The 31st May 2022 marks the end of what will have been a 12 month process of RoATP Refresh. Yes, there have been a few casualties along the way, but nowhere near the carnage which some doom-mongers were predicating when the refresh process was announced early in 2021 – in our view, the ESFA have been pretty fair in their approach.
With the last refresh outcomes due for publication at the end of August 2022, It’s likely that the ESFA will publish an updated register shortly thereafter.
What will we see?
The table below illustrates the reduction in the number of approved providers on the register – a trend that has been on-going for the last 5 years. With no recent opportunity for new entrants to apply to join the register, the number of approved training providers will inevitably reduce further when we next see a register update.
But what next?
Whether they know it or not, the ESFAs suspension of the process for new entrants has been acting like a dam. The number of likely new applicants has been growing all the time and we would hazard a guess that when the window does open to new applicants there will be 1000+ applicants waiting in the wings (many of whom may think twice when they realise what a submission involves).
The outlook for new applicants
If you’re established, stable, have a history of providing training, are financially secure and can demonstrate a real understanding of apprenticeships the outcome of the evaluation process could be favorable – but what will you be given permission to deliver?
It’s speculation on our part, but it has always been concerning that a provider demonstrating their capacity and capability to deliver business apprenticeships, can gain approval and commence construction training the very next day – odd at best, dangerous at worst.
Given the revised structure of the RoATP submission, we would not be surprised to see approvals (firstly for new providers, and then for everyone) to be subject sector specific. If you demonstrate your ability to deliver in business then you get approval to deliver business. Permission to deliver in a new area could be via a supplementary application and it may well be that providers which consistently fail to deliver above Minimum Levels of Performance in an SSA could well be stripped of permission to deliver in that area.
With refresh, the last 12 months have been frantic, with changes to apprenticeships being inevitable, the next 12 months will be very interesting.