On 25th and 26th June, 2018, ITSS Ltd Managing Director Bally Bhogal headed to London for the 2-day National Conference held by the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP). Keynote speakers included the Skills Minister, Anne Milton who gave the landscape view of apprenticeships one year on from the introduction of the levy and who was eagerly expected to do a U-turn on the 10% contribution made by non-levied employers towards apprenticeship training. Unfortunately, no such announcement came – to the universal disappointment of the over 600 conference attendees.
The consensus amongst AELP members is that removal of the 10% contribution is critical to future success of Government’s apprenticeship strategy. However, when asked for her views on the issue, Bally Bhogal presented an alternative, more positive view, which was published in the FE Week national conference supplement (see below).
Other key contributors at the conference included the Education & Skills Funding Agency’s (ESFA) CEO, Eileen Milner, who focussed her talk on compliance of the funding rules by providers and working hand-in-hand to increase the quality of apprenticeships. This was also echoed in part by the Chief of the Institute of Apprenticeships (IfA), Sir Gerry Berragan who will be providing a wider EQA (external quality assurance) role going forward, however greater interest was emphasised on the ongoing funding band review which could affect provision and providers.