Hello 2017

Somewhat perversely, modern humans have traditionally adopted January as the month for new resolutions. Looking forward, not backwards, and planning for the year ahead (hopefully with renewed optimism) gets us through our post-holiday torpor.

The stakes for apprenticeships have never been higher

For anyone involved in creating and delivering apprenticeships, there are some important milestones on the horizon. And with the introduction of the new apprenticeship levy in April it’s never been more important for everyone involved to understand the changes ahead.

There is a dearth of complex information available on the reforms themselves (far too complex to replicate here), although a cursory Google search will set you off in the right direction. Regardless of whether you are an employer or a centre ‘DYOR’ (doing your own research) is the order of the day.

But while January still holds its strange motivational sway here are some starting points and questions to inspire you to get informed and ready for the year ahead..

The levy cometh…

A new apprenticeship levy will hit levy paying employers from 6 April 2017. The levy will be applied to all organisations, not just those that have, or intend to use, apprentices. The funds generated will be used by the government to help pay for the cost of apprenticeship training.

The old SASE standards will be gradually phased out from August 2017 and if you are an existing provider you will need to decide when to make the transition to the new standards. Will you offer a qualifications-based programme or something more bespoke?

Registered Assessment Organisations (RAO’s) will deliver end-point assessment. Learning providers can recommend a registered organisation but the final choice is down to the employer.

What should centres be doing?

Many colleges and training providers are already speaking to local employers about testing and developing their programmes.

Appoint an in-house expert on the new standards and start to engage with local businesses. Other bodies like Local Enterprise Partnerships, Trailblazer Groups or Sector Skills Councils can also be invaluable sources of information. Getting informed and starting conversations will be the key to being ready.

What about employers?

Employers, likewise, should be delving deep into the new levy rules to work out their own payroll obligation, conducting skills audits, aligning apprenticeship recruitment with their wider business strategy and starting to look around for apprenticeship providers. Get your strategy right now and the opportunities could be vast.

Ask a broad range of questions when choosing providers to really work out who will meet your needs. Do they have a proven track record and experience? What is their delivery methodology? Can they access a wide range of standards to meet your needs? Asking the right questions will be crucial for finding the right provider for you.

Need some bespoke advice?

If you are still unsure about the opportunities that the new apprenticeship reforms could bring why not speak to a Pearson expert? From initial assessment through on programme learning to end-point assessment and completion we are happy to help and advise.

Call us for a chat on 0844 576 0045 or email wblfe@pearson.com.

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