In April 2018 the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) set out rules for using subcontractors in the delivery of apprenticeships, rules that will be kept under review to check they are adding value to employers and providers delivering quality apprenticeships.  ESFA’s aim is that the main and subcontracted apprenticeship provider both add value to the employer’s apprenticeship programme, and not just the subcontracted provider.

Additional rules published in June 2018 (ESFA ‘Providing external assurance on subcontracting controls‘) mandate the requirement for the main provider subcontracting with other providers to obtain a report and certification from an external auditor that provides assurance on the systems and controls they have in place, in the relevant year, for managing subcontracted delivery. It is therefore imperative that main providers do fully engage with delivery requirements in respective of their subcontracted provision.

So what does the rule around delivery require? The main provider, who holds the ESFA contract, is required to deliver some of the employer’s apprenticeship programme’s training and/or on-programme assessment when subcontracting the provision to another provider, which for some is a significant change to the way that they work with sub-contractors. This training and/or on-programme assessment directly delivered by the main provider for each employer ‘must have some substance and must not be a token amount to satisfy this rule’.

ESFA’s definition of ‘delivering apprenticeship training and/or on-programme assessment’ includes ‘distance, online or blended learning relating to partial delivery of the off-the job training of an apprenticeship’. A blended and online delivery model offers the main provider a range of benefits not just in meeting funding requirements, but also commercial opportunities.

The delivery model is by far the most flexible, efficient and effective for the following reasons:

  • meeting employer requirements for off-the job training
  • personalised learning and assessment for the apprentice in line with their personal goals and apprenticeship requirements
  • cost effectively meeting the 20% off the job requirement
  • extending learning for learners
  • consistency of delivery
  • on demand learner support

In addition to the above, delivery of a range of online training to meet apprenticeship standards can be extended to provide commercial opportunities for the main provider. Main providers can deliver online learning mapped to the apprenticeship standards knowledge and understanding  and behaviours, or any supplementary requirements such as vendor qualifications or standards, such as the Care Certificate.

eLearning Marketplace is working with apprenticeship providers to supply online learning. We have over 2,000 online courses, many of which map to apprenticeship standards and we also offer a FREE learning management system to deliver, track, evidence and manage learner training in line with ESFA funding rules, with the option to resell online bite sized, short courses and qualifications to your own network of employers and employees.


Why not join our growing number of our customers delivering a blended model of apprenticeship provision. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. us for free course trials and demonstration of the learning management system or call 0844 854 9218. 

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