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.
GMLPF is raising awareness of a forthcoming event for organisations who help individuals realise their full potential. The event is being held on 7th March from 10am to 3pm at Central Library on William Brown Street L3 8EW.
The free event introduces iCan, a new and innovative development from Windmills as part of a portfolio of activities, resources and tools to help people achieve their full potential. Members may find this a useful addition to their own strategies for supporting learners.
For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org Deadline for registration is 9am Wednesday 28th February. Lunch will be provided.
iCan Skills flyer A4
GMLPF would like to thank members for providing input into the development of the LCR Apprenticeship Growth Plan. Members have contributed through workshops and, more recently, a webinar held by GMLPF. Feedback was provided to the Combined Authority last week and a revised draft document is to be sent to the LCR Employment and Skills Board for consideration this week.
Read GMLPF response to LCR Draft Apprenticeship Growth Plan