The cut-off date for starts on old-style apprenticeships, known as frameworks, could be extended, the chief operating officer of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education has said.

In a webinar hosted by the Association of Colleges this afternoon, Rob Nitsch revealed that work on prolonging the switch beyond 31 July is already underway.

“Yes, in a nutshell”, he said when asked whether it would “make sense” to extend the date.

“We have done a bit of work on this. It is interesting across different sectors – some are very well set up, they have left frameworks behind but there are a couple of other sectors where that conversion hasn’t fully happened.

“There is a discussion to be had and I know there is consideration of what is the best thing to do in that space.

“That is where it sits at the moment, voices are being heard and it is currently being weighed as an issue.”

Nitsch added that the government is “absolutely committed” to the turn off of frameworks as their employer-designed replacement, known as standards, are “widely acknowledged as the better product, they are where the future is”.

The process of closing old-style apprenticeship frameworks to new starts began in March 2016, and the original intention was to switch them all off by August 2017.

But this cut-off was dropped at the end of 2015, and replaced with a “migration from apprenticeship frameworks to standards over the course of the parliament”.

The government’s current plan is for all apprenticeship starts to be on standards from 1 August 2020.

Association of Employment and Learning Providers chief policy officer, Simon Ashworth, said a postponement on this is a “no-brainer”.

“The IfATE position makes a great deal of sense to us and in our view, we should be seeking a delay in the switch-off until March next year,” he told FE Week.

“When the pandemic is over, employers and providers are going to have more than enough on their plate to support a recovery than to be worrying about this.”

A spokesperson for the IfATE said any decision “regarding possible change to the turnoff date for frameworks” is “for the Department for Education to make, taking into consideration a wide range of factors”.

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  1. Just Saying

    As suggested extending the Frameworks deadline is a sensible measure. However, there is no point in doing this unless the new SME DAS rules are changed to allow Frameworks to be funded or increases in non-levy contract starts introduced. Most non-levy contract holders received limited new starts on their contract extensions for the current year, and these are likely to be already committed. This means there is unlikely to be any existing funding available to fund any extension of Frameworks if it is approved without these measures included.

  2. Joanne

    I do feel that all providers were working towards the closure date of July 2020, but since the outbreak of Covid 19, it has been put on hold.
    It would be unfair for learners who were close to complete their Apprenticeship to miss out, especially since the achievement rate for Standards achievement has dropped so low and that Apprenticeship starts are at an all time low.
    FE, needs to come out as supportive especially to training providers who do not have the big contracts with levy payers.
    Thank you.