The Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) has had its first working day today.
The IfA, which will set quality criteria for the development of apprenticeships standards and advise on funding, has been launched days before the start of the apprenticeship levy on 6 April.
Antony Jenkins, former chief executive of Barclays bank, and eight board members – including Dame Asha Khemka, principal and chief executive of West Nottinghamshire College Group, and Bev Robinson, principal of Blackpool and the Fylde College and director of the National College for Onshore Oil and Gas – will oversee the organisation.
Robert Halfon, minister for apprenticeships and skills, said that he was "delighted" that the IfA was now operational, and that it would help "people of all ages and all backgrounds get their foot on the ladder of opportunity".
'Key part of the jigsaw'
Mr Halfon said: “I am delighted that today marks the first working day of the IfA. This is a key part of the jigsaw that will ensure employers get the skills their workforce needs.
“With the apprenticeship levy coming into force later this week, we are truly working together with business to invest in home-grown skills and ensuring people of all ages and all backgrounds get their foot on the ladder of opportunity.”
Antony Jenkins said: “The institute is now formally up and running. As an employer-led organisation we will be well informed and responsive to the evolving skills that they need to succeed and that our apprentices need to fulfil their potential.
“The institute launches ahead of the apprenticeship levy coming into force on Thursday (6 April). The levy will double the annual investment in apprenticeships to £2.5 billion by 2019 to 2020. This will ensure that every person, regardless of their background, gets the chance they deserve to succeed.”
In a statement published today by the Department for Education it was announced that Hefce, and not Ofsted, would inspect providers delivering level 6 and 7 degree apprenticeships. The measure was approved by the DfE, IfA, Education and Skills Funding Agency, Ofsted, Ofqual, Hefce and QAA.
A spokesperson from the DfE said that the IfA's chief executive would be announced "in due course".