02nd November 2016 Written by John Rogers

Image: John Rogers.The Apprenticeship Levy proposed for launch in April 2017 brings with it the new landscape of a register for training providers, says John Rogers, CEO of Skills for Health.

The new Apprenticeship Levy is set to change the way that private and public companies use apprentices when it comes into play on April 6, 2017. Offering funding to employers who run apprenticeships as part of their organisation, the money can be used by employers in England to pay for training and assessment for apprentices.

In tandem with the new levy, the Skills Funding Agency plans to create a Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP) in support. Through the scheme, training providers must apply to join the RoATP if they want to deliver apprenticeships. 

Skills for Health is totally supportive of apprenticeships as a development route for a skilled healthcare workforce. Through our work in accrediting healthcare apprenticeships and developing workforce plans that introduce apprenticeships route into organisations – it’s clear that there is a clear employment need.

What is important is that employers are given the maximum flexibility and high-quality support to deliver apprenticeships that support their needs. Skills for Health have been working closely with Health Education England, employers and other key partners to support the development of new apprenticeship standards that meet new employer needs. We also very much welcome the Minister’s announcements that they will support flexible arrangements for employers to work collaboratively with their supply chains (or collaborative arrangements such as the National Skills Academy Excellence Centres) and with Apprenticeship Training Agencies from 2018. It is also very positive for employers that they will be able to retain funds in their digital accounts for 24 months.

In the end, apprenticeships will succeed or fail through the quality of the provision. In this context, we would recommend that employers should focus on working with training providers who have a minimum "Satisfactory", or higher, rating from Ofsted. Not only do we owe this to our apprentices – but it will also assure quality and built-in future success.

From an employer perspective, Karen Vella, Head of Organisational Development and Learning at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust says the change is a time of new challenges.

Karen explained: “Overall LTHT welcomes the opportunity to increase and expand apprenticeship activity across health and social care.

"As a large employer, we welcome the assurance the register of training providers will give us in selecting organisations for apprenticeship delivery.

She added: “We do have some concerns that our smaller providers will be put off by the requirement to undergo an Ofsted inspection and hope that the aspiration for employers to have greater input is not lost.”

Apprentices deserve the best training and support for their learning and we recognise that it will take time for the infrastructure to manage apprenticeship training to be developed in organisations where it does not currently exist. For many employers, particularly small organisations, engagement with apprentices will be very new.  Working collaboratively will be one of the keys to success – and as the first port of call the National Skills Academy for Health is a very good starting point.

For more information on the new Government apprenticeship funding, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-apprenticeship-funding-to-transform-investment-in-skills


You may also be interested in: The Apprenticeship Levy: Infographic

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