Joy and heartbreak: contrasting emotions as funding band changes are announced

Funding bands for ten of the 30 apprenticeship standards which have been under review by the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education since last December were approved by education secretary Damian Hinds this week.

Changes for those that have had their funding reduced will come into effect for apprenticeship starts from August 5, 2019, while those that have increased will have their new funding band implemented for starts from May 7, 2019.

FE Week has explored what kind of impact the changes might have…

Hopes that rate rise will stimulate demand

The trailblazer group responsible for designing the aviation operations manager standard is flying high, as the sole beneficiary from this week’s announcement on revised  funding bands.

The rate for the level 4 standard, which has a typical duration of 24 months, will be increased from £5,000 to £7,000.

The Aviation Industry Skills Board, an apprenticeship board made up of the same companies that developed the standard, has welcomed the increase, saying it “now reflects the true cost involved to deliver the standard”.

The board does not anticipate that the number of providers that offer the apprenticeship will grow significantly as a consequence of this change, due to it being such a specialist field.

However, a spokesperson said they were “hopeful” the increase would enable a greater number of employers to offer the apprenticeship. 

The standard, which was approved for delivery in August 2016 , has had six starts so far in 2018-19, up to March.

FE Week reported in July 2018 that the standard had been available for over a year but had had zero starts – one of three aviation industry standards that were in that position.

A spokesperson for Heathrow Airport explained it was a “very complex” standard, which could only be taught by industry experts with knowledge of specific airport procedures.

There are six specialist functions an apprentice on this standard must select, including aircraft-handling manager and flight-operations manager in an air-traffic control setting.

Disappointment after rate reductions

Three popular apprenticeship standards have borne the brunt of the cuts.

The level 3 engineering design and draughtperson had its rate cut from £27,000 to £24,000.

The funding band for the level 2 financial services customer adviser standard will drop from £4,000 to £3,500, and the level 3 motor vehicle service and maintenance technician (light vehicle) standard has been cut from £18,000 to £15,000.

The latter has been under review since May and was the last course from the IfA’s first review to have its new funding band approved; the other two have been under review ince December.

The motor vehicle and maintenance technician (light vehicle) standard has had 4,823 starts since it was approved for delivery in October 2015.

A spokesperson for a provider of the standard, Calex UK, said it was “disappointed” and that this was an outcome “it did not support”.

There have been 298 starts on the engineering design and draughtperson course since it was approved for delivery in April 2016.

Philip Davies of engineering firm Wood, who serves as chair of the trailblazer group for the standard, said: “Industry is working with providers and EPAOs to support the ongoing delivery of this apprenticeship within the new funding band.”

There have been 2,675 starts on the financial services customer adviser standard since it was approved for delivery in August 2015.

A spokesperson for high-street bank Santander, lead employer for the standard, said: “Any funding reduction is clearly a disappointment but the trailblazer group is not planning to challenge this.”

funding band
funding band
Adult Care Worker
Band 4 (£3,000)
No change
Lead Adult Care Worker
Band 4 (£3,000)
No change
Healthcare Support Worker
Band 4 (£3,000)
No change
Financial Services Customer Adviser
Band 5 (£3,500)
Aviation Operations Manager
Band 10 (£7,000)
Investment Operations Administrator
Band 8 (£5,000)
No change
Large Goods Vehicle Driver
Band 8 (£5,000)
No change
Band 12 (£9,000)
No change
Engineering Design and Draughtsperson
Band 27 (£24,000)

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