No news on permanent Institute for Apprenticeships boss

Attempts to recruit a permanent chief executive of the Institute for Apprenticeships are still ongoing, six months after the process was launched.

FE Week learned at the start of this academic year that the latest round of interviews would be taking place over three weeks up to the end of the first week of October.

A spokesperson said at the time that there had been “strong interest” and the search was in its “latter stages”, with interviews planned for a “number of candidates”.

But this week an IfA spokesperson could not confirm an appointment had been made, and claimed the “recruitment process is continuing” and that “an announcement will be made in due course”.

The search for a full-time successor to outgoing boss Peter Lauener, who is also coming to the end of his stint as chief executive of the Education and Skills Funding Agency, began in April.

The original closing time for applications was late May.

FE Week understands the initial delay with launching the recruitment process had been because the government wanted the IfA to have a permanent chair in place before they advertised for a CEO, who was eventually announced as Antony Jenkins.

It was then revealed that the position would be on a fixed-term contract of up to five years, with a salary of up to £142,500.

The initial recruitment round proved to be fruitless, with apparently no suitable candidates identified, so the IfA turned to headhunters in July.

The wait for a permanent chief executive is of particular concern at a time when the sector is crying out for leadership, amid mounting teething problems with the new levy system.

Things have come to a head with last week’s revelation that apprenticeship starts had plummeted by 61 per cent since May, compared with the same period last year.

The IfA has many key responsibilities, including developing and maintaining quality criteria for the approval of apprenticeship standards and assessment plans, which it also publishes, and quality-assuring the delivery of end-point assessments.

Its recently launched website says that it has “been launched to ensure that all apprenticeships are top quality”, and will “focus on ensuring apprentices have the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to make a significant contribution to their job role, sector and employer”.

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