AELP Annual Conference round-up

TDN Chief Executive Michelle Celebrated her 1 year at The Derbyshire network work anniversary by attending the AELP Autumn Conference in Manchester on the 1st November.

The Conference was split into the following sections:

  • Apprenticeships and Employers
  • Overcoming Barriers to Social mobility
  • Combined Authorities approach to devolution
  • T level reforms
  • Quality

Overall an insightful Conference which highlighted the issues with the transitions with Apprenticeship reforms and how the changes have affected social mobility, like all conferences what is interesting is what is not seen in the presentations but what is said, and many attendees felt a more flexible approach is needed if the apprenticeship reforms are going to be the success they should be. Two large levy paying employers voiced their concerns to the new rule that requires 20% of all apprenticeship training to take place off the job. Employers in both the private and public sectors, say that they can’t afford an apprentice to be non-productive for the equivalent of a day a week nor the cost of staff backfill to cover their absence when there are many other appropriate flexible and effective ways of delivering knowledge, skills and behaviours required. Both speakers confirmed this was particularly prominent in higher level apprenticeships where resistance was being seen from line managers to release existing staff for training.

The requirement for small businesses to make a financial contribution towards the cost of the training have led to huge falls in starts among SMEs across the country, including in the many areas where levy payers don’t operate, it will be interesting to see what changes are brought in and within what timescale.

Further changes to the DAS system were highlighted by the ESFA, hopefully to make the process simpler to use.

T -level reforms and how these will sit alongside Apprenticeship will be an interesting one to watch over the next 12 months as some colleges start to pilot the work experience element this academic year. Will employers be overwhelmed with the requests for Work placements, internships, traineeships and Apprentices?

An underlying message throughout the conference is the government’s position on sub-contracting, the ongoing reduction of subcontracting looks like it is here to stay, what the government and employers want to see is more collaborative working – sub-contracting models where the sub-contractor is delivering specialist or niche provision that the main provider cannot.

Ofsted’s key message was their scrutiny of the suitability of the curriculum and the distance travelled for the learner. We will be doing a lot more quality related workshops over the next 6 months, especially as Ofsted are being pushed to start inspecting sub-contractors in their own right.

All the slides frmo teh conference are available in the members area of our website.

Let’s see what the next 12 months brings us!