Apprenticeships – changes in employer and the new funding rules.

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This topic contains 16 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  shtin 6 days, 5 hours ago.

Viewing 17 posts - 1 through 17 (of 17 total)
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  • paultaylor
    Participant

    The ESFA have recently updated a funding rule around how providers are funded when apprentices have a change in employer.

    The previous guidance stated that where learners leave one employer that they must be withdrawn and restarted with the minimum duration re-applied for the new employer (which lacked common sense but that was the rule).

    The updated funding guidance says that where a learner changes an employer, then a break in learning can be used to pause funding as long as the gap between starting with a new employer does not exceed 30 days. The earlier guidance is applied if the break exceeds 30 days.

    In the webinar that the ESFA ran last week (link below) they provided some additional information on the dates that could be used, although they also said that they would be working with the ILR team to provide some additional guidance on this.
    What they did say in the webinar was that providers could use the last and first days in employment as opposed to learning end and start dates when applying the 30 days test (info at 14 minutes and 30-36 minutes on the webinar)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXbOE4JoUgs

    To me this seems sensible where employment is found within 20 days say, but where it has not been possible to get training provider, apprentice, and employer together to do the paperwork and re-start the apprentice until 40 days after they have left the previous employer. In this example we would not have evidence of learning for the apprenticeship restart until day 40, but the rule suggests that we use the employment day of day 20 as the restart date.

    However, this contradicts other information in the funding rules that states that the start date in the apprenticeship agreement, commitment statement, and the ILR should match (assuming that the this means ILR Learning start date and not employer start date). I can also see this creating some issues with Apprenticeship Service funding and the dates used here.

    Does anyone have any thoughts this and what else needs to be clarified?

     
    #427277

    Martin West
    Participant

    Hi Paul,
    The previous guidance stated that where learners leave one employer that they must be withdrawn and restarted with the minimum duration re-applied for the new employer but this only applies where the apprentice was withdrawn due to a gap in employment.

    The relaxation now allows a BIL to be used where the gap is less than 30 days, I here what you say about not getting the paperwork done in time but training with the employer starts and ends with the Apprenticeship agreement and this represents the last and first days of employment.

    It is my view that it is up to the provider to get the paperwork done so that the apprentice can start with the new employer but if you are unable to do this then you would need to withdraw and restart as a BIL would no longer be appropriate.
    I do not know what you are asking for as the new use of a BIL for gaps in employment I believe is only intended to cater for the scenario where a learner is planning to change employer and the 30 days was intended to cover restarting the apprenticeship with the new employer.
    HTH

     
    #427281

    paultaylor
    Participant

    Thanks Martin

    The question I was asking was can you use the date the apprentice starts employment with the new employer, as opposed to the evidenced learning start date that you would usually use. The webinar suggested that you can as long as it meets the 30 day rule but we need further information to clarify this.

    I’m also poking at the policy a little bit. I think this rule has been changed for a couple of reasons and probably mainly because of how this has impacted on achievement rates. I know that the Agency are surpised by the amount of employer changes that have been going through their system over the last few years, and to some extent this will be one of the many reasons why there will be a reduction in Apps achievement rates this year.

    Pre-levy, I don’t think all employer changes were captured on the ILR and post-levy this has been exposed where employers are turning off funding when learners leave and forcing providers to be more accurate with this (I know this should have happened previous but it was not). I think this will be further exposed when SMEs go through the Apps service where SME industries such as construction / motor vehicle / hairdressing have higher employer turnover rates.

    The other part of the rule which did not make sense was the restarting of the minimum duration. This lacked common sense, particularly where there was only a few months left.

    It’s not particularly helpful to publish guidance and a webinar that needs further clarification via technical documents, so I want to clarify some of these points before we issue guidance internally.

     
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by  paultaylor.
    #427319

    steveh
    Participant

    Imagine if a policy person actually came here and answered the question… Wouldn’t that be nice…

     
    #427334

    Hughes18
    Participant

    Paul

    I had raised the issue of signing documents before the Apprenticeship starts where learners leave one employer for another and i was advised that this could be completed retrospectively. I also think its a play on words because the apprenticeship has already started, it is a simple change of data to a new employer. Corrections to data are allowed and this is merely what we are doing. That said it would be lovely to have clarification here as i can believe we are probably all doing this differently.

    ESFA also need to understand that negotiation with the employers is not something that can happen overnight and that employers have a business to run and not always available to meet to sign the documents. To them this is just not important enough.

