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From FE Week:
The Education and Skills Funding Agency has moved a step closer to limiting apprenticeship providers’ delivery to the sectors they have experience in.
Under new conditions published last week for the refreshed register of apprenticeship training providers, providers must prove their “experience of managing and delivering training to learners and are established within the sectors in which you intend to deliver”.
And if in the future the provider wants to move into sectors they did not mention in their initial application, they must for the first time inform the agency “within one calendar month”, a spokesperson told FE Week.
Failure to do so will now determine the provider as “high risk” under the intervention regime.
However, the process for informing the ESFA of any delivery changes is still being worked on.
The agency’s director for apprenticeships Peter Mucklow told FE Week’s Annual Apprenticeship Conference this week that those details will be set out in “due course”.
He said it is “clearly a warning sign” if a provider changes the sectors they deliver in at “very short notice” and “as regulator, we ought to know about that and be at least able to raise questions”.
But he insisted it is not the ESFA’s intention to “prevent good providers from moving into new areas”.
Plans to limit providers by apprenticeship standards and sectors were first revealed by Mucklow’s predecessor Keith Smith at last year’s AAC.
FE Week understands that since then, the proposal, as well as another to introduce earning limits on providers, has been drawn up but the agency is holding out for extra funding from the Treasury to increase its oversight capacity, which is not yet forthcoming.