More than three out of four apprenticeships (76 per cent) are delivered by independent training providers, according to new research.
The Freedom of Information data obtained by the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), reveals the important role independent training providers (ITPs) play in the delivery of the government’s flagship skills programme.
Commenting on the data findings, AELP CEO Mark Dawe said: “The new data should leave no one in doubt that it is independent training providers who have been driving the apprenticeship agenda. These are the providers who have had the relationships with employers and have been responsive to employers’ needs and the programme’s development.
“Therefore if the government wants the apprenticeship reforms to work, the key constituency around the table needs to be the ITPs.
“Of course the debate must involve employers, colleges and universities.
“However, if you want to understand how to make an apprenticeship programme work and how to respond to employers’ and learners’ needs, then it is the providers with 79 per cent good or better Ofsted grades and really high employer and learner satisfaction ratings that government and employers should be working with.
“Colleges looking to run successful apprenticeship provision in a locality should be partnering with the experts – ITPs!”
As part of its reforms, the government wants more employers offering apprenticeships and this has to include channelling the funding to the providers best placed to serve these employers. Levy payers will also be able to pick their provider of choice which is likely to change the amount of directly funded delivery.
Before the levy starts in April 2017, AELP is calling on ministers to ensure that the funding allocation system better rewards the providers who can directly deliver apprenticeship starts for both levy payers and the smaller levy-exempt businesses.
The quality assurance safeguards being put in place in the form of a new register of apprenticeship providers should ensure that more direct allocations to providers who can deliver apprenticeships will result in increased programme starts without quality being compromised.
Last year, there were 499,900 starts in the apprenticeship programme. The government is aiming for an additional 100,000 starts a year to achieve the Prime Minister’s three million target in this Parliament, so more employers will be needed to offer new opportunities.