Hundreds of people have been affected by the postponement of an apprenticeship programme led by a major provider.

Zenos, a provider of ICT apprenticeships, has told around 300 of its 19+ candidates that there will be a “short delay” to their programmes, which were due to start today (January 9).

The training provider, which is owned by Pearson and has an apprenticeship allocation from the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) in excess of £45 million, is blaming “recent recent changes in the Government policy” on the delay.

Jason Moss, managing director of Zenos, added: “We are now working hard to ensure that the Zenos provision is fully aligned to the latest policy and that our learners continue to receive the best programme.

“All of the existing affected candidates will be starting a relevant programme imminently that will support their aspirations to gain an apprenticeship within the original time frame

“We have consistently adapted our programme over the last 18 months to reflect the government guidelines and we have a flexible and dynamic operation that can respond to these changes.”

Although the exact details of which policy have not been revealed by Mr Moss, the provider’s Facebook page sheds more light on the situation – as well as a number of comments from disgruntled learners.

The statement said: “Within the past 24 hours The Funding Agencies have told us that anyone starting an Apprenticeship now needs an employer and a specific job identified, prior to starting on the programme.

“This is out of our control and we can understand that this may cause you uncertainty, which we can only apologise for.

“We are working very hard on your behalf to ensure that you have a successful career in the IT sector and at present we anticipate that although the start of the training may differ slightly that overall you are on the programme for the same amount of time.”

For more on this story, see the next edition of FE Week.

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  1. Scott Upton

    “Within the past 24 hours The Funding Agencies have told us that anyone starting an Apprenticeship now needs an employer and a specific job identified, prior to starting on the programme.”

    No, really? Apprentices need a poper job to go to? Shock, Horror.

    Perhaps NAS / SFA have finally woken up.

    Scott Upton, Sandwell College.

  2. I cannot believe that they were allowed to take 45 million pounds worth of apprenticeship funding without the learners having an employer ready for them.

    Are Internal Audit going to be looking into all these apprenticeship programmes? I for one want my poorly used tax money back

    Shame on you NAS and SFA

  3. There’s nothing recent at all about the policy changes Zenos are claiming have impacted on them – the detail has been in funding guidance and policy documents for at least a year. As Scott says, “shock, horror”. You could go on to say “Shock, horror. One of the country’s largest apprenticeship providers fails to read the guidance.”

    The Telegraph reported on this at the weekend –

    The Facebook comments from learners who’ve been on the programme are interesting (Key/Functional Skills competence in Communications is lacking in some cases however).

    Dan raises a good point about audit. As usual though, it’ll probably be other providers who bear the brunt for years to come, rather than an ‘internal audit’ on NAS and SFA who have really cocked up here and wasted so much money (chasing targets?).

  4. Scott upton

    By the way, don’t you just love the way that the powers that be keep telling us to keep dodgy apprenticeships ‘in perspective’.

    Except they keep telling us, again and again, ad nauseum.

    Joke, absolute joke.

  5. Robert C

    It’s the fault of parent company; Pearson in Practice ATA. They are getting away with minimum expenditure for the course to gain a maximum income all under the cover of the non-profit Zenos Ltd.
    However this new scheme should have been tested first.