Can anyone give me a definitive answer on what you can do with regards to ICT Functional Skills in apprenticeships?
Specifically, I would like to know about whether the following situations are allowed:
1. An intermediate apprentice has prior attainment of level 1 ICT and wants to do level 2.
2. An intermediate apprentice has no prior attainment in ICT, but wants to do level 2 rather than level 1.
3. An intermediate apprentice completes level 1 ICT before the end of their course and wants to progress to level 2 ICT.
I have asked the Data Service this question several times and received various answers.
The first time, they didn’t even read my question:
Please identify the specific learning aim references and look them up on the Learning aims database on the Hub and you will find out whether they are funded.
The second time, they included an “if there is a requirement for the learner to do it” qualifier:
If the qualification is funded and there is a requirement for the learner to do it, and to upskill them then it will be funded. You should be able to put them on the level 2, which includes a progression.
So are you saying that because the Funding Rules don’t mention ICT Functional Skills at all, that it won’t be funded for an Intermediate Apprentice to do level 2 ICT?
Both English and maths are specifically mentioned, and the rules surrounding them fully elaborated on – not so for ICT.
Logically then, the same ineligibility would apply to progressing from level 1 to level 2 ICT.
And they repeated themselves:
What we are saying is that you must identify the learning aim reference for the qualification you want to deliver and if it is funded and there is a requirement for the learner to do it, and to upskill them then it will be funded. You should then be able to put them on the level 2, which includes a progression.
Then they went switched to vagueness and ambiguity:
You will need to make a decision as to whether the learner can be upskilled as a requirement for their job.
Sometimes the Funding rules ask you to make a judgement call and this is one of those.
So eventually, I gave up. I’m sure the auditors don’t come in and say “Free ICT for everbody!!!!” – as useful as that may be in the modern, computer-dominated world – so if anyone can provide actual answers, I would appreciate it.
CrisFebruary 26, 2016 at 9:38 am #21646
This is a guess – not based on any actual SFA ruling.
I think “if there is a requirement for the learner to do it” is a woolly way of saying “If it is required by the framework then it will always be funded but if it is not required by the framework, you must make a judgement as to whether it is required by the Job Role for that apprentice and it can then be funded”.
Thus – if it’s necessary for the job, and recorded as such in the Learning Plan/Agreement then you can add it as an extra fundable aim.February 26, 2016 at 10:09 am #21652
It is the interpretation of the rules that is the issue as it is clear in par.255. ‘We fund only those aims identified in the apprenticeship framework as ‘mandatory’’ and while for some intermediate frameworks FS ITC L1 is the mandatory component while FS ITC L2 is not but FIS does not differentiate at the level but only on the component aim code so L2 will pass FIS validation even though it is not a mandatory component.
To sum up just because FIS and the HUB would not produce an error the rule still applies as there is no indication in the funding rules that you can claim for qualifications not identified in the apprenticeship framework to aid progression.February 26, 2016 at 1:31 pm #21660SFA STAFF
I have received this reply from the funding systems team:
As Martin correctly identifies from the funding rules we only fund qualifications that are a mandatory part of an apprenticeship framework. This means that if functional skills ICT is listed as a mandatory qualification within SASE it is funded and if it is not then it is not. Unlike English and maths we will only fund ICT at the level identified within the framework and not to progress to a higher level.
KarenFebruary 29, 2016 at 9:51 am #21702
Thanks very much – it’s nice to have all this cleared up, even if it’s not exactly good news.
One thing my manager pointed out when I told him of your response was that ICT funding is the same at level 1 and level 2, so it doesn’t seem to make sense (funding-wise) to preclude even the option of doing level 2 instead of level 1. I suppose that’s a ponderance for another time.
P.S. Martin, in response to your comment: that’s actually the only thing we’ve tried to add, so I didn’t even realise FIS was capable of rejecting things automatically. I suppose it’s of limited use if it doesn’t pick up such a commonly made mistake; I noticed on another thread that there are plenty of other providers raising ICT, no doubt many of whom are not on feconnect.March 7, 2016 at 4:21 pm #21954
I have always understood it to be that a learner could do a level higher than that in the framework requirement and it would be funded (all three FS), but in the case of ICT not do it twice (L1 & L2). You do run the risk of not getting paid for the framework if you jump in at the higher level and the learner does not pass though.
So for an apprentice you could do L1 and then L2 maths and English or just L2 and for ICT either L1 or L2.
As already mentioned, funding is the same
So is this not the case then?March 8, 2016 at 12:24 pm #21960
It’s not a new rule
110. We fund only those aims identified in the Apprenticeship framework as ‘mandatory’, unless we say differently within the funding rules.March 8, 2016 at 12:51 pm #21961
In SASE Guidance Feb 15 on page 8
16.To promote progression, where an individual has achieved a qualification at Level 1 or equivalent in either mathematics, English or ICT (if the framework requires this), the apprentice should study for a GCSE or Functional Skills qualification at Level 2 as part of an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship. Under current funding arrangements apprentices can be funded to achieve either GCSE qualifications or Functional Skills qualifications at Level 2 in English, mathematics and ICT.
Perhaps there is a later guidance that retracts this, but you can see why people get confused.March 15, 2016 at 12:13 pm #22079
What you quote from is the guidance for designing a (SASE) frameworks mandatory elements and not guidance for delivery providers as this is provided by the SFA in its funding rules.March 15, 2016 at 12:31 pm #22083
Thanks for the quick reply Martin, I had to ask the question as it was asked of me and I was not sure.March 15, 2016 at 12:41 pm #22085
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