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Deliver off-the-job training as an employer provider

Most employers work with an external training provider to deliver the off-the-job aspect of an apprenticeship, but you can do it all internally to great effect.  

What is an apprenticeship employer provider?

There are three key partners in an apprenticeship: the apprentice, the employer and a training provider. Most businesses use an external training provider like a college or a university to provide (and be accountable for) the mandatory off-the-job training element of an apprenticeship programme, but you don’t have to.

Off-the-job training can be delivered by your own internal training and development team instead. In fact, many of the most prestigious apprenticeship programmes are run in this way, such as Rolls Royce or BAE systems. To do this, you must become a government approved Apprenticeship Employer Provider.

It’s understandable why many large organisations go down this route. As an employer, delivering internally, you trust that your training team has the right knowledge and understanding of your company to pass on skills to your future workforce that will keep you proficient and profitable for the coming years. The training is tailored to your exact requirements and can be updated as regularly as needed. What’s not to like?

However, apprenticeships are publicly funding training programmes. This means it is not just training expertise you need in your organisation; you must also have the systems and staff in place to evidence your programme is supporting people and good value to the taxpayer. This is where many choose to work with an external ‘main provider’, as delivering the ‘off-the-job’ element of an apprenticeship is too far removed from an employer’s core business. 

What auxiliary systems and staff do we need to become an employer provider?

Employer providers need more than just trainers to deliver apprenticeships.

Going down the employer provider route means you are accountable for the compliance of the apprenticeship training.

You will need to invest in systems and staff that track and report evidence and quality of learning.

For example, you must:

1. cost the programme effectively (understanding what is and isn’t fundable through the apprenticeship levy)

2. Initially assess the suitability of staff to enrol on the programme (and understand whether they need additional support or maths and English training)

3. Submit monthly Individual Learning Records to the ESFA, which state whether learners are still on programme, have a break in learning or have left the organisation completely

4. Let Ofsted or Advance HE come in and inspect the quality of your learning when required

You will not become a government approved employer provider without evidencing you can cover these commitments. Contact us for more support.

Is there another way our staff can deliver apprenticeship training?

Yes, there is. It’s not always easy to setup and you can’t manage the whole programme, but you can become a government approved ‘supporting provider’.

This would mean you work with a ‘main provider’ who will be ultimately responsible for the compliance of the programme and subcontract some of the training to your own staff.

This is a great option for organisations with a small internal training department. The difficultly comes in finding the right partner who will subcontract to you.

Supplytrain’s Senior Advisers can give you hints and tips to find a good working relationship.

How large are the businesses that have employer provider status?

There isn’t a size requirement to becoming an employer provider but, generally speaking, organisations that self-deliver the off-the-job training element of apprenticeships tend to employ over 1,000 people.

This is because, although rewarding, it is a huge commitment. It takes a great deal of money and time to setup effectively. You must be looking to run a substantial annual programme and be whole heartedly committed to growing your own talent as part of your business plan.

When organisations take a long-term approach to recruitment, retention and reducing skills gaps, it works. However, you must have the resource and patience to implement a system before seeing results 3 or 4 years down the line.

Is the employer provider route right for you?

The easiest thing to do is to use our contact form at the bottom of this page to book a call giving us a bit of background about your organisation.

We can then talk through the pros and cons of becoming an employer provider in your circumstances, explain the process of getting on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers and, if you need further support, signpost you to trusted consultants who can help prepare you to self-deliver apprenticeship training.   

Want free advice?

Understanding your government-funded training and employment options is not easy. We help by providing free, impartial, business-focused advice via a phone call.

Tell us what you are trying to achieve as a business and we’ll talk through how apprenticeships, traineeships or the Kickstart scheme can support your business plans. 

Complete the following form, giving us a bit of background, your number and email address and we’ll be in touch to arrange a 30 minute call at a time that suits you. 

With our expert advice, you will have a clearer plan as to how government funded training and employability programmes can support your business, how much they will cost and what to do next to start running a programme that works for you and your employees.  

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Not ready to talk yet? Try these other resources…

Check your knowledge

Take our quick 13-question quiz to check your apprenticeship knowledge is up-to-date.
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Employer Toolkit

Gain a thorough understanding of how to set up an apprenticeship programme in your business with the Employers’ Apprenticeship Toolkit.

NI calculator

Did you know there’s no Employer National Insurance contributions for young apprentices? You could save thousands of pounds!

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