The loan will provide access to funds for higher education to those that are ineligible for Skills Funding Agency funding. Similar to University loans, repayment will begin after the learner earns over £21,000 a year and is fixed at 9% of earnings. After 30 years any remaining debt is written off.
Learners will be able to apply from early April 2013 for courses starting on or after 1 August 2013. The types of courses that can be accessed using this loan include level 3 leisure management, level 4 Management and University Access courses. For a more comprehensive list please follow this link.
The new loan has been developed as a response to the Spending Review 2010. Due to budget restrictions, the overall Further Education and Skills budget will be reduced by 25% between 2011-12 and 2014-15. Therefore the 24+ Advanced Learning Loan will provide individuals in this age group with a great opportunity to continue to learn and develop their skills.
Earlier this month an announcement was made by the Skills Minister Matthew Hancock regarding the introduction of a potential 'Traineeship' model, which could be in place by September 2013. Designed for learners who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship, the Traineeship would see 16 to 24 year olds not in education or those struggling to find work, complete "flexible and tailor-made" work preparation sessions, a high-quality work placement and support if they have not achieved a GCSE grade C in English and maths.
This is good news for our sector as vocational routes to developing skills for sustainable employment remain very much in focus for the Government.
The government are currently heavily invested in their aim to significantly grow Apprenticeships within the UK. Part of their re-evaluation of Apprenticeships included the government funded the Richard Review of Apprenticeships, which sought to understand how Apprenticeships are working as a mainstream offer within the skills system. Subsequently as a result of The Richard Report, we may see some changes in the system.
The government has stated that its aim is to make Traineeships the "preferred route for young people who aspire to apprenticeships or other jobs that require additional training in order to reach their goals."
Mr Hancock is now urging employers and training providers to help shape the initiative's progression by inviting them to give their opinions on the plans.
The success of Traineeships will depend on the commitment and expertise of training providers and employers alike. Therefore, we would be very keen to hear your views and see any relevant evidence of existing good practice.
The deadline for responses is 5pm, Tuesday 29 January 2013.
According to the ONS, unemployment for the three months of August to October fell by 82,000 to 2.51 million.
Ian Taylor comments:
"One of the biggest challenges facing recruiters today is finding young people who are ready for work. Vocationally based training is the most powerful tool to develop potential, enhance skills, and magnify young people's chances of getting work. As a Sector Skills Council we have great links with a range of training providers. We see apprenticeships as an excellent means to train and recruit employees; they enable individuals to gain hands-on experience, whilst also earning money.
"I firmly believe that we need to be creative and innovative when training our future talent pipeline. Apprenticeships are of course not perfect but by listening to employers and working alongside Government we can continue to improve them and our nation's future employees".
Ian's comments come after the Richard Review, an independent report by former Dragon's Den star Doug Richard concerning apprenticeships, published last month, suggesting that Government funding must create the right incentives for apprenticeship training. SkillsActive backs the recommendations made in the report and will be a key player in helping to coordinate an effective skills infrastructure in the UK.
"As we prepare to enter a year where we expect to see growth but at the same time anticipate tough challenges in the business environment, vocationally based training must feature prominently. SkillsActive has a great relationship with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). As a recipient of government funding, we truly understand the value of these cash injections in getting apprenticeship schemes off the ground.
All in all when considering the implementation of apprenticeships, we will continue to work alongside our employers and Government in ensuring that apprenticeships are fit for purpose and address the skills needs of our future workforce."
His recommendations include a suggestion that apprenticeships should be redefined, due to what he describes as a weakening of their "brand", also the serial investor stresses that there should be a renewed focus on the outcome of apprenticeships. The Review also calls for greater diversity and innovation in training – with employers and government safeguarding quality.
Upon reading the Review SkillsActive CEO Ian Taylor comments:
"Doug Richard has made some sound observations and we can all learn from the conclusions he has reached. SkillsActive continues to work closely with employers to ensure apprenticeships across our sector deliver the knowledge and skills their business needs. As a Sector Skills Council we also have great links with a range of training providers. We see apprenticeships as an excellent means to train and recruit employees, they enable individuals to gain hands-on experience, whilst also earning money."
Ian Taylor also comments on the report's suggestion that Government funding must create the right incentives for apprenticeship training.
"SkillsActive has a great relationship with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). As a recipient of government funding we truly understand the value of these cash injections in getting Apprenticeship schemes off the ground."
"Doug Richard stresses that we need to look forward when viewing apprenticeships, this is absolutely correct. I firmly believe that we need to be creative and innovative when training our future workforce. Apprenticeships are of course not perfect but by listening to employers and working alongside Government we can continue to improve them, and our nation's workforce".
In terms of moving forward, DC Leisure an employer which SkillsActive works closely with comments:
"DC leisure has been employing apprentices and using apprenticeships successfully to provide career opportunities for our staff, however we would welcome greater flexibility in the training packages offered. For example, the inclusion of industry recognised qualifications in the frameworks for which we have SkillsActive's support however the government legislation does not allow currently".
George Hammer, Chairman of Urban Retreat at Harrods on the future of Apprenticeships, also comments:
"As a prospective Apprenticeship provider, I have found Habia's (sub-brand of SkillsActive) support invaluable in trying to understand what is at times an extremely complex and frustrating process.
I believe passionately in ensuring that the next generation have access to the highest quality training available and that they have the full support of employers in achieving this. They are after all the future of my business, and indeed of all of our businesses. But the process is at time needlessly bureaucratic, and I know of many excellent employers who have found that their good intentions became wrapped up in a never-ending stream of red-tape that ultimately dissuaded them from continuing".
Ian Taylor concludes:
"All in all we look forward to taking onboard the findings of the Richard Review and we will continue to work alongside our employers and Government in ensuring that apprenticeships are fit for purpose and address the skills needs of our future workforce".
