Employers are paying too much for their apprenticeships, according to the Department for Education.

Officials “expected” employers would negotiate prices below the relevant upper limit they set before April last year, and the Institute for Apprenticeships since then.

But instead many employers pay top whack as, apparently, “they do not feel able to negotiate with providers”.

So the DfE says it’s considering “alternative funding band structures”, along with “changes to incentivise negotiation and drive better value for money”.

My heart sinks when I hear major changes may be coming before the new apprenticeship market is properly up and running.

Having said that, where any market is failing, it is important the government steps in and regulates.

But is there enough reliable market intelligence to make changes that don’t simply create a new set of unintended consequences?

There are no easy answers for the DfE, but given we are less than 10 months into the infancy of a completely new market, no knee-jerk reactions either, please.

Nick Linford is editor of FE Week