Major Changes to Apprenticeships Coming into Effect Soon

There have been some important changes to how apprenticeships in England are run. These changes will come into effect in May 2017.  If you are thinking about or are starting an apprenticeship soon then read on for the latest information.

What exactly are the changes coming into effect in May 2017?

1) Apprenticeship funding (which affects employers.)
There are three major funding changes:
- The introduction of an Apprenticeship Levy.
- The introduction of an Online Apprenticeship Service.
- Employers who do not pay the levy will benefit from a co- investment rate from the government.

2) The introduction of apprenticeship standards (which affects the apprentices.)

What does this actually mean for the employers?
The new levy funding will only affect employers who pay an annual wage bill exceeding £3 million. These employers will automatically have to pay the levy, which in turn, can be used to train potential apprentices. The levy will be charged at 0.5% on the portion of the paybill above £3 million. The levy has to be paid monthly by the employers and they will have 24 months to use it. The money can be spent on programmes that will be made available via a brand new online Apprenticeship Service. This service will provide all the details of the providers and programmes which are available. The aim of the levy is to increase the number of apprenticeships available in England.

What about smaller companies? 
The companies who have an annual wage bill lower than £3 million will not have to pay the levy. What happens instead is that they pay 10% of the apprenticeship training costs and government will pay the other 90%. This co-investment will allow smaller companies to train apprentices.  If the company is even smaller (under 50 employees) then the government will pay all of the training costs (this is only if the company chooses to take on an apprentice who is between the ages of 16 and 18.)

What exactly are Apprenticeship ‘standards’?
Apprenticeship standards are the new format for assessing apprenticeships. Employers have developed them to be more focussed on occupational roles. This is so that they suit the needs of their sectors.

What is changing about the way apprentices will be assessed?
An ‘End Point Assessment’ has been added. As the name suggests it is carried out at the end of the apprenticeship. In order to complete the apprenticeship, apprentices will have to pass this assessment. Assessments will vary depending on the type of programme undertaken.

How does this affect you, the apprentice?
If you are a budding apprentice then you might be nervous about how all of these changes will affect you personally. There is no need to worry. Apprenticeships will still include in-depth training. Whilst the ‘End Point Assessments’ are new, you will be highly trained and prepared before you are put forward for the final assessments.

With apprenticeships gaining significantly more funding, they are certainly a path that really should be considered.
Education, recruitment and society are certainly heralding apprenticeships with greater regard than in the past. To find out more about apprenticeships that are avaliable, read our article on the diversification of the vocational qualification here, as well as our live apprenticeship board.

- By Hannah Foord

Tue 25 Apr 2017