Posted : 2 months ago by Mandy Crawford-Lee

The Apprenticeship Workforce Development (AWD) Programme – Why UVAC is Delighted to be Working with ETF, AELP, AoC and SDN

The Apprenticeship Workforce Development (AWD) Programme – Why UVAC is Delighted to be Working with ETF, AELP, AoC and SDN


For many years there has been an ongoing debate as to the focus of apprenticeship policy. Should priority in the development, delivery and funding of apprenticeship be given to supporting 16 – 18-year-olds to enter the workforce and those needing support to access and train for an entry level occupation? Alternatively, should skills policy and skills programmes be focused on tackling skills gaps and shortages at higher levels in the labour market, for example, training nursing associates and registered nurses, managers and engineers? What are the relative merits of using an apprenticeship to support a young person who needs a little more help to get their first job, in comparison to using a senior leader apprenticeship for an existing NHS employee to improve NHS performance?

In reality of course, we need to do all these things and more. Ideally, the question should not be about where to prioritise apprenticeship funding. Instead, the ‘Skills Sector’ which includes Independent, FE, HE and employer providers, should be empowered and supported to deliver the apprenticeships and skills programmes the economy and society need.

Quoting latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) statistics The Sunday Times (15 January 2023) reported that “On the output per hour measure highlighted by ONS, French labour productivity is 18% higher than the UK, Germany 19% and America 25%.” In terms of action needed the same article went on to quote the latest Skills Shortage bulletin from the Edge Foundation highlighting Open University research “showing that 78% of organisations have suffered a decline in output, growth or profitability as a result of an inability to recruit suitably qualified workers.”

Low productivity, for which skills shortages and gaps are a key explanatory reason, means that employers are less able to fund increases in salaries and wages. Low growth in salaries and wages means less tax take for Government and less funding for public sector services, for the NHS, social care, police, and education, for example. Funding apprenticeship and skills programmes that improve productivity is not day-to-day spending; it is an investment which will deliver substantial returns.

Skills programmes, particularly apprenticeships also have a key role in supporting social mobility. This could, for example, be delivered by using apprenticeship to support a 30-year-old health care assistant who is first in family to attend higher education to become a Nursing Associate and thereafter a Registered Nurse. Or by developing better progression routes from advanced apprenticeships to higher and degree apprenticeships, where more work is certainly needed. It could also be about supporting a young person get a secure first job.

UVAC is, therefore, delighted to be working with the Education and Training Foundation (ETF), along with, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), Association of Colleges (AoC) and the Strategic Development Network (SDN) on the DfE funded Apprenticeship Workforce Development programme (AWD). This is the first time HE and FE representative organisations have worked collaboratively at a national level, to deliver an apprenticeship support programme. The AWD, in this next phase of development, encompasses all providers delivering apprenticeships and apprenticeships at all levels from level 2 to level 7. It rightly recognises apprenticeship as a technical, higher technical and professional programme.

ETF, with AoC, AELP, SDN, UVAC and SQW (as an independent evaluation partner), undertook a detailed and comprehensive survey of the training and development needs of the apprenticeship workforce in November and December and received more than 1,400 responses. UVAC is hosting Focus Groups on specific topics, to inform the development of the AWD. Based on the research undertaken, a comprehensive package of training, development and CPD will be provided to providers of all types and for all levels of provision, employers and their workforces.

UVAC is pleased to be working in partnership to design and deliver a comprehensive training and development support programme for providers that will help improve the quality of apprenticeship provision and increase the number of apprenticeships delivered.

We hope apprenticeship workforce development support will also lead to further partnerships. Perhaps joint work on making the skills case for apprenticeships? It would be good to see the skills sector as a whole championing ALL types of apprenticeship, ALL levels of apprenticeships and apprenticeships for individuals of ALL ages.

We hope that collaboration on the AWD programme can lead to more partnerships between HE and FE providers in apprenticeship delivery and the development of apprenticeship progression routes from craft and technical level occupations to professional and managerial level occupations. The AWD programme will also stimulate the sharing of good practice in apprenticeship. Perhaps the AWD programme will also lead to the development of greater HE and FE collaboration in other areas, for example, in the development and delivery of Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs)and the introduction of the Lifelong Loan Entitlement (LLE).

There will of course be tensions. Numbers on some apprenticeship standards will grow while those on others will decline. Some providers and provider types will do better than others from the development and evolution of the apprenticeship market in England. What, however, is clear is that the better apprenticeship performs and delivers the skills individuals and employers need, the better for the economy and society as a whole.

To consider the full offer and take up this fully funded offer which is FREE for practitioners, click HERE.


1 days ago, Samuel Taylor

Get our latest news and events direct to your inbox - join our mailing list

Please enter your details below –

    UVAC on X

    Book your team’s place on one of the FREE AWD courses this Spring.

    Sessions are designed to offer you a range of CPD opportunities funded by the DfE & delivered by sector experts, whatever your role.

    To book, go to -

    🎉May & June course dates for the Apprenticeship Workforce Development (AWD) programme, funded by @educationgovuk are now available to book!

    SPACES ARE LIMITED, book today at

    Delivered in partnership with @AoC_info,@AELPUK,@E_T_Foundation,@SQW_uk,@SDN_HQ

    There’s still time to join us for our webinar on April 17 showcasing HERA

    Led by RCU, the team behind HERA, this session will provide you with a comprehensive visual guide to the platform.
    #HERA #UVAC #Apprenticeships