Many thanks to all HEIs who contacted UVAC about the above. From the discussions we have held we would highlight the following:
- HEI bids were typically strong, fully compliant and met qualitative criteria.
- Around 35 HEIs appear to have been successful.
- A large number of HEI bids had, through the ESFA regional scale back process, been pushed below the £200,000 threshold and such HEIs have, therefore, not been awarded funding. In one case a bid of over £500,000 was pushed below the threshold.
We will be raising the following points with ESFA, IfA and DfE:
- The scale-back process will result in Degree Apprenticeship ‘cold spots’ in localities where there is no Degree Apprenticeship provision available for non-levy paying employers. Such ‘cold spots’ are usually, but not exclusively, outside metropolitan areas. These ‘cold spots’ are likely to correlate with HE ‘cold spots’ Government, through various initiatives, has been trying to combat. This has implications for both the Government’s productivity and social mobility agendas.
- We’re aware of several universities with DfE Degree Apprenticeship Development Fund (DADF) projects, that submitted strong bids but through the scale back process have been pushed below the £200,000 threshold and will not receive funding. Essentially ESFA, is not providing delivery funding to HEIs who have been funded by DfE/HEFCE to develop Degree Apprenticeship provision.
- We are also well aware that even when successful, HEIs have had their bids reduced so substantially they will not be able to deliver the Degree Apprenticeship demanded by employers or needed by local and regional economies.
- For HEIs who have been awarded non-levy Apprenticeship funding we will be ascertaining how the growth process may support the delivery of Degree Apprenticeship actually demanded by employers.
- For HEIs who have been unsuccessful UVAC will be exploring how sub-contracting models may work.
- For all HEIs we will support UUK colleagues explore how the 10% levy payer transfer system may support provision.
UVAC will be writing to ESFA to confirm:
- How much Degree Apprenticeship they believe they have purchased, and comparative figures for Higher, Advanced and Intermediate provision.
- How ESFA will ensure Degree Apprenticeship ‘cold spots’ do not occur.
- Why high scoring HEIs, in receipt of DADF funding, which met ESFA funding criteria (but were pushed by ESFA below the £200,000 threshold) were not awarded funding and how this can be justified.
- Why a scale back methodology was adopted which penalises typically new providers, e.g. HEIs, delivering relatively small, but economically very important, quantities of provision of which Degree Apprenticeship is an excellent example.
We will also be making the point that while Degree Apprenticeship will become a programme used by many levy paying employers. Non-levy paying employers are, in comparison, likely to have limited access to Degree Apprenticeship provision.
Finally, we will be doing all we can to identify practical solutions for HEIs facing problems as a result of the procurement outcomes.