We’ve certainly got some HEIs with the allocation they need to meet demand from non-levy-paying employers for Degree Apprenticeships. Typically large institutions delivering a range of Degree and Higher Apprenticeships: this is to be welcomed and such institutions are to be congratulated.
There is, however, a significant problem with universities that bid for relatively small amounts of Degree Apprenticeship provision. However well evidenced on the basis of employer demand, LEP priorities or skills needs the scaling back of bids has resulted in some universities being pushed below the £200,000 minimum threshold and denied a contract for provision vital to local economic and business need. This is entirely unacceptable and the ESFA could have easily avoided such a situation.
It seems we may well be facing localities with Degree Apprenticeship cold spots that have little or no Degree Apprenticeship provision which will severely disadvantage not just local employers and learners, but also undermine LEP skills plans. We are also aware of universities who have received DfE Degree Apprenticeship Development Funding that have not received an allocation to deliver the very provision they received Government investment to grow.
UVAC has been working hard to support new HEIs including Russell Group universities enter the Apprenticeship market. ESFA appear to have slammed the door in the face of universities and other higher education providers who were entering the market and proposing to deliver smaller numbers of Degree Apprenticeships. We know of several HEIs who didn’t enter the non-levy procurement, not because they didn’t have employers who wanted Degree Apprenticeship, but because they had lost confidence in the ESFA following the failure of the first procurement exercise. I suspect several more HEIs will question their engagement in Apprenticeship which is bad news for productivity, social mobility and Apprenticeships. We’d encourage such HEIs to continue their engagement and talk to UVAC about their options.
UVAC will be updating its analysis as events move forward and raising our concerns with key stakeholders. HEIs that want to discuss their situation are welcome to contact UVAC’s chief executive, Adrian Anderson in full confidence (e) firstname.lastname@example.org (m) 07710 136742.