So… where are we since the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced?
Here at ITEC, we have been preparing ourselves and our employers for the Apprenticeship Reforms for the past couple of years. The ways in which Apprenticeships are delivered and funded have both changed dramatically. ITEC staff have been attending the readiness groups for the new standards and preparing for the funding changes from the Government Agency.
The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced on 1st April 2017, with all new Apprenticeship starts from the 1st May being funded either through the levy or via the non-levy contracting system. Levy funds are added to the employer’s digital account on the Apprenticeship Service and allocated per apprentice to the training provider, e.g. ITEC.
There were some initial challenges when the Agency cancelled the non-levy tendering process due to commence on 1st May and extended the sub-contracting process. We were then advised that our prime contractors, South Essex College and Colchester Institute, had not been given sufficient non-levy funding for themselves let alone their sub-contractors but, with some careful planning, they were able to find some funding to support ITEC’s non-levy paying employers.
Needless to say, April and May were very quiet and we spent this time reassuring our employers to stick with Apprenticeships During June, July and August, we helped some levy paying employers to make sense of the new system and utilise their funding to engage with apprenticeships. At the moment, we have 16 employers and their apprentices signed up for the new system and several more in the pipeline.
At the end of July, we calculated our success rates and are very pleased to report that they remain excellent at 86.33% averaged across the last 3 years.
As a small, specialised and local IT provider, we aim to meet the needs of apprentices and businesses within a 30-mile radius of our centre in Basildon. Our specialist training programmes for apprentices and employees include IT Practitioner, IT Professional, IT Infrastructure Technician, Cyber Security, Unified Communications Support/Troubleshooter, Digital and Business administration.
We still have another challenge to face with non-levy funding, in that the Agency launched a new tendering process for non-levy starts for funding from January 2018. After changing the parameters of the tender right in the middle of the process, we will not know if we have been successful until December 2017! However, with the support of our 2 prime contractors, we hope to meet the needs of all non-levy paying employers until all businesses are on the digital Apprenticeship Service, expected April 2019.
If you need any help accessing apprenticeship funding for your employees or to support recruitment, whether a levy payer or a small business, ITEC can help. Contact Toni Marshall on 01268 286929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help or point you in the right direction to get further help!