How do apprenticeships tackle the need for adult care?

The IfATE did not change the funding band for adult care worker apprenticeships - here Lucy Rigler explains why

The number of apprenticeship starts in adult care has increased over the past year

Training the next generation of adult care workers is of huge importance to the nation. They work on the frontline, supporting and nurturing some of the most vulnerable members of our society. They need backing from the government and taxpayers to ensure that they are properly trained now and in the future.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) is extremely proud of the role that apprenticeships are playing in this area.


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Positive feedback on apprenticeships

Key strategic stakeholders were involved in the development of the two main available standards – adult care worker and lead adult care worker – including skills for care. We remain grateful for their input and commitment.

We’ve heard a lot of positive feedback on how these new apprenticeships have improved the rigour and focus of training for the sector compared with old apprenticeship frameworks. They’re also proving to be very popular.

Overall cumulative starts across the two available standards have more than doubled over the past 12 months.

They’re right up there among the most popular standards that have been approved for use. They’ve seen the second and third most starts out of more than 450 new apprenticeships now available across all sectors.

Adult care provision

Adult care worker starts actually increased from 513 in 2016-17 to 10,238 in 2017-18. And there were almost 9,200 starts between August 2018 and March 2019 alone.

It’s a similar story with lead adult care worker starts, which rose from 301 in 2016-17 to 8,379 last academic year. There were almost 8,750 in the first six months of the 2018-19 academic year.

Further to this, there were 339 training providers registered to deliver both standards last academic year – up from 57 in 2016-17.

And we are confident that providers are delivering within the current funding band maximum.

Employment outcomes

It was also encouraging to see that the latest apprenticeship learner survey highlighted positive employment outcomes in the social care space.

Since the launch of these standards, responsibility for advising on appropriate funding levels moved to the Institute, and the Department for Education increased the number of funding bands from 15 to 30 to allow for more nuanced decision-making.

As the standards have been live for delivery for some time, there is also now far more actual market delivery data that we can draw on to consider how the current bands are working.

That is why it made sense for the department to ask us to review the funding bands for both standards at the end of last year. Our decision, following careful consideration, as announced in May, was that the funding bands for both standards should remain the same at a maximum of £3,000 per year.

Value for money

This decision followed our guiding principles with all such reviews, which are that the resulting funding levels need to be sufficient to cover the cost of high-quality training while providing value for money.

As I’ve said before, we will, of course, be monitoring the impact of all our funding review decisions. This will take time to ensure that we collect enough data to analyse any trends. If we see evidence suggesting that keeping these funding bands at the level they were previously at is having an adverse impact on numbers of starts or quality, we will act.

That time is not now for the adult care standards, given the impressive increases in starts that we’ve seen over the previous 12 months.

We are delighted that more and more adult care workers are getting the high-quality training they need through well-resourced modern apprenticeships and will take care to enable this to continue long into the future.

Lucy Rigler is deputy director for apprenticeship funding at the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

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