UVAC Degree Apprenticeship Policy and Operational Update

UVAC Degree Apprenticeship Policy and Operational Update

 

  • ESFA Procurement of Apprenticeship Provision for Non-levy Payers–Following various meetings with ESFA and DfE, UVAC has (with DfE support) undertaken a survey of Degree Apprenticeship cold-spots resulting from the recent ESFA procurement for Apprenticeship provision for non-levy paying employers where HEIs were not or only awarded limited funding. Many thanks to HEIs who responded to our invitation to contribute to the survey.  Our report highlights the negative impact of cold spots on local economies, employers and individuals and has been sent to DfE and will feed into the DfE evaluation of the procurement.  We have also been invited to meet the Chief Executive of the ESFA and plan to arrange for two HEIs one with funding to deliver Apprenticeships to non-levy paying employers and one without such funding to outline the respective impact on their localities. DfE are interested in exploring with UVAC how appropriate sub-contracting and the 10% employer levy transfer system may help alleviate cold spots.  Please contact Adrian Anderson for further information anderson@bolton.ac.uk

 

  • 10% Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Arrangements – Colleagues will be aware that DfE has decided that under current Apprenticeship levy transfer arrangements ‘receiving’ employers are not allowed to use the transfer to purchase Apprenticeship training provision from a ‘sending’ employer or training provider e.g. an HEI. There is also a restriction on the ability of ‘sending’ employers to make a transfer to more than one employer i.e. ‘sending’ employers can only make a transfer to one employer.  The later restriction is, we understand, a ‘system issue’ with the Apprenticeship Service which should be resolved by the summer. UVAC has made it clear to DfE and ESFA that both restrictions will prevent HEIs from delivering Degree Apprenticeships to the SME market, restrict the take-up of Degree Apprenticeship and undermine DfE objectives to engage more SMEs in Apprenticeship.  Such restrictions particularly impact on HEIs that did not secure funding from the ESFA procurement of Apprenticeship provision for non-levy payers.

 

  • Sub-contracting – UVAC is partnering AoC in the development of guidance on sub-contracting in Apprenticeship provision. This will be a definitive guide for all types of apprenticeship provider highlighting the positives of sub-contracting / collaborative partnership as well as a highlight of the poor practice (including examples, scenarios and case studies). Guidance on fees and charges will also be included. This guidance should promote/support the development of collaborative approaches to Degree Apprenticeship development. Please contact Mandy Crawford-Lee for further information m.crawfordlee@bolton.ac.uk 

 

  • Apprenticeship Funding Bands – Colleagues will be aware thatDegree Apprenticeship funding bands are being pushed downwards. The following Integrated / Degree Apprenticeship Standards have, for example, in the past month/six weeks been given an indicative funding band of £21,000: Level 7 Architect, Level 6 Architectural Assistant, Level 6 Social Worker and Level 6 Supply Chain Leadership Professional. UVAC has supported several trailblazers secure costings form HEIs and had discussions with Institute for Apprenticeships colleagues on securing data on the cost of higher education programmes. UVAC’s position is that costing should be robust and realistic and be based on the actual cost of delivery. Our concern is that in making funding band recommendations the IfA is relying too much on historic further education (ESFA) data and concerns over affordability.  We know from discussions with members that Degree Apprenticeships can be more expensive to deliver than ‘conventional’ degrees.  We will be undertaking more work in this area with UUK colleagues and will update members in due course.

 

  • Degree Apprenticeship vis-à-vis Degree Level Apprenticeship – Colleagues will be aware that the Institute for Apprenticeships as a result of its ‘faster better’approach is increasingly challenging the specification of degrees in Apprenticeship standards.  The IfA are pushing for the Apprenticeship certificate to be the qualification and seem to regard the degree as a duplication of the Apprenticeship certificate. UVAC, and we believe employer groups, have made it very clear that the IfA is wrong on this point.  While the Apprenticeship certificate may, in due course, be accepted as a ‘qualification’ by employers wanting to recruit to a specific role – the inclusion of a degree adds so much more to an Apprenticeship.  We know employers are saying that it is the degree in Degree Apprenticeship that helps attract young people and their parents. The degree through the development of academic and vocational skills and extra curricula activity develops transferable skills and acts as a preparation not just for the next job, but a working life. We’ll also be challenging the IfA over the transferability and acceptance of an Apprenticeship certificate both nationally (between different occupations) and internationally by employers and educational establishments. If employers, who are supposed to be in the driving seat in Apprenticeship development, want to specify a Degree in an Apprenticeship standard they should be allowed to do so. UVAC will be prioritising work in this area and will update members in due course.  Members wishing to discuss developments should contact anderson@bolton.ac.uk

 

  • Social Mobility and Productivity –Members will be aware that concern has been raised in various quarters about the risk of a middle-class land grab on Degree Apprenticeship and fears concerning the over-representation of the middle-class in Degree Apprenticeship. UVAC with HEFCE and the University of Staffordshire ran a workshop on social mobility at the FE WeekAnnual Apprenticeship Conference in March to outline how Degree Apprenticeships are supporting social mobility and tackling occupational gender imbalances.  UVAC are also partnering Sheffield Hallam University on their Degree Apprenticeship National Conference: Delivering Quality and Social Mobility. Selected papers and case studies will be published in UVAC’s journal Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learningpublished by Emerald. UVAC’s position is that the development of Degree Apprenticeship as an aspirational choice for everyone’s child should be celebrated and that the debate on social mobility should be based on evidence.  UVAC will also be continuing to make the point that Degree Apprenticeships are fundamental to the primary purpose of Apprenticeship – raising productivity. Watch out for our articles!

 

UVAC articles already published on the subject of social mobility:

To Boost Social Mobility We Need More Degree Apprenticeships

No Need to Fully Fund Level Two Apprenticeships

The Quality of Apprenticeship Training – How Universities are Rising to the Challenge

 

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