Hundreds of 12 week apprenticeships advertised on NAS website are 'under review'

The apprenticeship programmes delivered by the hotelier De Vere are under review and “likely to change” as part of an assessment into provision and standards.

The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) is looking into every short apprenticeship, alongside the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), following the introduction of Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE).

However, news of the review into De Vere follows an investigation by FE Week into programmes on NAS’ vacancy site.

More than 700 De Vere vacancies of either 12 week (customer service) or 16 week (professional cookery) are currently available to view online, taking place at a number of nationwide De Vere Academies.

The De Vere Academy of Hospitality advert says they aim “to inspire and create talented hospitality industry stars of the future through the provision of work-based learning.”

It is “open to those aged 16-24 years and no previous experience or academic qualifications are required” and pays £104 per week (the minimum apprenticeship wage) for a 40 hour week over five days.

While acknowledging that programmes delivered by De Vere do not meet the requirements of SASE, the National Apprenticeship Service say they do provide “appropriate and valuable provision for young people” who want to work in the hospitality sector.

A statement from NAS, issued to FE Week this morning (Friday), said: “We have already indicated to De Vere that their programme does not meet the comprehensive standards for apprenticeship programmes.

“However, we believe their programme provides appropriate and valuable provision for young people who want to work in the sector.”

It also added: “We intend to work with De Vere and the Sector Skills Council for the hospitality sector, People 1st, to develop a tailored ‘Access to Apprenticeship’ pathway designed to meet the specific needs of employers in the sector that will offer a high quality opportunity to young people wanting to work in the sector.

“While we work together to identify an alternative source of funding we will continue to support De Vere and the young people and employers involved in the programme.

“All live De Vere vacancies posted on the apprenticeship vacancy site will indicate that the provision is under review and is likely to change.”

At the time of going to press, the reference to “under review and likely to change” could not be found.

The SASE was published in January, which is when NAS and SFA began their review.

It was also followed by the publication of the Statement on the Quality of Apprenticeship Delivery Models by NAS in August (click here).

The statement said the review will “closely consider the circumstances of each programme with the college or training provider” which will help them “fully understand the delivery model and make a judgement on whether provision meets the comprehensive standards” which have been established for apprenticeships.

It added: “These standards include SASE, the requirements of the Apprenticeship Framework approved by the relevant Issuing Authority, the Quality of Apprenticeships Delivery Model and the Funding Requirements.

“It is anticipated that through this review we will determine some provision, while not meeting these standards, still provides appropriate and valuable training for young people who would otherwise not be in education, training or employment.”

However, NAS has warned that it will remove funding from providers which fail to meet the required standard.

The statement continued: “We will work with the providers and employers of such provision, and where appropriate with the YPLA and SFA, to secure suitable alternative funding where that is appropriate.

“Throughout the review, our priority will be to remove apprenticeship funding from provision which fails to meet the required standard, while maintaining provision that supports young people into employment or training, as well as giving them the opportunity to progress onto an apprenticeship programme.”

FE Week approached De Vere on Tuesday and is awaiting a response.