Reviews into short duration apprenticeships are due to be finalised by April, the Skills Minister John Hayes has revealed.
A total of 87 providers have so far been reviewed by the Skills Funding Agency and the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) for running programmes which last six months or less.
However, while 29 have been brought to a “satisfactory conclusion”, the review has so far identified 10 primary contractors and three subcontractors where the Agency and NAS have significant and unresolved concerns.
At least one case has been referred to the Agency’s Special Investigations Unit.
The Agency will significantly tighten the contract and funding guidance from August 2012 to eliminate poor practice.”
The news comes as Mr Hayes today updated parliament on progress to drive up quality, as well as introducing new measures to come into place in the coming months.
Mr Hayes, in a written parliamentary statement, said: “An apprenticeship must involve significant new learning and time spent achieving competence and confidence in the job, which is why I am taking steps to ensure all apprenticeships are of a sufficient length to allow this learning to be embedded.
“Following my announcement in December, the National Apprenticeship Service will shortly publish the detail of a new 12 month duration requirement for all 16-18 year olds.
“This will come into effect for all starts from August 2012, although we expect many providers to change their delivery models before then.”
A roundup of the apprenticeship review:
- 87 training organisations providers, sub-contractors and directly funded employers delivering Apprenticeships of short duration (six months or less) warranted review by the Agency and NAS.
- 29 cases have been brought to a satisfactory conclusion. These will continue to be monitored to ensure that issues do not occur and in preparation for the new requirements on duration from August 2012.
- Where cases have been concluded, providers have changed their delivery models to be fully compliant or ended the delivery of frameworks that don’t meet the requirements.
- Most providers have revised their programmes to meet the challenge in quality standards that are required.
- So far, the review has identified 10 primary contractors and 3 subcontractors where the Agency and NAS have significant and unresolved concerns. NAS and the Agency will work with closely with these providers to conclude a full investigation of the specifics of the cases and identify suitable resolutions, including improving, adapting or, if necessary, withdrawing provision.
- Following major reviews, in the case of 3 sub-contractors, prime contractors have decided to end their contractual relationship.
- At least one case has been referred to the Agency’s Special Investigations Unit.
- It is has been made clear to providers that contracts which meet funding requirements technically but fail to meet the more comprehensive quality standards we expect of Apprenticeships are not acceptable. The Agency will significantly tighten the contract and funding guidance from August 2012 to eliminate poor practice.
- The reviews of the majority of the cases that remain will be finalised by April 2012.