Providers wanted for £10m civil service apprenticeships

Government to hunt for providers to deliver 33 apprenticeships in DfE and ESFA

Government to hunt for providers to deliver 33 apprenticeships in DfE and ESFA

The government will launch a £10 million procurement to deliver apprenticeships for civil servants within the Department for Education as early as spring next year, FE Week has learned.

According to the DfE’s estimated commercial pipeline for next year, it is looking for one or more suppliers to deliver 33 apprenticeship standards for staff within DfE and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

The contract, titled “apprenticeships for DfE colleagues 2024-2027,” is expected to have a value of £10 million and will divide into 18 lots.

FE Week has learned nine standards at level 3 and eight standards at level 4 will be on the table, including level 3 content creator, level 3 team leader or supervisor, level 4 data analyst, and level 4 project manager.

One level 2 apprenticeship in customer service will be available and a handful of standards in human resources at levels 5 and 7 are also set to be part of the procurement.

DfE will also be looking for a supplier for level 6 integrated degrees in data science, and project management.

The apprenticeships will be based inside the Department for Education and the Education and Skills Funding Agency. IfATE and other agencies are not understood to be part of the scope.

While the procurement has not yet appeared on the government’s contracting portal, DfE had expected to start the hunt for a training providers from November 13 this year. The contract is due to begin from April 1, 2024.

FE Week understands that DfE could start the procurement process next spring.

The civil service currently offers higher and degree apprenticeships at levels 4 to 7 and some government departments offer level 2 and 3 apprenticeships.

But this new procurement could be a fresh commitment to public sector apprenticeships, especially as training providers enrolling civil service apprentices have been in hot water in the past.

This also comes after the government scrapped its 2.3 per cent public sector apprenticeships target last year after consistently failing to hit the numbers.

In 2018, the government removed Premier Partnership from the list of apprenticeship providers list as it was found to have “unsafe” recruitment practices. The provider delivered apprenticeship training to government departments including the Department for Work and Pensions, HM Revenue and Customs and the UK Visas and Immigration service.

Then in 2020, Ofsted slapped an ‘inadequate’ rating to KMPG for its poor apprenticeship programme. The accounting firm trained nearly 1,000 apprentices in the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury.

Here’s the list of apprenticeship standards expected in DfE’s upcoming procurement:

Apprenticeships expected in upcoming procurement

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