72 apprenticeship frameworks with replacement standards to stay until 2020

There are 72 old-style apprenticeship frameworks with direct standard replacements, the government has confirmed – but they’re not going to be switched off until 2020.

The list of 72 – which includes 47 different frameworks at multiple levels – was published today by the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

It had sought feedback on switching the frameworks off, which its analysis “suggested would be well covered by new apprenticeship standards”.

“As a result of that feedback exercise, we are confident that the frameworks listed below are covered by new apprenticeship standards that have been approved for delivery,” a spokesperson said.

Despite this, the frameworks won’t be closed to new starts until 2020, meaning that the ESFA will fund both the framework and the replacement standard for another two years.

The process of closing old-style apprenticeship frameworks to new starts began in March 2016, and the original intention was to switch them all off by August 2017.

But this cut-off was dropped at the end of 2015, and replaced with a “migration from apprenticeship frameworks to standards over the course of the parliament”.

Three waves of frameworks have so far been switched off.

However, earlier this year the agency announced it would pause this process and it wouldn’t close any further frameworks to new starts until 2020.

By then “we expect that employers and providers will have completed the transition, and that all starts will be on standards, so all frameworks will be withdrawn to new starts at that point,” the announcement said.

Issuing authorities will still have the power to close off these old-style frameworks, as a number have already done.

These included two of the most popular frameworks: hospitality, and health and social care, both of which were closed at the end of 2017.

Starts of apprenticeship standards have shot up over the past year.

According to government figures, as of the end of March this year there have been 90,300 such starts in 2017/18, compared with just 24,600 for the whole of 2016/17.

That’s an increase from just under five per cent of starts, to almost 40 per cent.