It’s time to prioritise prior learning

Monday, February 18, 2019 - 10:46

The Department for Education is about to start taking a closer look into if and how providers are adapting their training and prices to take prior learning into account.

Training providers are expected to consider an individual’s previous knowledge and experience when negotiating prices, to ensure employers aren’t paying to teach their staff something they already know. 

The greater an Apprentice’s knowledge, the less the training should cost – but this may not always be the case and the government is preparing to clamp down on over claims.

All this has been triggered by a new investigation into Apprenticeships by the National Audit Office, looking at whether the Levy is providing the value for money and benefits everyone expects.

Stephanie Mason, head of further education and skills at the audit firm RSM, said: “The ESFA strengthened their funding rules this year and make it very clear that they will claw back funding when providers fail to reduce apprenticeship funding for prior knowledge, skills and behaviour. When conducting reviews since the introduction of the levy, we typically find providers have not fully accounted for prior learning.”

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) also warns, “We may take action to recover apprenticeship funding where this happens.”

Figures from last year show that 95% of employers were paying the maximum amount for Apprenticeship training – without any reduction for prior learning.

Ofsted also found that one provider was delivering “inappropriate” programmes to many of its 188 Apprentices – and was simply accrediting knowledge and experience they already had.

Don’t get caught up in the government’s crack down – speak to us about the effectiveness of your Apprenticeship programmes and how to account for prior learning.