The announcement of the Apprenticeship Levy in George Osborne’s budget statement in November 2015 caught many businesses by surprise. The upcoming launch is generating a huge number of column inches, arguing whether it has the potential to re-generate a flagging skills system or will have little or no impact.

Whatever your opinion, and despite many forecasting that it wouldn’t happen in 2017, the launch of the Apprenticeship Levy is now just around the corner. The Digital Apprenticeship Service is in full testing and looking strong, the Registers of Apprenticeship Providers and Assessment Organisations are being created and the threads of the government’s creation are coming together.

So what will the final garment look like when we hold it up to the light? Will it be a beautiful silk shirt or a string vest? The reality is that we just don’t know but we can make some fairly educated predictions for what 2017 holds.

Prediction 1 - More tortoise than hare

In all likelihood, we will see a slow but steady start. Conversations with my peers in other sectors suggest that the schemes will probably not be fully operational by May, and we will need to continue to rely on existing frameworks for some time to come, due in part to the length approval process for new standards. Many sectors have also struggled to work together to develop common standards and will therefore approach the May deadline with insufficient “product” on the shelf.

Prediction 2 – Growing numbers

In spite of the slow progress being made in creating new standards, businesses will grow the number of apprenticeships they offer. The government’s three million start target looks fairly safe based on the conversations I have had with peers over the past number of months. Few have said they will take a hit and treat it as a tax and most have said they will develop existing or new programmes to invest in their workforces. Whether this translates to more apprenticeship hires remains questionable, with many likely to focus on existing staff development. This may lead to displacement of existing L&D spend but in my view this is likely to be a positive displacement with short term training being replaced with more sustained development leading to recognised qualifications.

Prediction 3 – Focus on higher end skills

For me, the single biggest positive of recent governmental reform is the introduction of the Degree Apprenticeship. It allows businesses to invest in higher level skills with a wide range of great HE institutions. The old system was tarnished by too many low quality, low level qualifications with very few higher apprenticeship progression pathways. This is slowly being addressed although the number of degree apprenticeship standards remains too low; this is something businesses need to address through their Trailblazer groups with support from HE Institutions.

Prediction 4 – Shake out in provision

The move to end assessment and the introduction of Higher Apprenticeship standards will lead to a fundamental shift in both who provides apprenticeships and what they will provide. I hope the days of very limited training delivery with a heavy focus on ongoing assessment are behind us, as employers looking to maximise the quantity and quality of training in their programmes. The new requirement for 20 per cent “off the job” training time certainly demonstrates this.

Prediction 5 – Under capacity in delivery

The scale of providers in the market has been historically controlled by the size of budgets allocated by SFA to providers. This has led to many small and medium size providers in the market and a fragmentation in the system. As a result, existing providers may well struggle to cope with the increased demand the Levy will generate (50 per cent of FTSE 100 do not have a programme at present but will be introducing one post Levy). New alliances will need to be formed particularly by those in both FE and HE to provide a more scalable delivery model and more consistent provision. The good news is that this is happening in pockets already with many colleges and HEIs considering developing local and even national offerings.

Prediction 6 – Parity of esteem but not just yet

There is a growing trend for recruitment through apprenticeship schemes rather than graduate programmes ,and this is likely to continue as university tuition fees rise and savvy young people look to gain a degree in a more cost effective way. However, his will take time for two reasons. Firstly, a huge cultural change is needed in schools and with parents who have seen university as the gold standard route to the best careers, raising awareness of alternative options like apprenticeships. Secondly and perhaps more importantly, there is a lack of degree standards available. This is a big inhibitor to creating parity and the creation of more standards at this level needs to continue to be the focus of DfE for some time to come. There are green shoots though, not least the recent approval of a degree standard in nursing.

Overall I am cautiously optimistic about what 2017 holds. I genuinely believe that we are heading in a positive direction but also predict that progress will be steady rather than spectacular and that there will be a few bumps in the road along the way. In answer to my earlier question, I foresee neither a silk shirt or a string vest – rather, more of a sensible jumper.

Mike Thompson, Head of Apprenticeships at Barclays

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 3 hours 23 minutes ago

Birmingham Based School’s IT excellence recognised by the Government’s Department for Education: Pheasey Park Farm… https://t.co/oybk5A5J4v
View Original Tweet

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 May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 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.

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.

Podcasts

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.

Events

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