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Improvements to apprenticeship scheme announced

18 July 2023

The Department for Education has announced a series of improvements to the apprenticeship scheme which should make it easier for employers to access them and for learners and parents to find out about the skills and opportunities available.

The changes are outlined below:

  • A streamlined onboarding journey for small businesses to reduce by a third the number of steps employers need to take (from 9 to 6) to register an account on the Apprenticeships Service. Businesses can then get on with recruiting and training their apprentices.
  • Allowing ‘expert’ providers to take on more of the administration from employers. Providers will be able to use their ‘expert’ status as a marketing tool and mark of excellence. There will be a pilot from autumn 2023 and then DfE will roll it out more widely from August 2024.
  • Reducing the evidence that employers need to collect to prove eligibility. Building on its data sharing agreement with HMRC, DfE will reduce the evidence that employers are asked for, for example, to prove that their apprentice is legally employed. This will roll out from August 2024.
  • Once registered for funding, small employers can start their apprentice straight away, or even backdate by one month, meaning no paperwork delays. Currently, employers have to wait for all paperwork to be completed, which can delay the apprentice getting started on their training. This change will be made from September 2023.

Changes also aim to ensure apprenticeships continue to meet employers’ needs in a fast-changing world:

  • IfATE will review the content of 100 of the most-used standards so they reflect technological developments and up-to-date technical skills. IfATE will complete these reviews by the end of December 2023.

To help learners and employers find the skills opportunities that they need they are:

  • Launching a new ‘single digital starting point’ to the skills system in autumn 2023 to showcase in one place all the different skills offers available, making it easier for everyone to search for and compare learning or apprenticeship opportunities that suit them.
  • UCAS will pilot a service to match talent to employer vacancies from November 2023, and young people in the pilot areas will benefit from enhanced support with making apprenticeship applications from February 2024. This is in addition to previously announced plans for UCAS to start displaying apprenticeship opportunities to students from autumn 2023, and to enable students to apply for apprenticeships via UCAS from autumn 2024.
  • Promoting apprenticeships and skills offers in Jobcentre Plus through providing work coaches with the knowledge and information to refer their customers to local apprenticeship and training opportunities, through a mix of events, communication and updated guidance.

More information will be made available over the coming days and weeks on this. In the meantime more details on apprenticeship can be seen on this site