Apprenticeship Reform Overview

In 2017 changes have been made to the way apprenticeship funding works in the UK. The main changes include:

  • Introducing the apprenticeship levy.
    The reason for its introduction is to help government meet its target of an additional 3 million apprenticeships by 2020. It should help to deliver the new apprenticeships and support quality training by making employers more central to the process. Once employers have contributed they can access these funds to pay for Apprenticeship Training for new or existing staff. It will only affect approx.2% of UK employers. These will be organisations with an annual pay bill in excess of £3 million and they will be required to contribute to the Levy by paying 0.5% of their annual payroll directly to HMRC through the PAYE process.
  • Introducing the apprenticeship service which is an online service that allows Levy paying employers to choose and pay for apprenticeship training more easily.
  • Introducing a new ‘co-investment’ rate to support employers who do not have to pay the levy. Employers who are not eligible for the Levy can still offer Apprenticeships with the government paying for 90% of the training and the employer paying the remaining 10%.

The levy will not affect the way employers fund training for apprentices who started an apprenticeship programme before 1 May 2017. These employers will carry on funding training for these apprentices under the terms and conditions that were in place at the time the apprenticeship started.

In addition to the Levy there have been changes to the apprenticeships on offer and how and by whom they are delivered and assessed.

  1. There are now 2 different types of apprenticeships to choose from: Apprenticeship standards - each standard covers a specific occupation and sets out the core skills, knowledge and behaviours an apprentice will need; they are developed by employer groups known as trailblazers Apprenticeship frameworks - a series of work-related vocational and professional qualifications, with workplace- and classroom-based training
  2. Independent end-point assessment has been introduced to the delivery of apprenticeships
    • the move to independent end-point assessment at the end of the apprenticeship programme is probably the most significant reform in the changes to delivering apprenticeships
    • At the end of an apprenticeship, the apprentice goes through a 'gateway' process where they are signed-off by their employer as ready for a final assessment. The end-point assessment will test that they can perform in the occupation in a fully competent, holistic and productive way. It will be graded (in most cases) and the Independent Assessment Organisation (IAO) and assessor must be independent of, and separate from, the training provided by the provider and employer.
    • Any organisation who delivers end-point assessment must be recognised on the register of apprenticeship assessment organisations (RoAAO).
  3. A register of approved Training Providers (RoATP’s) has been set up. Any organisation that wants to deliver apprenticeship training has to apply to be listed on this register. Organisations are not able to access levy funding to deliver apprenticeship training if they are not listed, this includes employers. For providers, this will apply whether the contract is with a levied employer or a non-levied employer.