The secret to navigating the apprenticeship levy lies in information management

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The promised new qualifications achievement rates dashboard for apprenticeships, education and training may have been delayed, but the role of technology and more specifically, dashboards, is still vital when the apprenticeship levy comes into play in April.

With just over a month to go, many FE institutions have failed to assess the impact of the Apprenticeship Levy payable from April 2017. One element of the government’s reforms is to increase the number of apprenticeships to three million by 2020, the levy requires all employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill over £3 million each year, to invest in apprenticeships.

The Levy’s introduction hands control over to businesses, enabling them to choose which FE colleges  best support the skills sets they need. As a result, all FE colleges are facing a new, longer-term challenge. They will need to be more employer focussed and foster relationships that ensure that their courses are chosen and hence secure apprenticeship funding.

Teresa Frith, senior skills policy manager at the Association of Colleges shares the concern,  “that funding changes might reduce demand from employers for younger apprentices”, meaning FE colleges will need to take a more commercial and competitive approach to funding.  Technology is critical in providing the flexibility and functionality specific to the needs of colleges and apprenticeships.

It is essential that all FE colleges have the right management systems. In addition to reliable information, FE colleges need to measure their own effectiveness to compete with other training providers to the best of their ability and deliver high quality outcomes at the lowest possible cost. It is essential to understand their competitive positioning so that they can map skills via Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

Dashboarding Technology provides FE colleges with the information required to plan and deliver their apprenticeship programme.  This is fundamental in gaining a competitive edge in securing funding from the government’s new apprenticeship initiative. When selecting training providers, businesses seek institutions are able to deliver the skills needed for on-the-job training. Dashboards provide colleges the proof from their data required to attract apprentices.

By providing colleges with accurate, real-time monitoring and reporting of key performance indicators, dashboards deliver greater visibility of student success, attainment and recruitment across the whole organisation. This not only reduces administration time but ensures all apprenticeship data – lead conversions, enrolment figures, success rates by department, current and predicted revenue streams –  is easily available to potential employers in real-time. It’s also possible to link local economic market data into dashboards, enabling the accurate mapping of skills requirements for local business and compete more effectively.

The alternative? Put simply, those FE colleges who don’t adapt to the changing funding market the levy will bring won’t have a future in this competitive marketplace.


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