     
    #427392

    Annweldon
    Participant

    ok so what form of evidence for audit purposes should we be collecting if we are going with the last date of employment rather than learning

    Do we need to collect something in the way of evidence?

     
    #427455

    Ruth CJ
    Participant

    I’m with you on this one Paul. The new rule clearly says they need to have found a new employer with 30 days, not that they need to have started again within 30 days. I think this needs clarifying in the rules. As Hughes18 says, it can take a while to get paperwork signed, even if the employer and apprentice both agree that the apprenticeship was happening from day one of their employment there.

    I am somewhat apprehensive about the SMEs going on the DAS for this reason. We have a lot of employer changes in some sectors. When I spoke to ESFA, as Paul says, it was clear that they had no idea about the scale of this or the reasons for it. I believe there is going to be a mechanism to deal with employer changes and how that behaves with reservations and SMEs on the DAS, but not immediately. This means that we’re going to avoid putting SME apprentices on the DAS in this trial period, if they’re in one of the sectors that has lots of employer changes. The advice at the moment for SME employer changes on the DAS is “contact the service desk”.

    I am delighted about this change though. Previously, if an apprentice was bullied out of the workplace, and just quit out of desperation with no new employer, with less than 12 months to go, that meant they could never complete that apprenticeship (unless they could find a provider prepared to deliver for free, or an employer to pay out of their own pocket). To have such a horrible experience, and then find out your education is also ruined, was just a terrible situation. I’d been shouting about that for a long while, so it’s good to see they heard and understood the issue.

     
    #427470

    Hughes18
    Participant

    Hi

    We have a learner who left 22.12.2019 and started with the new employer 12.012.2020 for example, how do we calculate a refund? Would we take this back to the November 2019 date or 22nd December date?

    If we use the November 2019 date there are 22 days of delivery that we cannot charge for?

     
    #427657

    Martin West
    Participant

    The 22 days would extend the duration on the return to learning with the new employer after the BIL.

     
    #427674

    Hughes18
    Participant

    Hi Martin

    Thanks i had thought that but then perhaps over thought it.

     
    #427689

    Annweldon
    Participant

    ok so what form of evidence for audit purposes should we be collecting if we are going with the last date of employment rather than learning

    Do we need to collect something in the way of evidence?

     
    #427726

    Hughes18
    Participant

    Hi

    Currently within the transfer documents i am seeking confirmation in writing from learner the date in which they left, but i do not feel this is enough but the previous employers are generally unwilling to help once learner left, even though this is money from their pocket.

    I am not certain we need evidence as currently this is an amendment to the rule not properly thought out.

     
    #427740

    Martin West
    Participant

    The rules for employers require:
    Actions to take where the apprentice withdraws from the apprenticeship, where the apprentice is no longer employed by the employer and has withdrawn from their programme (not redundancy) OR the apprentice chooses to withdraw prior to completion but remains with the same employer.
    E235 The employer must:
    E235.1 notify the main provider that the apprentice has left; and
    E235.2 stop payments through their apprenticeship service account. This includes where the apprenticeship is funded by a transfer. The stop date that you apply in your account should correspond with the date the apprentice withdrew from the apprenticeship.

    You can either use the notification from the employer or the date the stop was applied to their apprenticeship service account or ask the apprentice to confirm the date on their P45.
    HTH

     
    #427751

    shtin
    Participant

    Hi,
    We have already withdrawn an apprentice because we thought the new rule applied only to 19/20.
    The apprentice from 18/19 changed employer in January 20 and there was a few days gap between his old and new jobs. Our understanding was the apprentice was not in employment (for a few days) hence not eligible for funding. Please help.

     
    #427970

    steveh
    Participant

    just change it to a break…

     
    #427979

    inna.richardson
    Participant

    Hi All,

    Could anyone help please? We withdrew a learner and then found out that she actually went to another employer and would like to continue her apprenticeship.

    She left Employer 1 on 31.01.2020 and started with Employer 2 on 03.02.2020 – so no problem to do a transfer via BIL.
    However, her withdrawal date is 17.12.2019 in ILR – that’s when we have last evidence for her as being in learning. Employer stopped her on DAS as 01.12.2019.

    Can anything be done here?

    Thank you!

     
    #428735

    shtin
    Participant

    Hi Steve,

    The apprentice was enrooled in 18/19. Can we just change it to BIL and just add the employment information? Really appreciate your help.

     
    #428740
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