It’s great news that the Skills Funding Agency has finally committed to funding in-year 16 to 18 apprenticeships.

We managed to break this story online before it was announced by the agency, and featured it in the paper’s budget coverage.

It’s an encouraging development after last week’s editorial called for more investment in apprenticeships the government is so keen to promote.

Backing training for this age group is all the more sensible considering the legal necessity for young people to continue their studies post-16.

I found delegates at AAC were relieved on the one hand — but also angry about unnecessary uncertainty prior to the announcement.

It provided limited clarity over the direction apprenticeships are taking.

But that paled into insignificance compared to the widespread frustration expressed over lack of explanation by the government on how the reform programme, particularly the levy, will be implemented.

We are now hearing that employers are being put off investing in apprenticeships because of this, which is a worry.

Businesses crave certainty before committing large sums of cash and they aren’t getting it right now.


Nick Linford is the editor of FE Week

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