David Kitchen, Managing Director, The Leadership Team

The impact of the (unnecessary) RoATP process and the resultant pausing of the ITT tender raised a “common sense prevails” cheer from the ‘establishment’ of colleges and large contract holders. A ‘get out of jail free’ for many organisations who had not recognised the extent of the impending changes or adapted their business models to suit.

However, the contract extensions given for 2017 are less than expected and will still have a negative impact on those expecting apprenticeship growth.

Especially hard hit is a whole group of “sub-contractors” – ones that have built good businesses, ready for change, with excellent employer relationships and good data/quality systems that they have invested in ready to become ‘primes’ in their own right. Deferment of this contract is a real blow to this group of providers and could leave their businesses exposed to a considerable risk – quite possibly many of these good companies may go to the wall as a result.

To exacerbate the problem, the lower levels of contract extensions for (Primes in) 2017 means there will be less available to be subbed to these companies and therefore the supply line will run dry.

Of course, the Apprenticeship Levy is a huge opportunity, but early signs are that large companies are taking their time to both understand it and make decisions, partly influenced by the 24-month rule.

In addition to the above a whole new breed of providers have emerged over the past 2 years utilising Advanced Learner Loans. Whilst this has had some bad press because of the actions of a few (and there are some horror stories), there are some really good businesses with modern methods who have utilised this funding stream very successfully for themselves, their primes and their learners. With no sub-contracting now permitted on this stream and no apparent direct route for gaining contracts they are now left high and dry and potentially out of business also.

If AEB contracts are also deferred for another year as rumoured then all change is off the table and those that have prepared for change are losers.

Altogether a very sorry state of affairs and certainly not encouraging entrepreneurs to take risks, hire staff and invest in their businesses.

So, what happens next? We believe that organisations need to consider these options – well in advance of getting into serious financial trouble and potentially going under:

  1. Partnerships:Typically, providers focus on and sell their (often narrow) range of training to employers and do not embrace partnerships where another (trusted and proven) provider could deliver their specialist services to reciprocal clients. Good partnerships built on an open honest relationship can benefit the client and each of the training providers involved – there is also less risk of losing the client by offering a wider, value added service.With the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, businesses will need to embrace this approach as large employers will clearly have much wider, varied requirements.
  2. Mergers and Consolidations: It is a brave step to consider losing your own identity and joining up with another company. M&A’s are risky and do not work in many cases. However, this could be a good route to survival for many businesses and could create a much stronger joint business if the providers have complimentary skills, abilities and clients. This will require strong leadership, ego’s put to one side and an acceptance that your business is not currently worth as much as you would have hoped.
  3. Acquisitions: There is a great opportunity for larger organisations to ‘acquire’ smaller providers with good people, systems and client connections – at a low price reflective of market conditions. Enabling the survival of the smaller partner could strengthen the larger organisation and inject some new dynamism into its apprenticeship or Learner Loan activities.
  4. Commercial Revenues: Often, we see commercial training providers believe that their clients are not interested in funding, and funded providers think that customers “will not pay for training”. We have seen cases where a commercial provider and a funded provider in the same sector have a 30% overlap in their client bank each selling their services to the same clients.

People will pay if they value the service they receive.

We believe that if a good training provider does the job properly with an employer - through an organisational needs analysis and training needs analysis – they will uncover many needs and can present a coherent solution (with other partners) which includes some funded options. The introduction of the Levy will encourage this approach much more as the Levy is commercial business - many have not come to terms with this point as yet.

We strongly advise our clients to ensure that their overheads are covered by commercial revenues and therefore when the inevitable shift in policy and funding comes you will be resilient enough to adapt to the next round of change.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Managing Director, The Leadership Team

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 5 hours 21 minutes ago

#VirtualCoffee with David Gallagher and Gavin |...

#VirtualCoffee with David Gallagher and Gavin | 3rd Aug

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