Skills for Care is to scrap their adult care external quality assurance service (ACEQUAS) to apprenticeship end-point assessment organisations, FE Week understands.
This morning Skills for Care emailed all their partners to say they will cease to deliver their £40 per apprentice EQA service in early September.
The email in full:
“The Skills for Care board and leadership team have been considering the future of Skills for Care’s involvement in delivering the ACEQUAS function on behalf of the Care Apprenticeship Board and Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE).
“The number of apprentices progressing to the end point assessment has not been happening in the volumes predicted by the Care Apprenticeship Board when we began this process, and Skills for Care has invested a significant sum from its reserves to establish and run the ACEQUAS system on the understanding that it would be on a full cost recovery basis.
“Despite everyone’s best efforts it has not been possible to work within the financial parameters we need to see for this service and so the Skills for Care board and leadership team have served three months’ notice to the trailblazer group and IfATE to cease delivering this service.
“We will of course work with both the Care Apprenticeship Board and the Institute over the notice period to ensure a smooth transition to a new organisation carrying out this function for the end point assessment organisations.
As a result of this, we are cancelling the EPAO forum on 3 September. I am sorry to have to pass on this news as it has been a pleasure working with you. We will update you on the next steps after discussions with IfATE.”
Skills for Care is not the only former Sector Skills Council that has failed to make a business success of the apprenticeship external quality assurance service.
As reported by FE Week, in early 2018 the Tech Partnership, also a former government funded Sector Skills Council, announced it was to be wound-up. Subsequently, the National Skills Academy for Rail took over their role quality assuring the work of level three and four digital apprenticeship end-point assessment organisations.
This latest development is likely to add further pressure on the DfE to hand all EQA responsibilities to Ofqual.
As reported by FE Week in June 2019, the IfATE and Ofqual have been exchanging letters in an effort to ‘optimise’ their role.
An IfATE spokesperson: “We are grateful for the valuable work Skills for Care has done and look forward to continuing to work with them to develop high-quality apprenticeships.
“Our focus now is to work with employers to ensure appropriate arrangements are in place to ensure a smooth transition of services by the end of the notice period.”