The report recognises the importance of apprenticeship schemes to the UK economy. It outlines how vital it is for apprenticeship programmes to be fit for purpose and to reflect the needs of employers. Importantly, the report also recommends that the vocational route be given the same prominence as the academic route in the dissemination of careers advice.
The report highlights the effectiveness of alternative delivery models of training such as Group Training Associations. Stating that:
"We welcome the development of alternative models of delivery including Group Training Associations and Apprenticeship Training Agencies. These are employer-led and therefore have the potential to address the skills shortages experienced by business."
Upon reading the report SkillsActive CEO Ian Taylor commented:
"Apprenticeship programmes are of great importance and they should be an attractive alternative to the academic route. Vocational training is a powerful tool to develop potential and enhance the skills of young people."
"SkillsActive looks forward to continuing to work with employers in ensuring that Apprenticeships across our sector deliver the knowledge and skills their businesses needs. We will also continue to work with SMEs via our Group Training Associations to ensure that they receive the maximum amount of funding for their training needs."
To find out more about our involvement in Apprenticeships follow this link.
To find out more about our Group Training Associations follow this link.
Stevenage Sporting Futures Team cic supports and provides physical education and sport sessions to schools in Stevenage, which has high youth unemployment (7.9%).
The not for profit organisation has always been strong on recruiting and developing its own workforce from within the community. In 2008, it began employing school leavers in its Partnership Coach programme, which provides 18 year olds with 12 months training and work experience.
Director Jill Eaton says: "We wanted to expand our services and offer the young people of Stevenage a chance to kick-start a career in sport and active leisure".
In 2011, the company went one step further – hiring three 16-24yr olds through the Future Jobs Fund programme delivered by SkillsActive's National Skills Academy for Sport and Active Leisure. Jill says the programme, which provided 5000 young unemployed people within six months training and was a turning point for the company.
"The Future Jobs opened our eyes to the possibility of transforming our own program into an Apprenticeship".
The company joined SkillsActive's Group Training Association, which brings small and medium size employers together so they can access funding opportunities and specific training that would otherwise be out of their reach.
Thanks to the Group Training Association, Stevenage Sporting Futures Team cic received funded training that would otherwise be out of their reach.
The young people follow Apprenticeship frameworks designed by SkillsActive in consultation with employers. They gain nationally recognised qualifications such as an NVQ in Activity Leadership and various NGB Coaching Awards which are all delivered by the company's own training provider: Sporting Futures Training cic.
Jill says Apprenticeships have had a "massive impact" on the business – and the wider community.
"Many schools and community clubs have approached us wanting to retain the apprentice working with them for a second year are keen to develop and create a pathway into employment for them such as teaching sports teaching assistants or into further sporting careers in the sport and active leisure sector."
"Our new workforce has not only enabled more young people to participate in activities, they have provided them with positive role models in their own community. This is of immense value in a community renowned for low aspiration amongst youth."
The UK Commission for Employment and Skills has appointed SkillsActive, in partnership with Lantra, HABIA, People 1st, Improve and GoSkills.
They have been funded to deliver National Occupational Standards, Apprenticeships and Modern Apprenticeship frameworks, and qualification related products for three years starting 1st April 2012.
SkillsActive acting CEO Suki Kalirai says: “National occupational standards, qualifications and Apprenticeships are key products for developing a better skilled, better qualified workforce. This funding will provide the quality skills system the sector needs to achieve its objectives.”
SkillsActive achieved funding for three out of four of its national occupational standards projects, including:
SkillsActive has also achieved funding for Apprenticeships, with a special focus on coaching in Wales and achieving excellence in sports performance in Scotland.
The announcement on the level of funding for qualifications work is still pending.
The same study into Scotland's Modern Apprentices also found that the MA programme is highly regarded by almost all of its participants with 98% describing their experiences positively and four out of five praising the support they get.
This large scale survey was carried out in November 2011 by SDS's Evaluation and Research team. The survey was designed to collect feedback from Modern Apprentices on their experiences of the MA programme and was completed by over 700 MAs who are currently in training.
Dr. Lynne Robson, from the Evaluation and Research team, explains: "This survey illustrates how our new research team can help colleagues within SDS. Working closely together, we can provide robust evidence on customer perceptions which can feed into SDS's desire for continuous improvement."
Katie Hutton, Head of National and Local Government Relationships comments: "This report is a key component of our continuous improvement process for National Training Programmes. It has given us valuable insight into the views and experiences of participants, and it is particularly encouraging, to all those involved in delivering this programme, that the vast majority of apprentices' views are so positive."
You can read the full report and analysis of results on the Skills Development Scotland website
Apprentices can access thousands of pounds a year in funded training – SkillsActive can help your business benefit from this, identify how much your staff could be eligible for and negotiate training that meets your needs. SkillsActive is the issuing authority for Apprenticeships is active leisure and learning, so we are ideally placed to help you develop skilled, motivated staff.
No business is too small to benefit from Apprenticeship funding! SkillsActive’s Account Managers are here to help you understand the best Apprenticeship options for any organisation involved with active leisure, learning and well-being.
Take the lead in all areas of your business – make 2012 the year you take on an apprentice.
Don't fall at the first hurdle – contact SkillsActive and take the lead
Developed by SkillsActive in consultation with leading employers, the programme is designed to attract learners keen for a career in the sport and active leisure industry.
The first group of students begun the programme in September 2011 and will spend their first year studying a combination of core and optional qualifications at Level 2.
The programme supports the strategic approach set out in the Welsh Government ‘Skills That Work for Wales’ strategy. It is being delivered by further education institutions such as Coleg Sir Gar, Ystrad Mynach College, Coleg Llandrillo and Cardiff and Vale College.