Providers that feel aggrieved because they did not make it onto the new Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers will be able to reapply from tomorrow – with a quick turnaround needed to get them all in by 5pm on April 7. 

Apprenticeships and skills minister Robert Halfon (pictured above) made the announcement during education questions in the House of Commons this afternoon.

Responding to a question from Jack Dromey, MP for Birmingham Erdington, Mr Halfon said: “What is important to note is that from tomorrow, those who did get on the register can reapply. So it may be that they’re not on the register now but they can reapply.”

The Apprenticeship Procurement Team also announced today that: “The RoATP Register of opens for applications tomorrow (March 21, 2017) and closes at 5pm on the 7th April.

“The RoATP is open to all organisations, including those organisations that have not previously been successful. The RoATP results will be notified and published in May.
“If you have already been successful in your application to the RoATP, you do not need to re-apply as this opening is not a refresh.”

That means the new window is less than three week, which is shorter than that for the first round of applications that opened on October 24 and closed on November 25.

The SFA warned on November 25 just hours before the register deadline that some providers were failing to follow instructions and were applying via more than one route.

As then reported by FE Week, the Skills Funding Agency published the new Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers last Tuesday (March 14).

Only those providers on the list will be able to deliver apprenticeships from May.

The absence of a number of major providers of apprenticeships, including at least 21 colleges with a combined current allocation of £44 million, caused shock and disbelief across the sector.

None of the four FE colleges in Birmingham made it onto the register – prompting angry questions to the minister from both Mr Dromey, and Gisela Stuart, MP for Birmingham Edgbaston.

Mr Dromey, who has a Birmingham Metropolitan College campus in his constituency, read from the college’s recent Ofsted report – which gave it a grade two for apprenticeships – before adding: “Yet it’s one of four colleges in Birmingham – 13 in the West Midlands – that have been denied access to the apprenticeship levy and will have to cease providing apprenticeships.

“Does the minister begin to understand the outrage over this inexplicable decision, and will he agree to meet with Birmingham’s MPs so that we can make further representations to him?” Mr Dromey asked.

Mr Halfon said he would be “very happy” to meet with the MPs, and defended the process behind the register.

“The crucial thing behind this decision is we are trying to make sure we improve quality.

“This is a competitive procurement process to get on the register – everybody had to fulfil the same criteria,” he said.

Ms Stuart had earlier described the absence of the Birmingham colleges from the register as potentially “destroying technical education for 16-year-olds in the West Midlands”.

In response, Mr Halfon said that “75.7 per cent” of applications to the register were successful, and that 170 colleges had their applications accepted.

He continued: “She mentions Birmingham – there are 178 providers of apprenticeship training in Birmingham that have got onto the register. All existing apprenticeship will not be affected in the colleges.”

FE Week has sought clarification from the Department for Education as to whether those providers that didn’t get on the register at the first attempt have missed have their chance to get an SFA funding allocation for the smaller, non-levied employers.

We have also asked from what date will providers be able to start apprenticeships if they are successful in the RoATP application process that the minister said is now reopening?