Government to clamp down on ‘apprenticeships’…

The definition of ‘apprenticeships’ is to be protected by law, in the same way that degrees are protected.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has confirmed that any unauthorised use of the term ‘apprenticeship’ will be illegal, as is currently the case with the term ‘degree’.

Training providers will have to meet certain requirements for a programme to qualify as an apprenticeship, including providing on-thejob training and a minimum of 30 hours work a week at the national minimum wage.

The Enterprise Bill will give the government the power to “take action” when the term is misused “to promote low quality courses”,BIS said.

Skills minister Nick Boles commented:

“If university graduates have their moment in the sun so should people who undertake apprenticeships.Businesses know their value so it’s high time they were recognised both by the public and in law as being equal to degrees.”

Mr Boles said that the government was on track to meet its target of creating three million apprenticeships by 2020, after more than 2.2 million had been created in the last
five years. This commitment would also be enshrined in law under the Enterprise Bill.

To help reach this target, Mr Boles has also announced that public bodies, including schools, hospitals, prisons and police forces will be set recruitment targets to take on more
apprentices, saying:

“We want far more employers to get involved in apprenticeships. This means making sure that we practice what we preach in government, so we’re going to require all public sector bodies to employ apprentices.”

...and announces new apprenticeship funding model

A new ‘digital voucher’ scheme is being developed to put employers in control of apprenticeship funding. The government says that the new digital apprenticeship voucher
will “simplify things” for employers and give them purchasing power over the government’s contribution to apprenticeship funding.

Under the voucher scheme, the employer will register their details on a system being developed by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA). The system will then calculate the discounted
rate at which employers can purchase training, which could be up to 100 per cent for 16- to 18-year-olds.

The employer will then be able to pass on the voucher code to the apprentice training provider, and the provider will reclaim the value of the voucher from the SFA. Under the
system, no funding would be given directly to employers.
Stewart Segal, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, said the system reflected the views of employers by giving them a choice of
provider. He said:

“We have yet to see the details behind the announcement but we would hope that the government is now talking about a simpler funding support from government that takes into account the various incentives proposed in the previous funding models rather than separate payments for each.”

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