Within less than a week, more than 152 employers* including leading advocates for apprenticeships, and over 285 management apprentices have signed the Trailblazer Group’s appeal to present to Ministers at the Department for Education to reject the latest proposals by the Institute of Apprenticeships to introduce huge cuts to the funding bands of the most popular management apprenticeships.

With the Government already admitting that it will struggle to meet its target of 3m apprenticeships and its stated commitment to focus on high quality new programmes, supporters believe that these cuts will completely undermine the quality and early employer investment in these successful programmes.

Following a deeply flawed funding review process, the IfA has proposed reducing the funding bands for the most popular management apprenticeships as follows:

Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship – from £27,000 to £22,000

Operations Manager Apprenticeship (Level 5) – from £9,000 to £7,000

Team Leader Apprenticeship (Level 3) – from £5,000 to £4,500

According to the evidence submitted by employers and providers as part of the review process, these cuts would irrevocably damage the quality, reputation and volume of management apprenticeships. Many universities and high-quality providers will exit the market, and the more intensive programmes that support young people and drive social mobility will be hit hardest.

The Trailblazer Group is currently appealing the decision on the grounds that it was not a fair and transparent process, with unrealistic deadlines, incorrect briefing documents and irrelevant information included. Significantly, given ‘value for money’ was a key criteria for the review, employers are concerned that the review has not considered the economic and social impact of these programmes, and is calling for a detailed impact assessment to demonstrate the value and benefits being delivered to the economy.

Anne Thomas, education director at Serco, and one of the employer chairs of the management and leadership trailblazer group, says:

“At Serco we’ve invested significantly in building our apprenticeship programmes and have been hugely supportive of the Government’s apprenticeship agenda. We’re already seeing the benefits of these new programmes and have been working with new, high quality providers to deliver the management skills our business needs. However, these cuts would clearly undermine our future ability to use our Levy on the management skills we need for our future business growth. It also frustrates the hard work of the employer trailblazer group which has invested significant time and resources into developing high quality apprenticeships which will no longer be funded as promised.”

Also by only reviewing 31 of the 566 new Standards, this will significantly distort the apprenticeship market as employers will turn to those Standards which are still being fully funded. It cannot claim that it is creating a ‘fair’ and employer-led system, when its decisions are skewing the market.

According to the latest figures from the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), out of the £1.39bn Levy raised, only £207m has been withdrawn. Employers are struggling to spend their funds which will start expiring next year, and are now being restricted in how they can use them.

“We are starting to see funding cuts across several of the apprenticeships that we offer including the Chartered Manager Programme. Providers have confirmed that an employer top up may be required to deliver the same quality of provision under the reduced funding bands. This may not be viable for us and subsequently we would need to reconsider offering these programmes. We are incredibly supportive of apprenticeships and are working hard to maximise the levy and support the Government’s agenda, but there comes a point where the costs outweigh the benefits.” Thales UK

The IfA is now claiming that the funding bands only reflect the maximum contribution that Government will make and should not reflect the full cost of the training for an apprenticeship. Yet employers were sold the proposition of a Levy where they could reinvest their levy pot in the apprenticeships they most needed.

Indeed, cutting the funding for these early apprenticeships that are working well for employers and apprentices alike, is seen as completely counter-intuitive.

Petra Wilton 2018 100x100Reflecting on the comments from employers, Petra Wilton, Director of Strategy, at the CMI said:

We simply can’t see why Government is shooting one of its most successful policies in the foot. As the overwhelming outcry from employers demonstrates, it makes so little sense. Especially at a time when so many employers are struggling to recruit the highly skilled managers and leaders needed to drive up business growth and employee engagement amidst the challenges of Brexit. However, we are still confident that Ministers, who have been so keen to showcase the early success of these programmes and the new management apprentices, will return from recess and reject this ridiculous decision.”

*Employers include BT, Asda, IBM, Aldi, ODEON, Tesco, Next, Birds Eye.

About CMI: The CMI works with business and education to inspire people to unleash their potential and become skilled, confident and successful managers and leaders. CMI has more than 60,000 people training to be better leaders right now across its partnership network in the UK and internationally.

Backed by a unique Royal Charter, CMI is the only organisation able to award Chartered Manager status - the ultimate management accolade, which is proven to boost individuals’ career prospects, management capability and impact in the workplace.

CMI’s thought leadership, research, events and online resources provide practical insight about critical issues for its 100,000 plus members and any professional looking to improve their results; create diverse high-performing teams and nurture the next generation of managers and leaders.

CMI has created a suite of management apprenticeships with a 40-strong employer group. This includes the flagship Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship and the Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship for executive and C-suite development. More than 10,000 workers are currently enrolled on management apprenticeships.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Coventry Comms has published a new article: Royal recognition for Coventry College 24 minutes ago

What will the future of jobs be like?...

The Future of Jobs report maps the jobs and skills of the future, tracking the pace of change. It aims to shed light on the pandemic-related...

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 59 minutes ago

All you need to know about home-schooling and elective home education (EHE):   What is home-schooling? During the p… https://t.co/aslIjgOYRB
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.


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