Government launches consultation on apprenticeship targets


25 / 1 / 2016 1.59pm

On 25 January 2016, the government launched a public consultation on the methodology and reporting arrangements to be applied to public sector apprenticeship targets, due to come into force in late 2016/early 2017.

The consultation is open until 4 March 2016 and we would encourage individual NHS organisations to respond. You can view the consultation document and related links on the GOV.UK website.

NHS Employers will also be seeking views from a wide range of employers and will use these to compile a response on behalf of the sector. 

Key points in the proposal include:

  • The duty is to be applied to all public sector organisations that have more than 250 employees.
  • The target will be a minimum 2.3 per cent apprenticeship starts each year, to be calculated based on the headcount of an organisation.
  • Apprentices employed by apprenticeship training agencies (ATAs) can count towards the target (although these individuals must also be included in an organisation's headcount, to ensure the target is calculated properly).
  • Public sector bodies in scope of the target will have a duty to publish information annually on progress towards meeting the target and will be required to send this information to the Secretary of State.

Key considerations for the NHS:

  • GPs and dental practices are not in scope as they are classed as private sector organisations with a headcount of less than 250 employees.
  • Only a small number of clinical commissioning groups would be covered by the duty.
  • Consultation is seeking responses on whether certain bodies (for example NHS trusts) should be grouped together. If this were the case, then smaller bodies with fewer than 250 employees would be included in the group and would have the target applied as part of that grouping.
  • The consultation is seeking views on whether headcount, as opposed to full time equivalent (FTE) numbers, is the correct basis for the target.

When considering the impact of this policy change, it is important to reflect on how this may impact on your workforce plans in light of other recent announcements, including the creation of a new nursing associate role and plans to scrap bursaries for student nurses. You can find further support on these issues on our workforce supply web pages.

We will continue our work to support employers with delivering apprenticeships, for further information have a look at the tools and resources available in our dedicated apprenticeships and traineeships section of the website.

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