Revealed: The first providers added to refreshed apprenticeship register

The first organisations to be added to the government’s refreshed apprenticeship provider register have been revealed.

An update to the register of apprenticeship training providers was published today and showed 23 new firms have been enlisted.

The number isn’t as high as was expected, and strangely, all of them are only “supporting providers”. FE Week has asked the Education and Skills Funding Agency when successful “main” applicants will be added.

The 23 are the first providers to be added to RoATP since October 2018.

The register finally reopened on 12 December, following a year-long review, with more “stringent and challenging entry requirements”.

FE Week reported last month that new applicants trying to get onto the strengthened register had been left hanging by the government six months after its launch.

The ESFA had planned to let providers know if they were successful 12 weeks after their bid. An agency spokesperson said last week that all providers that applied to be on the register in December, January and February have now “been notified of the result”.

The new register is expected to bring greater scrutiny, following various FE Week investigations that discovered, for example, one-man bands with no delivery experience being given access to millions of pounds of apprenticeships funding.

While all providers will be asked to apply to the register even if they were already on there, subcontractors delivering less than £100,000 of provision a year have also been told they need to register.

The ESFA will also throw providers off the register if they go 12 months with no delivery after joining the register. FE Week has asked the agency when this action will be implemented following today’s update.

Organisations applying to the register can either be a main, employer or supporting provider.

The ESFA’s description of a supporting provider is: “This is for organisations who will enter into subcontracts with main providers and employer providers to deliver apprenticeship training. This can be up to a maximum value of £500,000 per year in total.

“For organisations with no history of apprenticeship delivery according to recent records we hold, this is limited to £100,000 in their first year on the register.”

The 23 providers added to RoATP: