Leading work-based training specialist JTL has put together a guidance package for employers to explain the intricacies of the new funding rules being introduced by the Government from May 2017.
The package includes a dedicated section on its website, leaflets, an explanatory booklet, videos and a customer hotline number. Work continues to progress on the new Trailblazer Standards for the plumbing and heating sector and JTL anticipates these being ready to introduce soon, but until they are will continue to deliver the current Frameworks. The new Standards have been developed by groups of employers from the industry working together to design new qualifications to better meet the needs of the industry.
It should be noted that these funding reforms only affect funding in England – not in Wales.
JTL Chief Executive, Jon Graham, says that most of the information currently available about funding changes is very confusing: “There are three main target audiences for the information and we have developed a way of explaining the changes very succinctly to each of these individually,” he says. “Traditionally JTL has been able to help smaller companies that look to take on perhaps one or two apprentices each year. We know that these are the companies that can be easily put off from taking on apprentices if they feel the burden of paperwork and cost makes taking on young people too onerous. So, we’ve developed a simple to understand way of explaining the process after May 2017, which we believe will be extremely helpful for small employers in particular. We have a similar raft of information for the larger companies employing 50 people or more and again for the very large companies we work with that have an annual pay bill of over £3 million and will have to pay the new Apprenticeship Levy.”
It is vital that employers realise that apprentices who started their apprenticeships before 1st May 2017 will continue under the same financial arrangements agreed at the outset of their apprenticeship and that those apprentices will not be affected by the new rules. JTL has been able to give employers additional flexibility in how they pay their contribution towards the apprenticeship – this will not be the case any longer. JTL suggests that employers pick up the phone today and speak to one of their trained advisers who will be able to spell out the best way forward for their particular circumstances or they can talk to their existing local Training Officer.
It’s worth noting that different Frameworks and Standards are allocated to different funding bands under the Government’s new funding structure. The Plumbing & Heating Framework level 2 has been moved into a new band with a maximum value of £5,000 for the full apprenticeship, whilst Plumbing and Heating Framework level 3 has moved into a new band too, with a maximum value of £9,000.
Perhaps the most useful element of the guidance package available to employers are the three funding guidance videos that have been developed to explain face to face the implications of the new rules. JTL Director Caroline Turner has recorded a simple explanation for each target audience which is available on the JTL website and social media outlets and available to other approved web sites that want to take advantage of using these for their own audiences. These videos, in conjunction with the guidance leaflets which are available to download from the JTL website, or as printed leaflets available from JTL’s Training Officers around the country, or the A5 size booklet being produced, will provide the information every employer needs to be confident of understanding the new rules.
Any employer in the building services engineering sector – in electrical, heating and plumbing businesses – that has concerns about the new funding rules should head straight to the JTL website at www.jtltraining.com and watch the videos or call 0800 085 2308 for access to the other materials and advice available for free from today.