So what’s new? Well, there are lots of new employer-designed apprenticeship standards available (some of them are great, some not so great…), the apprenticeship levy is coming, there will be no growth for training providers delivering frameworks next year, contracts to March 2017 have been issued, we have a new skills minister, skills have moved from business to education…

As independent training providers we are used to change. I’d go as far as to say that change is the only true constant in this industry. And we are used to being the first people that our clients turn to when they are trying to make sense of these changes whether they’re changes to apprenticeships or to apprenticeship funding. It’s fair to say we’re a pretty resilient bunch who, between us, deliver 76% of England's apprenticeships. Like lots of you, I try to sit close to the table when discussions are being had and plans being made. I work hard at keeping my ear to the ground - being well informed matters. Yet I find myself at the beginning of our new SFA contract year and I almost don't dare answer many of the questions that are being raised for fear it'll all change next month!

This morning I was talking to a large client who traditionally takes on a significant number of apprentices in January, and has done so for years. They understand that under the new apprenticeship standards they are required to make cash contributions, and had assumed they'd be able to use their apprenticeship levy payments to offset their cash contributions for existing apprentices as well as new ones post-levy. They were shocked to find that won't be the case. "But that means we'll be paying twice!" was the cry - and of course, they are right. So, they've decided that this year's intake of apprentices will be delayed until April (or whenever the levy comes in). I'm sure they're not the only ones. Has government considered the impact that this could have on apprenticeship numbers? And the impact further delays in levy announcements might have?

I was with another client last week, and they asked me what the employer contribution would be for the new apprenticeship standards. I told them that it's currently 1/3rd but there was talk of that changing for SMEs and non-levy payers. "To what?" Good question: we've all heard talk of a 10% employer contribution, and no contribution for 16-18s. I have apprentices in business administration and IT in my company, and I'm thinking twice before committing to a 1/3rd contribution given it could change to 10%, or even less, very soon. I can't blame my clients for thinking the same way.

I'd like to welcome Robert Halfon to his new role. He seems like a chap who is properly committed to apprenticeships and someone who understands the benefits to both the apprentice and the business employing them. How refreshing.

If I could have one wish (ok, one and a half) it would be this – Robert, please tell us what you are planning to do with employer cash contributions, and please tell us when the levy is coming in. Soon. A percentage and a date, that’s all. Training providers support many thousands of businesses which need certainty if they are going to invest in apprenticeships. They need to know that an investment today will not lead to them being out of pocket tomorrow (think how unpopular a minister who made that happen might be…). Skills may no longer come under the auspices of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, but it doesn’t mean apprenticeships are now, or ever could be, divorced from business.

Jill Whittaker, Managing Director, HIT Training

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page