Articles from Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP)

End point assessment: Why the IfA needs to get a grip

What do providers really want from an end point assessment organisation?  Recently AELP surveyed a significant number of training providers with regard to what were they looking for in an end point assessment organisation (EPAO) and we were somewhat surprised to see that price didn’t feature as their number one priority.  In fact it didn’t feature at number two or even number three in what providers look for in an assessment partner.

Ministerial Reply on the Non-levy Apprenticeship ITT Outcome

AELP Members will be aware from AELP's Countdown and the sector press that following the outcome of the most recent non-levy ITT, AELP wrote to ministers calling for an urgent review.  In particular, we drew attention to the absurdity of high quality training providers being left without a contract despite ‘passing’ the tender because their contract value had been pro-rated down below the minimum £200,000 threshold.

Disadvantaged young people left again without apprenticeship opportunities after re-run of controversial government procurement

High quality training providers and colleges including charities have been denied the opportunity by the government to continue offering apprenticeship training to disadvantaged young people.

The launch of the T level consultation

‘Government gets it right on work experience element of T levels but it must recognise level 2 attainment’

Coming to America – 5 million apprenticeships by 2020?

The USA is famously referred to as ‘the land of opportunity’, but is that true for UK providers? Earlier this month a trade mission of 15 delegates visited Washington DC, a trip organised by Frankin Apprenticeships and made up mainly of AELP members. At AELP we have seen a growing interest in our International Special Interest Group with an expanding number of members interested in overseas markets.

More flexibility needed in apprenticeship levy reforms to reverse poor start

Training leaders are calling on the government to urgently take forward the skills minister’s own acknowledgement that a more flexible approach is needed if the apprenticeship reforms are going to be the success they should be.  If the government is genuinely concerned about social mobility and productivity, then action needs to be taken.

Party conferences diary – social mobility or social justice, we want it

As a south London boy but not quite with the ‘grime’ accent to match, I had to mind my h’s during the party conference season. At Labour, it was okay to refer to social equality or mobility but some eyebrows were raised if I referred to equality at the Conservatives. Social justice put me on safer ground in Manchester and I’ll have my old bottle of Tippex ready according to where I send further copies of AELP’s recent submission on social mobility/equality/justice.

Apprenticeships as driver of social mobility

The unintended consequences of the Apprenticeship Reforms on the social equality of the young and the most disadvantaged. Time to act before a generation is lost.

Threat to social mobility posed by government’s own apprenticeship reforms

The government is in serious danger of undermining its own social mobility agenda unless it acts quickly to address significant bias in its apprenticeship reform programme and provide a boost to the number of traineeships available to young people.   In a major policy submission published by the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), training providers report that employers are reducing recruitment young apprentices aged under 19 and at lower rungs of the apprenticeship ladder before they can progress upwards.  In fact official government data revealed last week that only 15% of apprentices taken on since May of this year have been aged 16 to 18.    This is because the new levy funding system for apprenticeships has generated a perverse set of incentives which encourage employers to focus their programmes on adults and at management level instead.  But they also result in adults being given fewer opportunities in lower level apprenticeships to improve their skills.       The AELP paper says that people from disadvantaged backgrounds are let down by provision for improving their English and maths within an apprenticeship being funded at only half the classroom rate.   Many small businesses are resisting engagement in the apprenticeship programme since the new regime required them to make cash contributions towards the cost of the training and assessment, while employers of all sizes are frustrated with a new rule requiring that the off-the-job training within an apprenticeship must take up at least 20% of normal working hours.  These include NHS Trusts and commercial companies who say that they can’t afford to lose ‘productive’ workers for so long.   Despite positive comments from ministers and the Social Mobility Commission about its effectiveness, the government seems reluctant to commit the necessary funding to remove the shackles from the traineeship programme which places many young people often from the so-called NEET group in apprenticeships or sustainable employment.    AELP has therefore presented in its submission 14 issues that need to be addressed if the obstacles to social mobility are to be removed.

2017 should be the last year for compulsory English & Maths GCSE resits

Training leaders are urging ministers to abandon their procrastination over ending the GCSE resits policy for English and maths and to instead join leading employers in getting behind ‘applied’ Functional Skills as a fully recognised alternative.   The government recently said that it would review the resits policy after next year’s exams, but the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) believes that it is strongly in the interests of a post-Brexit economy to waste no more time on further reviews.  In AELP’s opinion, 2017 should be the final year for compulsory resits.    Many household name employers involved in drawing up the new apprenticeship standards for their sectors have already voted with their feet by choosing attainment of Functional Skills as a key element of a successfully completed apprenticeship and training providers say that the ‘applied’ option should be available across all education provision for 16 to 18 year olds.    Official figures show that 77.3% of students in England do not achieve a grade C in English or maths when they resit these subjects.   Mark Dawe, AELP’s CEO and former boss of the OCR exams board, said: English and maths are important for the whole population but the resits policy is leading to mass failure.  The government should abandon it now and instead focus on Functional Skills being a good alternative.

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