AELP responds to contract growth announcement

The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) has announced that it will pay over-delivery and ‘credible’ growth requests for Apprenticeships for the year 2014-15.

Subject to confirmation, AELP believes that providers have until P15 to make a valid claim. Traineeships growth apart from 16-18 has not been approved.

Next year there will be only 2 growth requests points and only Apprenticeships and Traineeships will be considered. Providers will be able to keep their non-apprenticeship ASB all year which will not be reconciled until year end.

All providers have lost 3.9% of the March 2015 non-ASB allocations. SFA has also confirmed that from 2015-16, budgets will be agreed ‘locally’.

Commenting on the SFA announcement, AELP CEO Stewart Segal said,

‘‘Clearly it is positive that the SFA will be funding all delivery and growth cases for Apprenticeship in 2014-15.’’

‘‘However this unnecessary delay has caused a lot of issues for employers, learners and providers and will take some time to resolve.’’

‘‘It is very disappointing that only 16-18 Traineeships growth cases will be funded as there are a number of high profile programmes that needed additional funding. The Traineeship programme is at an early stage in development so this lack of support for the programme will cause a number of issues for providers that have made a big investment in the programme.’’

‘‘The reduction in the non-apprenticeship ASB budget is another short term decision that will create further problems for providers who have to cope with yet another in-year decision.’’

‘‘This will be a major issue for those providers trying to grow their Traineeship, English and maths and programmes for the unemployed which were all considered priorities by government.’’

‘‘It is important that Traineeships are given the priority for funding because this is such a vital part of growing the Apprenticeship programme for people aged 16 to 24.  Providers can and will respond to the drive for growth but the government has to work with the sector to build the confidence in this new performance management process.’’