Launched in April, it is hoped that the government’s new apprenticeship levy will offer a multitude of opportunities; however implementation of the new scheme has not been without its issues, with one in three employers claiming the day before it launched to be unaware of it and many more voicing confusion about how it would work in practise.
Connect were therefore really interested to attend the Apprenticeship Levy Conference, an event where apprenticeship providers and employers including Pearson, iON Tata and NHS London discussed thoughts on the levy four months after implementation began. The future of the levy was debated by QA, Kaplan, and CMI Chartered Management Institute and perspectives on the reforms were shared by experts from bodies including Ofsted, NCFE & Skills First.
Some of the key points that we took away from the event are as follows:
Currently government targets are based on figures for the number of apprenticeships that are started. Many key speakers believed that this should change and that the targets should be based upon the number of apprenticeships successfully completed. Ofsted also suggested that no one should be entered for a programme unless they are likely to succeed.
End Point Assessment
End Point Assessment (EPA) was debated and it was widely agreed that in addition to upskilling, employers and employees would both benefit from additional qualifications to sit alongside the apprenticeship so that the upskilling is transferable. Qualifications in stages would also mean that on the rare occasion an employee fails the EPA, then the two years of work would not go to waste as the employee would have gained certifications during the process of the assessment.
While many believe that the new apprenticeship levy is a good venture in theory, there are still parts of it that need to be ironed out and it will be interesting to see over the next year any further developments in this new scheme.