Apprenticeship Reforms – 2017, a nightmare year of changes, our ‘Annus Horribilis’


Here at ITEC, after 34 years of working with local employers and training young people, we can honestly say that 2017 has been a year like no other! It has officially been our ‘Annus Horribilis’!

Christmas 2016, just 12 short months ago, we had prepared and submitted our bid to deliver apprenticeships for employers who would not be paying the new apprenticeship levy, coming in April 2017.   We were excited about getting our own contract and identity back after 14 years of enforced subcontracting from larger colleges.   We were finally going to be back on the map as ITEC Learning Technologies, a specialist provider of IT Apprenticeships in Essex.  This aspiration suffered a serious setback in March 2017, when the Government announced the ‘pause’ on the tendering process.

Apprenticeship_Employers_BadgeThe Apprenticeship Reforms kicked in on May 1st 2017 with no details on contracts and funding to support non-levy paying employers.   Colleges did not have sufficient funding in their own contracts to support sub-contractors and ITEC, along with our loyal employers, were left in limbo.   AELP, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, were lobbying hard to make some sense of what was going on and trying their best to get some funding for smaller training providers.   At one point, trying to find funding for apprenticeships for small employers in Essex was likened to trying to find a new Nintendo Switch to buy, as they were rushing off the shelves of local stores.

ITEC was finally provided with a small allocation from our local college and we were back in business for smaller employers.   However, our employers were getting disillusioned and were considering whether to continue supporting apprenticeships or not and some had starting drifting away, making the decision not to recruit this year.

 

Josh Barwick close up

Joshua Barwick, ITEC Apprectice, receives his Apprentice of the Year Award 2017

In the meantime, we had a lot of interest from larger employers, who, having found themselves paying this new unwanted levy, (read ‘tax’) realised they could use this funding to attract new staff and train them up with ITEC.  The apprenticeship would even provide IT professional vendor qualifications with CompTIA, Cisco and Microsoft.  We spent the summer of 2017 working with these larger employers and introducing them to the benefits of apprenticeships.

 

In August 2017, the non-levy bid opened up again and the ‘pause’ was removed.  The new bid was much more stringent and challenging than the first one and our management team spent a few weeks putting the bid together.   Our success rates have been at 85% consistently for the past 3 years so we were happy to provide this information for the bid.  The goalposts were moved slightly just at the time of submitting our bid in early September, but after a manic text conversation between ITEC managers and the CEO, who was trying to enjoy a glass of Prosecco in a hotel bar in Sorrento, a conclusion was reached and our new bid submitted.   Then came the waiting game…………

Finally, just last week, on the 8th December, we finally received the good news that we were hoping for.   ITEC has received its own contract to provide apprenticeships to non-levy paying employers from January 1st 2018.   As a small, not-for-profit, specialised training provider, community matters here and ITEC puts people first.  Local really means ‘local’ with our training centre in the heart of the District in Burnt Mills Road, Basildon.

So, whether you are a small to medium non-levy paying employer or whether you are a large levy paying employer, ITEC can assist with your IT and Business Apprenticeship requirements.   Toni Marshall is on hand to help with recruitment, initial assessment and sign-up of your apprentice.  Call her on 01268 286929 or email toni@iteclt.co.uk.   Our team of delivery specialists can assist with training course content, matching job specifications to the apprenticeship standards and planning the apprenticeship journey.   Our training schedule for the first half of 2018 is available and our delivery team are ready to deliver their technical courses to your apprentices now.

Huawei AINew for 2018 – ITEC Learning Technologies has the first Huawei-approved trainer in the UK.  Our Huawei training academy is now open for other schools and colleges to train their IT trainers paid for by Huawei.  Contact Kirk Redhead on 01268 286929 or email kirk@iteclt.co.uk for further details.  Hurry, the free of charge training from Huawei is for a limited period.

 

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