I have just read the latest SFA Update Issue 154 and am confused abouth Item 1 Para 2. (attached)
“”1. Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) 16 to 24 –Eligibility Rule Action: Let employers know about the eligibility rule
Please ensure that any employers you work with, prior to claiming AGE, understand they will only be eligible to receive the grant once their apprentice has completed 13 weeks ‘in learning’ and employment with them.
In some cases, an apprentice may have completed 13 weeks employment, but not reached 13 weeks ‘in learning’ (from the Individualised Learner Record start date). If they left at this point, they would not be eligible to receive the grant.
Please check that employers understand this and that payment may arrive up to eight weeks after the 13 week point.””
My point is, if a Learner has completed 13 weeks employment but not reached 13 weeks in Learning, does this not mean that they were employed before starting their Apprenticship and therefore ineligible for the AGE Grant:?April 19, 2013 at 9:00 am #1002
You must record the withdrawal date as the last date of learning contact and this may be before an apprentice ceases employment. We have had such a case where an apprentice resigned after the 13 week point, but the last recorded contact by our assessor, and therefore withdrawal date, was 2 weeks before that.
You would only be able to use their last date of employmen as the withdrawal date if you, or the meployer, could prove that a learning, rather than work experience, activity took place and it was recorded as such.April 19, 2013 at 11:45 am #1003
If someone started with an employer on the Monday, but their first day in College was the Thursday after then I would expect them to be eligible.
Taking this a step further, if someone worked for an employer (say as a gopher) for a couple of months and then decided to sign up for an Apprenticeship then why would that no be eligible for the AGE grant? My understanding is that the eligibility is more about whether the employer has had an Apprentice within the previous 12 months.
Are you perhaps confusing this with Access To Apprenticeships where the Learner starts their Apprenticeship without an employer and therefore, by definition, could not leave within 13 weeks and have been employed for longer? I thought that is what you meant when I first read your posting, but that is not what you have said.
CasparApril 19, 2013 at 4:28 pm #1020
The quick answer to your question is no.
Tony has correctly identified the context that applies to eligibility to receive the grant when a learner leaves employment. I could only add to this that a self-declaration is also acceptable evidence to support the last date of learning for workplace practice.
Ineligible for the AGE Grant would apply if the learner was an existing employee before starting an Apprenticeship an additional requirement is also whether the employer had started one in the previous 12 months.
The workplace component of an apprenticeship should start on the first day of employment under an apprenticeship agreement and the activity that would support this would be the initial induction and start of training by the employer that contribute to the framework Minimum on-the-job guided learning hours but this is not universally applied by all providers as no definitive definition exists in the rules.
I know of some providers who consider a later start date which may be their first contact at the workplace, first day in off-the-job learning or the date of portfolio issue but in doing this complicates the question of what was the employment status before the start when this applies to match funding for ESF purposes.
SFA Update Issue 154 does clarify the position but the availability of the AGE grant aimed at creating new jobs is more a political tool that is being used to increase reported participation in Apprenticeships. In practice it does not encourage employers to retain the new employee and this is an issue for many providers who have identified a decrease in retention and subsequent success rates since the introduction of the AGE Grant with the 13 week point.April 21, 2013 at 7:22 am #1021
What do you record as the start date for the Apprenticeship programme aim record is it:
A. The earliest start date in structured learning for the framework qualifications.
B. The start date as recorded on the Apprenticeship agreement.
The reason I ask this question is to do with the Age Grant and the number of Employment Status records required as the only circumstance I can identify where a single ES record would apply is for an Apprentice where the learner was previously an employee with the same employer prior to the Apprenticeship in which case the employer would be ineligible for the AGE 16 – 24 grant.
If B is before the earliest start date of the framework aims this does not cause a validation error and this would reflect the actual Apprenticeship start date and allow a check to be made against the employment status records to help confirm any inconsistencies with eligibility for the Age Grant.May 1, 2013 at 9:42 am #1076
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