With the launch of the Apprenticeship Levy and accompanying Apprenticeship reforms just around the corner, many organisations are keen to make sure they’re engaging with the changes in the most cost-effective way possible.
One avenue that many are eager to explore is becoming the training provider or end-point assessor for their own apprentices.
In this guide, we’ll explore how feasible this approach is and sum up the pros, cons and considerations involved.
How Apprenticeship training providers work
As the name suggests, a training provider is the organisation responsible for delivering the formal, classroom-based sections of Apprenticeship training.
The Apprenticeship reforms will necessitate that learners spend at least 20 per cent of their time on “off-the-job” training that’s relevant to the standard or framework they’re undertaking. The onus is on employers to prove how this type of training will be quantified and delivered although the lack of a concrete definition has been a bone of contention among providers for some time.
In general, it can be classed as learning that takes place outside of an apprentice’s normal day-to-day work. While it can be delivered within the workplace, it can’t include any normal working duties - nor can any on-programme assessment that’s needed for the framework or standard in question be included.
And although they’re not ‘working’, employers will still have to pay them their standard salary (which must be at least minimum wage) for their off-the-job training.
Given the complexity of some of the issues surrounding changes to Apprenticeships, as well as the greater flexibility in how courses are delivered - many providers are also going the extra mile with their Apprenticeship Levy services - working hand-in-hand with employers to plan and deliver training that offers a tangible benefit to their business.
Becoming a training provider
No one understands your business as well as you and it’s no surprise that many employers have expressed an interest in becoming their own provider. The government has been encouraging of this, suggesting that employers taking a more hands-on role will help to raise professional standards within their particular industries.
However, it does entail a big commitment and for many organisations, investment in additional staff to help run the Apprenticeship programme and deliver training.
Employers can opt to become a provider by picking one of three routes:
Sub-contractor: In this role, the employer delivers a portion of the training, with the main provider handling the lion’s share.
Employer-provider: This is where an employer delivers a significant portion of the off-the-job training to their apprentices (although they can opt to use sub-contractors where required).
An employer-provider and general provider: By going down this route, the employer acts as both a training provider to its own apprentices and trains the apprentices of other employers.
If you’re interested in becoming a training provider as an employer, it’s well worth reviewing the formal steps you’ll need to go through to apply for inclusion in the official register.
Can your business become an end-point assessment organisation?
End-point assessment (often abbreviated to EPA) is one of the biggest changes in the way Apprenticeships are carried out. Once an apprentice has completed their training to the satisfaction of their employer, they’re signed off for end-point assessment, which can be carried out in a variety of ways - depending on the type of course in question.
One key element of end-point assessment is that it must be carried out by an organisation that’s independent of both the training provider and the employer (since you’ll be involved in on-programme training). As such, it’s not possible for an employer to be its own end-point assessor. However, it's entirely possible for your organisation to become an end point assessor for others in the sector.
Your training provider may have a preferred Apprenticeship Assessment Organisation, or if you’re an employer-provider you can find approved organisations on the government’s register.
The Apprenticeship reforms bring more flexibility and opportunity for employers, but there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when approaching the question of becoming your own training provider.
And if you’re looking for advice and support with any aspect of the Apprenticeship Levy - be sure to get in touch with our team of experts today: