Charities with a pay bill of over £3 million will be required to pay the apprenticeship levy from April this year. From the following month, they will be able to draw down their levy to cover the costs for training and assessing their apprentices. The Skills Funding Agency (SFA) has now published the register of apprenticeship training providers (RoATP) which lists all the business, public sector employers and charities that you can use to deliver training and assessment from May 2017.
In this blog post I will give a basic overview of the process that charities will need to undergo if they would like to become an apprenticeship training provider.
In this blog post I will cover:
If you want to get more in depth support, you may be interested in attending CFG’s Apprenticeship Levy Conference on Thursday 27 April which will have a session on how to become a registered apprenticeship training provider, as well as guiding delegates through how the levy will work, and how it might affect their charity, as well as providing practical sessions on how to integrate apprentices into their charity’s workforce.
From a glance at the register of apprenticeship training providers (RoATP) there are a handful of charities that have gone through the process of becoming a registered training provider.
For those charities that have the capacity to do so, training your own employees may be the right approach for you. Charities, especially those with working with very vulnerable people and providing specialist support, need to ensure that the off-the-job training their staff undertake covers everything the charity thinks it should.
A number of social care charities that I have spoken to already have high quality training programmes for their staff, and rather than using their levy to pay external providers to provide similar (and potentially less-relevant) training, they want to be able to use the levy to cover costs of their own in house training.
The list includes 3 types of provider status:
- Main providers who delivers training to other employers’ staff, as well as their own.
- Employer providers who delivers some, or all, of the off-the-job training element of an apprenticeship to their own staff.
- Supporting providers who are sub-contractors to a main provider.
Employer-providers will be able to use funds in their digital account to pay for:
- Training to achieve the apprenticeship, which could include qualifications or e-learning (as part of a broader training package).
- Registration, assessment, materials and examination.
- Administration related to the delivery of the apprenticeships.
- Accommodation costs for learning delivered through residential modules where the residential learning is a requirement for all apprentices.
- Costs for use of premises where these are used for the apprenticeship.
- Wages and associated costs (such as pension and National Insurance contributions) for employees directly involved in the delivery of the apprenticeship.
Employer-providers will not be able to use the funds in their digital accounts to pay for:
- Costs that are the employer’s responsibility, for example health and safety requirements, travel, commercial choices (e.g. CSCS cards).
- Wages for line managers or other colleagues supporting the apprentice.
- Wages of the apprentice.
- Profit or employee bonuses.
- Capital purchases, including leases.
- More than one apprenticeship at a time for an individual apprentice.
- Re-taking qualifications or assessment where no additional learning takes place.
- Apprentice recruitment.
- Anything that has received other government funding (e.g. the European Social Fund).
The register opens for applications 4 times a year. The first deadline closed in January this year.
In short, to include your charity on the register of apprenticeship training providers you will need to go through the following steps:
- Review the SFA’s application instruction document to see if applying to join the apprenticeship training providers is right step for your charity, and to decide which route (main provider, employer provider, or supporting provider) is the right one for your charity.
- Go through the register of apprenticeship training providers financial health self-assessment toolkit to establish if your charity is financially sound.
- To formally apply to join the register you will need to go through the e-tendering portal. The SFA has published guidance to take you through how to use the portal and what questions you will be asked.
The Department for Education has published an Employer-provider guide that will take you through the process. It is worth noting now that if you decide that your charity should join the RoATP, you will need to reapply every 12 months.