Organisations wanting to deliver apprenticeships from next May are failing to follow instructions from the Skills Funding Agency just hours before a critical deadline.

The new Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers, which providers have to be on if they want to deliver apprenticeship starts from May 1 next year, closes for applications at 5pm today (November 25).

The SFA has been clear that providers can only register under one of three routes – the main route, the supporting route and the employer-provider route.

But at lunchtime today it issued a message to all providers via its BRAVO e-tendering portal that not everyone was following instructions.

The message (pictured below), which had the subject line ‘Important message’, said: “The SFA has noticed that some organisations have submitted multiple PQQs (Pre-Qualification Questionnaires) despite clear guidance.”

“Organisations are reminded that only one PQQ route must be submitted. Please check that this is the case.”

Providers that have applied for more than one route should decide which one is their preferred route, and decline the other, the message continued.

Mark Dawe, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, said: “The SFA’s guidance is very clear on this, so it is a little surprising that there is confusion about it. 

“It just goes to show that in the few remaining hours until the deadline, providers and employers must thoroughly check and recheck their applications against the guidance before they hit the Send button.”

The supporting route is an “entry route to the apprenticeship market for organisations that offer a specialism, and providers who only want to deliver as a subcontractor”, according to the SFA’s guidance.

The employer-provider route is for companies that wish to deliver apprenticeship training to their own staff.

Providers and employers must thoroughly check and recheck their applications

The SFA’s guidance clearly stated that providers “must apply through one of the application routes”.

And, in a separate ‘important message’ on its BRAVO e-tendering portal at 13:31 today, the SFA has also highlighted that providers tendering for funding to deliver training to non-levy-paying employers also need to submit a main route PQQ.

It said: “We would like to remind applicants that if you are submitting an ITT application, this MUST be submitted in addition to a main route PQQ. Failure to submit a main route PQQ will lead to your ITT submission being automatically excluded as we will be unable to process your application without a main route PQQ submission.”