Weekly Digest - 1 February 2017
Dear <<First Name>>
Last week saw the Government publish its Industrial Skills Strategy, this was accompanied by a positive blizzard of associated PR on skills, training and the alternatives available to a traditional academic pathway. I think it is safe to say that the Government have recognised that the UK has fallen by the way side in terms of technical education, and that Apprenticeships aside, we are not seeing the numbers required to support future growth and development. The plans for the Government to publish, later this year, a comprehensive strategy for careers information, advice and guidance cannot come soon enough.
The Board for the new Institute for Apprenticeships was also announced at the end of last week; made up of six employers and two college Principals, the absence of a representative from the independent training provider sector has been noted and commented on from a number of quarters. With the ITP sector delivering so many of the Apprenticeships it would make sense for them to be included... however five of the six Deputy Directors have yet to be announced so we may see some ITP inclusion here.
The IfA has published its draft operational plan and although containing no real surprises it does acknowledge and support the need to speed up the process around signing off and introducing the new Standards and associated assessments. The IfA are seeking feedback on the draft plan, with consultation closing on 27 February.
The Apprenticeship Levy continues to be part of our waking moments, with more commentary being heard with regards to whether there will be enough 'left in the pot' for non-Levy Paying employers (SME's) to access for their training needs. With SME's being seen as the driving force behind improved social mobility and productivity there is an absolute meed for them to be able to access funding for Apprenticeships. At a local level, where we do not have large numbers of Levy Payers, this could have serious consequences, perhaps not immediately, but certainly as we enter years 2 and 3 of the Levy. There is a continuing call for the Government to agree to a minimum annual budget for the non-Levy Payers - this would give smaller businesses, so critical in driving up Apprenticeship numbers, guaranteed access to funding.
Final few pieces of Reform update; the Register for Apprenticeship Training Providers, RoATP - the SFA have indicated that they will re-open for applications possibly at the end of March - I know that those of you who applied late last year are still waiting to hear the outcome from those applications. The new Digital Apprenticeship Service looks ready to launch, following a period of beta testing,according to a FE Week article. I envisage a flurry of activity...
Onto the Network and some of the activity we are carrying out to support our Members - our Prevent workshops, which will support you and your organisation meet your statutory obligations are now open for booking - read on in the Digest to find out more and book your place. Although not a limiting factor, the Prevent strategy is seen as a vital element within education - there are a number of concerns being voiced over the challenges in being able to effectively manage Prevent within a work-based learning context. With learners in industry, it is critical that employers are made aware of Prevent and that both providers and employers are clear about their individual responsibilities and their combined role within Prevent strategy.
The Network is supporting the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP with an employer 'Apprenticeship Reforms' event, which is being held at the Royal County Showground on Friday 3 March - interested in attending or think your employers would benefit from doing so? Please book your place here.
I am keen to meet as many of you as possible and have managed, in the main, to do so. If you would like to arrange a one-to-one meeting with me, or would like to see the Network offering something specific in terms of guest speakers at meetings, topics within the Digest or workshops to support staff CPD please do get in touch with me - I would love to hear from you.
With best wishes