Apprenticeship funding in the news.

Apprenticeship funding has been in the news this weekend, as providers respond to cuts to funding for an Apprenticeship framework and the Shadow Skills Minister is frustrated by the answer given to his parliamentary enquiry on the use of bankers’ fines to fund apprenticeships.

‘The Skills Funding Agency’s decision to slash funding rates for a popular level three apprenticeship framework has been labelled a disaster. It was announced on Wednesday that the IT, Software Web and Telecom Professionals apprenticeship framework would be cut by about £2,000 from 1 April.

The SFA has not reduced apprenticeship framework rates since 2012/13, after a freeze was imposed during plans to switch to the new standards funding system.

Providers warned that the reduction in funding would only decrease the number of apprentice starts and quality of provision.

Ben Pike, managing director of QA Apprenticeships, one of the largest providers for this framework, said: “The lack of consultation and short notice for the drastic cut in funding for tech frameworks is met by surprise.

“The most significant concern for employers is that such large reduction in funding will directly lead to lower quality delivery, particularly as providers will have to reduce contact time and no longer be able to afford to utilise the high-cost specialist tutors and assessors that are required to develop the skills the sector needs.”’ – FE Week

Meanwhile, ‘The Shadow Skills Minister has been left frustrated with a “misleading” answer to a parliamentary question he lodged over what happened to Libor fine cash for apprenticeships promised by the Prime Minister.

David Cameron announced last April that if he won the general election, his government would fund 50,000 apprenticeships and traineeships for unemployed 22 to 24-year-olds using a £200m pot from fines paid by bankers in the wake of the Libor scandal.

Shadow Skills Minister Gordon Marsden also tabled a parliamentary enquiry on the issue on February 5.

He has now received an answer, but complained to FE Week that it “didn’t answer the question”.

Mr Marsden had asked Chancellor George Osborne what progress his department had made “on incorporating the proceeds of the £227m fine imposed on Deutsche Bank, in relation to their Libor activities into a new three-year fund to create 50,000 apprenticeships”.

The response said that the Government would “be spending twice as much in cash terms on apprenticeships by 2020 compared to 2010. Spending on apprenticeships in England will be £2.5bn in 2019-20.

“The BIS spending review settlement for apprenticeships reflects the government’s commitment regarding the proceeds of the Libor fine the FCA announced in April 2015.”

After reading this, Mr Marsden told FE Week on Monday: “They [Treasury officials] didn’t answer the question, which was really quite simple. There has been a vague allusion to it [what happened to the Libor fines money], but little more which is misleading.”’ – FE Week

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