Apprenticeships are now even better primed to upskill the nation’s workforce and support national recovery in 2024, after a major programme of reviews.
The Department for Education set IfATE a target of reviewing 100 apprenticeships in just nine months – between April and the end December 2023.
IfATE, which follows guidance from thousands of large and small employers on their training needs to develop and update all government apprenticeships in England, over-delivered by reviewing 127, including many resulting in significant funding uplifts. These are collectively used by over 60,000 apprentices per year.
Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, Rob Halfon, said:
“This is a fantastic achievement. It’s vital that we ensure all apprenticeships remain up to date and offer high quality training so more people and businesses can benefit, and we can grow the economy. It’s great news that almost 80% of the standards revised received a funding boost, including those in key sectors such as social care, transport and logistics and engineering.”
Jennifer Coupland, chief executive of IfATE, said:
“This has put us in a fantastic position starting the new year with apprenticeships bang up to date with the latest industry requirements. I’m absolutely delighted to have exceeded this target. Achieving it required everyone at IfATE to maintain laser focus and I would like to say a huge thanks to all the large and small businesses across the country who advised on what was needed.”
Priority sectors that benefitted from a high number of reviews, including to funding levels approved by the Department for Education, include:
- Construction – 36 apprenticeships including for painters and decorators, scaffolders, plasterers, and plumbing and domestic heating technicians. A good example was the Civil Engineer (with degree) apprenticeship revised to integrate degree exams into the apprenticeship end point assessment, reducing duplication that had been unpopular with some employers and apprentices, leading to withdrawals. The Installation & Maintenance Electrician apprenticeship was also updated to include green technologies including solar and electric vehicle charging. The average funding increase for construction and the built environment apprenticeships was 27%.
- Engineering and manufacturing – 22 apprenticeships including for aerospace engineers (with degree), machining technicians, power industry substation fitters, and print Technicians. A good example was the Battery Manufacturing Technician apprenticeship which is more important than ever because of the need to train people to produce electric vehicle batteries. The average funding increase for engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships was 15%.
- Health and science – 25 health and science apprenticeships were reviewed in total with an average funding increase of just under 30%. 13 of these, including for paramedics, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and clinical scientists, had to be brought into line with new Health and Care Professions Council guidelines. All changes were approved ahead of HCPC’s September deadline, ensuring that the apprenticeships continued to be delivered without interruption. We expect the first doctor apprenticeships to start in 2024.
Further standout examples of apprenticeships which have been updated and improved are:
- Chartered Legal Executive – Funding was increased by 125% to the maximum £27,000 funding band for apprenticeships, addressing concerns that the previous £12,000 level was insufficient to cover training costs. Outline plans have also been approved for a new apprenticeship to train barristers geared at opening out the profession to people from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.
- Digital and Technology Solutions Professional (with degree) – This was revised to support businesses to better use digital technologies to solve problems like reducing waste, increasing productivity, or improving customer service. Funding was increased by 8% to £27,000.
- Passenger Transport Driver – Previously unable to be used by the tram sector, this revision has really engaged tram employers and they have now made a commitment to use apprenticeships to train future drivers in this rapidly growing sector, supporting the decarbonisation of our nation’s city centres and improving transport networks. Funding was increased by 33% to £8,000
- Transport Scheduler and Fire Safety Advisor also received funding increases of 166% (to £8,000) and 140% (to £6,000) respectively; and Mammography Associate received an increase of 100% (to £10,000).