Nearly a year after review launched, ESFA reveals apprenticeship funding rate cut

The Education and Skills Funding Agency will reduce the £27,000 digital and technology solutions professional apprenticeship standard by £2,000.

In an update published today, the agency announced the band cap for the level six standard, with a typical duration of 36 months, would be reducing from the £27,000 maximum to £25,000, from May 19.

The standard, which was developed by top employers including BT, Fujitsu, HMRC, IBM, and John Lewis, was part of the first wave of funding band reviews conducted by the Institute for Apprentices and Technical Education, which got underway last March.

All but two of the funding band changes from this review were revealed in December, which included the infamous chartered manager degree apprenticeship being reduced by £5,000, from £27,000 to £22,000.

The other standard that the government needed more time to decide whether to change its funding band, aside from the digital and technology solutions professional programme, was the level three motor vehicle service and maintenance technician standard, which has a current funding band of £18,000.

The ESFA still hasn’t made a decision on this yet.

Discontentment with the funding band reviews has led to a recent uptick in the number of appeals against the reviews, according to the minutes from a November meeting of IfATE’s approval and funding committee.

There were eight appeals from trailblazer groups, which are responsible for apprenticeship standards, in 2017; in January 2018, there were more than five times that many with 42.

Out of the 50 reviews from 2017 and January 2018, 13 were upheld.

However, trailblazer opposition to the reviews is far wider than the number of appeals would suggest.

Many groups, such as the National Hairdressers Federation wanted to appeal against the cut to their funding band, but could not as IfATE only allows appeals if it is believed procedure was not followed correctly, or there was impropriety.

The IfATE launched its second funding band review in December, which involves another 30 standards. The outcome of this is expected to be published in the summer.