Extra payments to providers training the youngest and most disadvantaged apprentices will remain in place from August, the Department for Education has confirmed.
The 20-per-cent uplift for 16- to 18-year-old apprentices on frameworks, with additional cash for those in disadvantaged areas, were introduced in 2016 as a transitional measure.
Today’s announcement confirms they will remain in place for another year.
“We have seen starts on standards grow, which are generally funded at higher rates, but we know that many providers are still delivering substantial numbers of frameworks, including to 16- to 18-year-olds,” the DfE’s guidance on apprenticeship funding in England from August 2018 said.
“It is important that apprentices are still able to undertake these frameworks until the relevant standards are available.”
“As such, we will be continuing to provide a payment equivalent to 20 per cent of the funding-band maximum to providers training 16- to 18-year-olds on frameworks, and additional payments to providers training individuals from disadvantaged areas on frameworks.”
The uplift was the result of FE Week’s successful #SaveOurApprenticeships campaign, which exposed damaging cuts to apprenticeship funding.
Our analysis of proposed changes to the funding system from May 2017, when the levy reforms came into effect, exposed potential cuts of up to 30 per cent for 16 to 18-year-olds on some popular frameworks – rising to 50 per cent in the most deprived areas.
The campaign was backed by more than 50 MPs and provoked a national outcry, after which the-then skills minister Robert Halfon introduced the uplift.
“Since announcing the proposals for apprenticeship funding, we have listened hard to all the feedback we have received to ensure people can gain the skills they need now and for the future,” he said at the time.
There will be 30 funding bands in place from August – up from the current 15.
The upper limit will range from £1,500 to £27,000, with the expectation that employers will negotiate with providers over price.
“All existing apprenticeship frameworks and standards will be placed into a band within the new structure that has the same upper limit as under the 15 funding band structure,” it said.
The DfE announced in February that it would review the funding-band structure, because employers did not “feel able” to negotiate with providers on price.