From education to employment

Across borders: The apprenticeship levy and the Scottish funding restrictions

Working with multiple levy paying organisations across the English and Scottish border they are bewildered and unbelieving about how their levy contribution is distributed in Scotland.

The English percentage of their pay role above the £3 million threshold they get that to spend on apprenticeships as fits their training and skills requirements. If their ambitions are larger than their pot they can top this up with the 90% contribution from the government.

The new standards are robust with real training that can incorporate their own training by mapping it across into the standards, giving them an induvial program, which is accredited by a national award verified by an End Point Assessment to confirm they have reached the standard required for that role and qualification.

The rate which the provider can draw against the qualification also on the whole is realistic for the amount of work, expertise and time required up to £9k for a level 5 management.

Contrast this with Scotland- the percentage of their levy is deducted from them and then is given to the Scottish Government and they have no control over their proportion of that.

They must just apply in the same way as non-levy organisations via ROTAP Scottish Contract holders.

The way the funding is allocated is very much focussed towards under 25 year olds with most places for this age being allocated to providers and funding weighted that way , for instance for a management 5 qualification the funding is £600 , compared to the £9000 for England ,leaving a disconnect between the level of funding allocated by SDS and the amount required by the provider to ensure high quality provision employers have to make a further employer contribution, which you can imagine is inflammatory to levy employers.

For an employer paying the levy they feel having to further contribute is grossly unfair-why should they pay twice!

STF are continuing to lobby Skills Development Scotland and Scottish Government to address these contribution rates.

The qualifications are also not as expansive and flexible as the English standards.      

For large organisations wanting uniformity across all employees this is very frustrating and whilst quality providers do their best to mirror a lot of the aspects of their English delivery to some degrees given the qualification and funding they have their hand tied.

So whilst encouraging employers to try and maximise their contribution by putting as many staff as they can though the apprenticeship programme in Scotland understandably they are not too enthusiastic.

The concerns are that apprenticeships will fall and become the poor relation in the upskilling and life- long learning of its population and given the rising numbers of older workers and the higher and changing skills required in todays world.      

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