From education to employment

Qualification Achievement Rates (QAR), Retention rates and pass rates for 2018-19 to 2022-23

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SDN Strategic Associate, David Lockhart Hawkins, has released a series of LinkedIn posts on the recently published Qualification Achievement Rates (QAR), Retention rates and pass rates for the years 2018-19 to 2022-23.

In this blog, we have collated the key highlights and data points for you. For the full posts and to view the associated spreadsheets, visit Davids’s LinkedIn page.

QAR by standard – Some headline notes on 22/23

“This year will again feature some impact of the pandemic in that standards achieved in the time frame will have started prior to 1st August 2022 and in some cases significantly before (2 or 3+ year duration standards). It takes a long time for QAR to mean something due to the hybrid year calculation method. An apprentice that had a planned end date in 22/23 that started and withdrew in 2020/21 would impact the 22/23 cohort for example as long as they were on programme 42 days. So, though a useful measure, it clearly isn’t the only measure of a provider’s performance. Issues with delivery fixed in 22/23 for example won’t show until future years.

Also, many apprenticeship withdrawals are for reasons outside of a provider’s control, for example, departure out of the sector, or to another employer that works with someone else. Certain sectors naturally see more of a transient workforce.

So, use the data to benchmark your performance against your peers for sure, but ensure you understand its place.

  • 517 standards in scope for 22/23, compared to 454 in 21/22 showing the growth of standards available.
  • Standard overall QAR improved from 51.4% to 54.3% overall which though an improvement is not hugely significant.
  • Level 2 standards improved from 51.4% to 54.1%
  • Level 3 standards improved from 55.1% to 55.3%
  • Higher level (4+) standards improved from 52.6% to 54%
  • Volume of apprentices on programmes that were at or above the 60% threshold that indicates on track for accountability framework purposes was 26.4% of the population in the standards data set (assumes programmes with less than 10 were on track).
  • 185 standards were above the 60% threshold, 236 were below the threshold with a number having an undisclosed QAR due to the low volume of cohort yet several of less than 30 in cohort did have a stated result – so this data point is potentially questionable
  • Team leader was the largest apprenticeship cohort with 14310 in the cohort (2.52% of the overall population), however only one of the top ten largest programmes was above the 62% threshold (Business Administrator – 63.3%) and only four of the top twenty (BA, Nursing Associate – 75.9%, Engineering Technician – 64.1%, Teaching Assistant – 71.9%, HM Forces Serviceperson (Protective Services)-72%)”

David has created a summary document showing all of the apprenticeship standard Qualification Achievement Rates (QAR), Retention rates and pass rates for 2018-19 to 2022-23.

Follow this link to view the full post and attached spreadsheet.

Large cohort rankings

“Out of the 2022-23 Apprenticeship success data I broke down the ranking of providers with greater than 500 apprentices in their cohort to look at their overall performance in comparison to the smaller provider market. Just over 66% of them exceeded the national achievement rate average of 54.6% (up from 51% last year which is a significant improvement), though only seven of them would rate in the top 100 provider ranking in QAR. There are some good performances here and somewhere there have been challenges.”

Follow this link to view the full post and the large provider rankings spreadsheet.

Small/Medium cohort rankings

“I broke down the ranking of providers with 40-499 apprentices in their cohort, what I’d call Small to Medium providers, to look at their overall performance in comparison to the smaller provider market (750 providers with measurable data up from 718 last year).

59.7% of them were above the national achievement rate average, near identical to last year’s 59.8%, compared to 60% for large provision. 39 of them would rate in the top 100 provider ranking in QAR.

There are many excellent performances here but also as per large provision some have faced challenges. Employer providers have some impressive performances here. Many new universities also appear in the SM data, many of which will likely be large cohorts next year. This population is based on the 22/23 cohort so in the typical degree apprenticeship that would be a 20/21 year start so the results have had a longer cooking time. Some strong performances from employer providers at the top of the table, and one particularly challenging cohort at the bottom of the table.

What is also noticeable is the average size of cohorts amongst the better performers, commonly being under 100, not uncommon for employer providers or university cohorts. Naturally the overall rates are a mix of provision, levels and sectors so do take that into consideration. A broader range of provision is likely to have good performance and worse performance bringing the average down.”

Follow this link to view the full post and the medium provider rankings spreadsheet.

Micro cohort rankings

“These are the rankings for what I call the ‘micro cohorts’ (0-39 apprentices in cohort).

239 micros have measurable data but there are 320 providers that had this volume of apprentices (down from 341 last year).

66.1% of the 239 were above the national achievement rate average in 40-499 cohort. 61 of the highest-ranking providers for QAR were in the top 100 performers (up from 52 last year) compared to 7 of the large cohort providers and 39 of the medium-sized.

I wrote this comment last year and it stands true today: With this volume of apprentices there is usually greater control, the provider potentially knows every apprentice and on these volumes, every apprentice counts when it comes to the financial viability of provision but a cohort of less than 40 is rarely a viable business unless it’s supported by other revenues outside of apprenticeships. Many of the top performers are not small organisations, they just have smaller cohorts. With that said I’d fully expect more universities to appear in the medium and large category next year.

As per the other types you need to look closely at the apprenticeship standards delivered for added context but it’s a useful measure to see their overall positioning for achievement rate and retention rates.”

Follow this link to view the full post and the micro-provider rankings spreadsheet.

Overall rankings

“After our release over the weekend of the different-sized provider cohorts (large = >500, Medium = 499-40, Micro = <40) here is the combined list.

There are 1119 providers with sufficient data for their ranking, there are 141 with insufficiently sized populations or have had their data not shown for a total of 1260 providers. Last year we had 1060 providers with data and 213 with insufficient so a total of 1271 organisations so with new entrants and market exit there is a slightly smaller group of providers than last year.”

Follow this link to view the full post and the overall rankings spreadsheet.

If you would like more analysis of your position against your peers by standard or by age level David is available to perform this analysis for you. Contact as at [email protected] for more information.

Further support 

Webinar – Strategic planning and the Apprenticeship Accountability Framework

Providers are measured and monitored by their performance against the indicators of the Apprenticeship Accountability Framework. Understanding the measures and the data used is essential for any leader and manager in the sector.

But how do we work with the data effectively and how do we benchmark performance? What do we do with it and how do we plan and implement appropriate actions to improve?

We’re hosting this 2-hour deep-dive session with David, to help you improve your understanding, get effective ways of planning and effective implementation of strategy in this area to lay a strong foundation for the coming years.

We’ve updated content including analysis of sector achievement and retention rates published this year for 22/23 performance.

These sessions will cover:

  • Understanding the Apprenticeship Training Provider Accountability Framework, the indicators and risks
  • How the framework works with quality inspection
  • Data, Strategy and setting effective targets
  • Interventions and working with action plans
  • Q&A

Visit the events page for more information and to book your place.

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