EEF response to Apprenticeship Funding Reform

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EEF has responded to the BIS/DfE apprenticeship funding reform consultation.

Download the full submission below.

  • All businesses need a functional skills market, which meets the demands of all employers and this will only be achieved by shifting the balance of power towards the employer.
  • The outcome of this consultation must be higher quality apprenticeships, provision that is relevant and responsive to employers’ needs and increased demand for apprenticeships from learners.
  • As such government must rule out model 3, or any adaptations of model 3, where the funding continues to be paid directly to providers. Such a model is the status quo, which is provider driven and offers no incentive for providers to be responsive to industry needs.In addition, there is no incentive for providers to offer high quality training and employers are unable to hold them to account.
  • There is a clear consensus from manufacturers to shift the funding away from the provider and towards the employer. Government must then take forward a model where the funding is routed through the employer.
  • By placing the funding in the hands of the employer, the employer becomes the customer, with the ability to choose their apprentice, provider and framework, and demand the provision the business needs, hold providers to account and negotiate a price for the training.
  • However, at this early stage, we are unable to favour either Models 1 or 2 without further explanation and detail of the mechanisms used to achieve this.
  • During consultation with members, it has become clear that there is divided opinion on which is the best model to take forward. In addition, there are potential models which could be used to direct funding through the employer and these should be explored also.
  • Finally, manufacturers would be in a better position to support a specific model, if they were better informed about the intended reforms to the wider apprenticeship system. Many concerns amongst manufacturers have been on the infrastructure surrounding the apprenticeship system, and its complexity.
  • This has to some degree taken the focus away from funding reform. This consultation presents models of how to route funding through the employer, but offers limited information on the practical steps that an employer would need to take to access this funding.

Author

Head of Education & Skills Policy

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