In 2013 the Government consulted on three different options for funding Apprenticeships. None of these options received the full support of employers or the support of any other of the stakeholders in the sector.

As a result, ministers have included in their most recent consultation another option for routing funding directly to employers. It utilises online bank accounts for employers to manage what they call an Apprenticeship Credit. This moves away from a system that links into the PAYE system and becomes a stand-alone system for managing direct payments to some 200,000 employers.

We have argued from the start of this review that employers, especially smaller employers or those with very few apprentices, will not want to manage these funds directly. They are currently very satisfied with the fact they make the key decisions whist working with a training provider of their choice. Quoting from the government's own research, employers are 'satisfied with the amount of influence they have' and 'other employers were resistant to the idea of funding being routed through them'.

AELP's position has always been that employers should have a choice as to whether they route the funding through their own contract if they can meet the assurance and quality requirements or work with a training provider who provides them with that service. The driver for AELP is employer choice.

In its new Technical Consultation, the government sets out the proposals for an Apprenticeship Credit run through bank accounts which, in AELP's view, would not fare any better when it comes to engaging more businesses in the programme. The idea looks as complex as the previous PAYE model. This is compounded by the confirmation that the government wants to press on with compulsory employer cash contributions for the cost of the training which will be a further barrier to entry for employers and will affect the recruitment of younger apprentices who are clearly a group that require even more support..

We are left in a position where we are lobbying against the latest proposals even though AELP shares the government's original objectives for building on the success of the programme which now has over 850,000 apprentices in training. The principal objectives of the changes were to increase the number of employers offering Apprenticeships, giving employers more 'ownership' over the programme and making the system simpler for employers to navigate. As important is the objective that the changes must benefit the apprentices themselves, many of whom are young people starting their first career role.

Everyone agrees that many more employers could gain benefit from Apprenticeships. As previous BIS research has shown, it is also clear that most employers get involved in the programme through a discussion with an approved training provider so the focus for change should be on engaging employers, not on the funding of the system. We believe that a number of actions would improve the perception and understanding of the Apprenticeship programme and provide a better flow of applicants through the system, such as:

• improving careers advice and guidance for all

• a programme to support young people that fail in their Apprenticeship applications process

• making Traineeships the overarching programme for entry to work and make the programme more flexible for providers and learners including the removal of restrictions on benefit rules

• simplifying the funding rules and making them transparent for employers

• giving employers the choice of a direct contract or to work with a provider

• ensuring employers sign off the progress of learners and their programme completion and

• ensuring the employers understand they can choose the provider of their choice at any stage of the programme.

These changes would drive employer choice and commitment and would encourage more employers to get involved with Apprenticeships. The evidence set out in the most recent consultation is that most employers (especially smaller employers) 'prefer the provider payment model as it would generate the smallest administrative burden'.

This is why AELP is urging providers to encourage their local employers to respond to the new consultation over the next eight weeks with them making the point that a choice over how the employer wishes to be funded must be kept open. Without a major rethink, fewer Apprenticeships opportunities will be available to young people who really need them.

Stewart Segal is chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

#SkillsWorldLive Video: Why is it important to have diversity in apprenticeships?

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page