Temporary apprenticeship funding band uplifts planned for later this month, DfE reveals

Providers will need to 'present conclusive evidence that costs of delivery have been substantially impacted'

Providers will need to 'present conclusive evidence that costs of delivery have been substantially impacted'

Providers and employers will be able to apply for temporary funding uplifts for apprenticeships where costs have “substantially” increased from the end of this month, the Department for Education has announced.

Peter Mucklow, director of apprenticeships at the DfE, revealed the plans at the Association of Employment and Learning Providers’ (AELP) autumn conference in Manchester today. He said the government would provide a short-term boost to apprenticeship standards in the hardest hit sectors while they wait for full funding reviews.

Few details of the support package have been announced so far, with more guidance expected from the Institute for Apprenticeships and technical Education (IfATE) in mid-November.

Mucklow said: “Our intention is that from later this month, employers and trailblazers will be able to apply for a temporary increase in funding for individual standards, where they can present conclusive evidence that costs of delivery have been substantially impacted. This will support apprenticeship delivery in the short term until a full funding review can take place for these standards. I hope that this is welcome news.”

He said that there was a limit to the number of full funding reviews IfATE could carry out at once, and recognised that some sectors would be harder hit by current rising cost pressures than others.

The AELP published research yesterday which showed funding for current apprenticeship standards were not meeting the true cost of delivery in sectors such as catering and hospitality, transport and logistics, care, construction, and engineering and manufacturing.

It is not yet clear what will constitute “substantial impact” or how much funding is being made available to deliver the uplift.

Mucklow said it was “more appropriate and better value for money for the taxpayer” to take an approach to supporting standards which will be more impacted rather than increasing funding for all standards across the board.

He added: “With government not generally supporting across-the board increases in funding rates across the education sector with cost-of-living increases, that offers the best opportunity of preventing of what we might envisage as a shortage of provision, a shortage of supply, because of affordability issues.”

IfATE chief executive Jennifer Coupland also spoke about the temporary funding uplifts at today’s conference. She said: “We have really heard from providers how difficult things are with rising costs across the board, but particularly in certain sectors where we know that there were already challenges around recruiting suitable trainers, suitably qualified teachers etc.

“We also know that consumables, the costs of training are higher in some apprenticeships than others, I am thinking particularly around construction trades where people are using a lot of materials by the very nature of the apprenticeship, and those sorts of things we want to try to reflect as best as we can within the funding uplift programme.

“We need to do something quickly.”

She added that she hopes the temporary funding uplifts can be reviewed and approved within a month of the application being received.

AELP chief executive Jane Hickie said: “It is positive to hear IfATE plan to implement a funding band uplift, where employers can evidence increased costs.

“I hope this support comes quickly and will help alleviate financial pressure on providers in light of inflation. Along with any interim measures, IfATE should commit to reviewing funding bands at least every two years, ensuring apprenticeship funding matches the true cost of delivery.”

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