Gateshead-based Access Training has been granted the rare ‘Expert Training Provider’ status by the Department for Education and will now help the north east’s employers save time and money as part of a new pilot program.
Team Valley-based Access Training is one of only 13 training providers in the whole of the UK to be appointed an ‘Expert Training Provider’ by the DfE – out of 1,229 training providers on the national Apprenticeship Provider and Assessment Register.
Access will now take part in a 12-month pilot that aims to remove barriers preventing SMEs from accessing the huge benefits that come from apprenticeship training – which is up to 100% funded by the government.
Currently, many SMEs including sole traders, struggle to set-up and use their digital apprenticeship service account to claim funding for training – usually because they are too busy or under-resourced. During the pilot, Access Training will be managing the accounts on behalf of businesses, ensuring they can benefit from apprenticeships without the administrative burden.
If the pilot proves successful, it will be rolled out nationally.
Access Training’s core apprenticeships attract primarily non-levy-paying SMEs and 57% of the firm’s current apprentices are employed within SMEs.
Managing director at Access Training, David Armstrong, explains more:
“Of course, we are incredibly proud to be one of only a handful of training providers in the UK to be awarded Expert status but, more importantly, we are pleased that the Department for Education has recognised that the current system is not working for time-poor small and medium-sized businesses.
“We specialise in supporting small companies by offering high levels of support – we already work closely with the majority of our employers whilst they are setting up their digital apprenticeship accounts. However, this pilot will allow us to go that step further, meaning an even better service by taking away the burden of having to set-up and learn to use their account so that they can get on with running their businesses. It will also help avoid delays in apprenticeship enrolment.”
The DfE said the scheme will give ‘expert’ providers the opportunity to “identify and realise operational cost and resource savings”.
To be considered for Expert Training Provider status, providers needed to be rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, have an apprenticeship achievement rate of at least 51 per cent in 2021/22, as well as a 4-star employer feedback rating.
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