Further details of a £50 million pot for ‘capacity building’ work placements was announced this afternoon by the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

Education secretary Justine Greening confirmed the investment would be made available from April 2018 to fund high-quality work placements, when speaking at the Business and Education Summit in London last week.

Additional ESFA guidance on gov.uk includes a timeline for implementation (below) and claims the funding will support “a significant step change for the sector”.

It will be used to deliver “occupationally specific” work placements of around three months for each T-level, “to ensure young people secure the workplace behaviours and the technical skills relevant to the occupation that they are studying towards”.

Once the government has identified which providers will be eligible for the funding, they will be invited to “submit an implementation plan” which “outlines their intentions” and sets out “how the available funding will be used during the 2018 to 2019 academic year”.

They will be expected to outline “short-term and longer-term plans for expanding work placement provision to meet the future demand for T-level delivery”, the guidance says.
Completing the implementation plan satisfactorily will be one of the conditions of securing any of the funding.

The announcement on gov.uk also indicates the ESFA anticipates that “the majority of funding will be used on building capacity with a commitment to commence an agreed number of work placements early to help ensure that the sector is ready”.

Further details will be issued by the ESFA in September to explain the government’s expectations for work placements, the assessment criteria for completing implementation plans, and more information about the funding formula.

Implementation plans should then be submitted by the end of October, to be reviewed by the Department for Education from early November through to mid-December.

The guidance says successful institutions will then be notified by the end of December and any institutions with incomplete implementation plans will be asked to resubmit by the end of January 2018.

These will then be reviewed by the end of February, when the allocation amounts will be finalised for each provider.

Institutions will be written to in order to confirm the allocation they will receive, and will be expected to “build the work placement funding offer into their funding strategies” in March.

The funding will finally be released between April and June 2018, with the first placements delivered in the autumn of that year.

The £50 million funding should then increase until the 2020/21 financial year, the ESFA anticipates, as the number of placements also increases.

The ESFA adds in the guidance that it “will be working with sector bodies over the summer and refining our approach”, but “further details are not available until we issue the September guidance”.

However, questions, comments or concerns can be submitted via an online enquiry form available on the gov.uk website.

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