Providers hoping to deliver apprenticeship training to non-levy paying employers have been left "frustrated" by the slower-than-expected publication of the register of apprenticeship training providers (RoATP) for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), according to the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP).
The register will show which training providers will be able to deliver apprenticeship training to smaller employers, and was expected to be released alongside last week's register for organisations offering training to large, levy-paying employers. But training providers have been left in the dark as to when it will be published.
Mark Dawe, chief executive of the AELP, said: "It has been frustrating that the mid March deadline has been missed for the procurement outcome because providers want to offer assurance to their employers that funding is available to maintain good quality programmes. It is also makes it difficult to roll out new provision in the sectors that are key to the government's industrial strategy and maintain the number of starts necessary to support the social mobility agenda."
A spokesperson from the Department for Education said that the register would be published soon.
Time to reapply for the RoATP
Last week 1,303 main providers were named on the RoATP, and will now be able to deliver apprenticeship training to large employers. But 600 providers – including approximately 30 FE colleges – were not included on the list.
In response Siôn Simon, Labour’s candidate for mayor of the West Midlands, launched a "fightback" after 13 further education colleges in the region were omitted from the register. "Thirteen colleges, and many companies – good quality training providers – from across the West Midlands will be blocked from receiving the funding for apprenticeships. But not if I have anything to do with it," Mr Simon wrote on his blog. "We must get this decision overturned. The Tories in London have turned their backs on apprenticeships – I will fight to overturn this decision."
And speaking in Parliament yesterday, Jack Dromey MP voiced concern over four FE colleges in Birmingham that had not managed to get on the register.
But apprenticeships and skills minister Robert Halfon confirmed that training providers that were not currently on the RoATP "can get on the register" if they reapply today.
In reply to Mr Dromey, Mr Halfon said: "This is a competitive procurement process to get on the register, everybody had to fulfil the same criteria. But what is important to note [is] that from [today] those who did not get on the register can reapply, so…maybe…they are not on the register now, but they can get on the register and apply from [today]."