From education to employment

Developing a new and more transparent apprenticeship funding model

Anna West, deputy director for apprenticeship funding and approvals

Testing out the #apprenticeship funding model @IfATechEd 

Anna West, deputy director for approvals and funding at the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute), reflects below on work with developing and testing a new and more transparent method for recommending funding for apprenticeships.

I would like to start off by saying thank you. We’ve had lots of really valuable engagement with organisations from across the sector during our consultation process on a new approach to recommending funding bands.

If you haven’t already done so already, please submit your responses by midnight on 6 October.

Through these improvements, we are aiming to create an approach which is more transparent, relies on independent evidence and has the flexibility to reflect the particular needs of different apprenticeships. This will also help more employers to benefit from apprenticeship levy funding by delivering overall value for money in the programme.

We are very much aware of the challenging environment with COVID-19, but think it is important to see through the process to a point where we create a system that works better for everyone.

The proposed approach

We ran a consultation in spring of this year, which was extended to take into account the pandemic. After listening to feedback and refining our approach we opened a second consultation in August.

The diagram below shows the steps taken in the proposed approach. Through the rates-based element the trailblazer employer group will receive an estimate based on costs of delivery derived from sector research. More detail on the rates used, as well as the independent research report which informed the model, are available on the consultation webpage. We are actively investigating how we can keep this evidence base current.

Where a trailblazer believes this is not an appropriate level of funding, our approach allows for flexibility through the variable element of the model. The trailblazer would submit information on factors which the independent research showed to be statistically significant in driving delivery costs.

This includes modes of training delivery, teaching salaries, consumables – covering materials and licences that do not last beyond the duration of the apprenticeship – and mandatory qualifications.

The approach and model are set out in more detail in the consultation, which is available on our website. This includes a narrated presentation which walks through the model.

As a reminder, funding bands can only cover the typical eligible costs for delivering the training and assessment of an apprenticeship standard, as set out in the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s Funding rules on the government website.


We are pleased to have already received offers of support for testing the model from organisations across the sector, including at our engagement events last week. We’re now ready to expand the testing of our proposed model on standards that are already live for delivery.

It’s important for us to test both the rates-based and variable elements of the model on standards to understand the impact.

An updated interim impact assessment was published with our current consultation, which sets out the impacts of funding bands using the proposed rates-based model. However, testing the variable element of the model will require us to get additional information from trailblazers or training providers.

During testing we would ask you to provide us with the type of information used for the ‘variable’ element of the new model, such as modes of delivery and consumable costs for at least one apprenticeship standard.

We will use this information to estimate the funding band that the proposed model would generate for the standard. This will help us understand the impact of the model and refine it further.

We will share details of the modelled funding band generated for the standard. Participating in this testing would not lead to a change in funding bands but would allow you to be more involved in how we refine the process.

Anna West, deputy director for approvals and funding at the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

To find out more or offer to support with testing, please contact the team as soon as possible on [email protected] no later than 5 October.

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