Key findings can be viewed below.
Transfer of levy funds
As of the beginning of April, Levy paying employers can now transfer up to 25% of their annual levy funds to other organisations to use for apprenticeships training and assessment. Previously the transfer limit was 10%. Certain conditions apply.
Guidance on levy transfer
Decrease in co-investment rate for non-levy payers
From 1st April, non-levy paying employers will be required to make just a 5% contribution to training and assessment costs for their apprentices, with the Government covering 95% costs. Previously employers were required to make 10% contribution
Fire it Up Communications Toolkit
Some providers linked in with the national apprenticeship Fire It Up campaign during National Apprenticeship Week by adopting the modified apprenticeships logo and linking in with other aspects of the campaign. The Fire It Up campaign is ongoing and there are full branding guidelines available to download with links to logos.
Download branding guidelines
LIverpool Provider Network facilitated a workshop last week to consider and discuss the recently published Liverpool City Council draft NEET Reduction Strategy; “Inspiring:Engaging:Progressing”
Following the workshop, GMLPF has produced a draft consultation response incorporating members’ views. Anybody wishing to add further comments can do by e-mailing email@example.com by midday Wednesday 6th March.
Download LPN/GMLPF Response to draft LCC Inspiring Engaging Progressing Strategy
Building on the Functional Skills Reform workshop we ran in December with NCFE CACHE, a number of useful mapping documents have been produced by CACHE that will be of use to both Tutors and Management Teams in providers. These mapping documents detail the key changes for each area of functional skills, details of what has changed level and what content is new in each area.
The links below take you to set of PDF resources which will be invaluable in preparing for the introduction of Functional Skills Reform in September 2019.
Entry Level 1
Entry Level 2
Entry Level 3
Entry Level 1
Entry Level 2
Entry Level 3
GMLPF is delivering the ASK programme (Apprenticeship Support and Knowledge) this year in Halton, Liverpool, St Helens and Sefton. Jan Agger, who is working for GMLPF on this project, has been visiting schools in these areas to deliver activities which improve students’ and teachers’ understanding of Apprenticeships
At the end of Quarter 1 (August to November), GMLPF had engaged with 19 schools, of which 9 had not previously participated in the ASK programme. This suggests that schools are increasingly interested in understanding more about Apprenticeships.
Over 2000 school pupils have benefited
To date, GMLPF has delivered 31 information and activity sessions in schools to a total of 2229 students, 96 teachers and 122 parents. In addition, we have helped 364 individuals register onto the Find An Apprenticeship service portal.
Looking forward to 2019, GMLPF will be targeting schools who haven’t participated, showing their year 11 to 13 students how to register on the national Find An Apprenticeship website and apply for opportunities. We will be capitalising on the promotional opportunities presented by National Apprenticeship Week 2019 and forthcoming regional Skills Shows.
We will also be targeting specialist schools to ensure their students have access to Apprenticeships information and support. This ties in with other work GMLPF is doing to address SEND issues.
It would appear that the timetable for the devolution of the AEB budget is running to plan. The orders and instruments approving the devolution of AEB will be put to the House of Commons next week and the LCR should then be able to move to the first stage of the procurement process, the Supplier Questionnaire, towards the end of the month, as outlined at the 20th August event.
Collaborative Working and AEB
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority are hosting a workshop on 16th October at 1.00pm to explore how collaborative working might support the involvement of smaller or niche providers in the AEB programme which is being devolved to the LCR. In particular, the event will enable the Combined Authority and providers to understand more about how smaller providers can work to meet the requirements of the commissioning process. This event is an opportunity for all interested providers to network and hear about our vision for this programme. It is envisaged that the devolved AEB will have minimum contract value of £100,000 detailed as part of the commissioning process.
Reserve your place at this event
It would be nice to think at some point that we might enter a period of “settled weather” with Apprenticeships and that instead of the constant flow of negative press we might actually be able to look upon the “sunlit uplands” and move towards the future with confidence. No such luck this week. Our ability to grow Apprenticeships and return to the days where some 18,000 individuals were starting an Apprenticeship locally seems as far away and distant as ever
Tripadvisor-style reviews for Apprenticeships
Firstly, we have the Skills Minister endorsing the use of a “smiley face” online review tool, akin to Trip Advisor (but probably or certainly without all the back office support), enabling employers and apprentices to provide feedback on learning providers as a more accurate and effective judge of the quality of a learning provider than Ofsted. Whilst providers are used to being scrutinised and accountable, and having their provision graded by customers and Ofsted, this just doesn’t seem like it should be one of the Government’s key priorities at the moment. Surely stimulating demand for Apprenticeships should be the priority.
Then, at the Conservative Party conference, there was little clarity over whether RoATP is going to be refreshed and how the Apprenticeship programme is going to be given a shot of adrenaline other than the suggestion of expanding the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Facility to 25% instead of the current 10%. The latter doesn’t seem to have been particularly effective or even used to date so expanding it is unlikely to change the landscape. The continued uncertainty over whether there will be a refresh of RoATP is affecting many providers and clarity over the refresh would be welcome.
Hairdressing funding rate cut
Finally, the IFA’s recent announcements that some Standards’ funding rates are going to be cut, some by over 20%, is another unwelcome move at this point in the cycle. A 22% reduction in the rate for the Hairdressing Standard, assuming that EPA costs remain the same, means that in real terms the funding of Standards is now less than that of the old Framework. Whilst decisions have been put on hold for the management qualifications it seems odd that the IFA have sought to reduce rates for the Standards in those areas that are the most popular, in demand and which are currently propping up the number of Apprenticeship Starts nationally.