The outcomes for the government’s traineeships tender have been delayed, the Education and Skills Funding Agency announced today.

In a message to bidders at 3pm this afternoon, the agency said the “high volume of tenders received” has “necessitated having to inform you that notifications of award will be delayed slightly”.

The ESFA had planned to notify bidders of outcomes on 11 January, but it will now aim to publish a revised timetable next week.

FE Week has asked the agency if this means the planned contract award date of 1 February will also be delayed. We had not received a response at the time of going to press.

As FE Week revealed in November, the procurement, which is for 19 to 24 traineeships only, received 370 bids.

It is being run on an “accelerated” timetable, with a slice of £65 million up for grabs initially to be spent between February and July 31, 2021. The total pot will be split across nine regions in England – ranging from £20.8 million for London providers to just £2.6 million for the south-west.

The £65 million tender is hoped to fund around 20,000 starts in the latter half of 2020/21, while a further £315 million was made available to support continued delivery through to July 2023.

The tender is one way the government plans to triple the number of traineeships starts this year – as pledged by chancellor Rishi Sunak over the summer as part of his plan to combat youth unemployment amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Employer cash incentives of £1,000 have also been made available, as has growth funding for providers to deliver 16-to-19 traineeships.