AELP: Sort out levy before changing apprenticeship standards

28th June 2016 at 21:47
Mark Dawe AELP apprenticeship levy
AELP chief executive Mark Dawe insists that running the existing apprenticeship standards for longer wouldn't be a 'big problem'

The government should consider delaying the rolling out of the new apprenticeship standards, the chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers has said.

Speaking to TES at the AELP’s annual conference, Mark Dawe said he believed there was no need to rush the implementation of the new apprenticeships standards. “Running on the current frameworks for a little longer doesn’t seem a big problem. Let’s get the levy and the basics right first. The standards are a great area where they can ease off. That seems to me a very sensible one to just hold for a while,” said Mr Dawe.

Yesterday, skills minister Nick Boles had told the AELP conference both the sector and the government should work on the assumption the levy implementation, as well as area reviews and the devolution of the adult skills budget, would go ahead as planned.

He said however there would be a “small delay” to the publication of some information on apprenticeship reform, including the standards, caused by the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.

'We need a long-term plan'

While he was reassured the levy was to go ahead, Mr Dawe said that concerns remained, primarily over the involvement of non-levy paying small- and medium-sized businesses, and called for assurances on long-term funding. “It cannot all be about dampening demand,” said Mr Dawe. “We need a long-term plan. We need some assurance of at least a minimum investment.”

There were also concerns over the provider register which is to be introduced. “How we define quality to ensure that the right providers get on and you prevent those that shouldn’t get on – how you do that is incredibly difficult. You just want to make sure it is fair,” he added.

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