A new rule that means training providers no longer need to immediately withdraw an apprentice where they have a break in employment for more than 30 days will be applied to existing learners, the government has confirmed.
The Department for Education made the clarification in version two of the apprenticeship funding rules published today.
Until now every apprentice that changed employer part-way through their programme was automatically counted as a non-achieving leaver if they did not commence new employment within 30 days. This would in turn bring down an individual provider’s retention and overall qualification achievement rate.
Version one of the apprenticeship funding rules for 2022/23, published in July, revealed that where there is a break in employment of more than 30 days and up to 12 weeks, the main provider does not have to withdraw the apprentice immediately.
Instead, the provider can record the apprentice as on a break in learning after 30 days, and only when the apprentice does not re-start with a new employer after 12 weeks must the provider withdraw the apprentice from the programme.
Version two of the rules has clarified that this rule will apply “irrespective of the apprentice’s start date and will include existing learners who started their apprenticeship programme in previous funding years”.
The Association of Employment and Learning Providers said the rule change was a big win for apprentices, providers and employers as it will reduce the number of non-completions.
“We’re pleased the Department for Education has extended the rules around breaks in employment to include apprentices from previous funding years,” said chief executive Jane Hickie.
“This should result in fewer apprentices being unnecessarily withdrawn from programme and in turn help increase overall achievement rates.”
Today’s funding rule update also reminded providers that following a change in legislation, prisoners are now eligible to undertake apprenticeships without the need for an apprenticeship agreement. The first prisoners to take up an apprenticeship started their programmes this week.