Tribal Group Blog

Tribal Group Blog

Apprenticeship Reforms: Thinking of becoming an employer-provider?

Posted by Tribal Group on December 14, 2016

So after much deliberation and discussion you have decided that becoming an employer-provider is a viable and attractive option for your organisation.

You have analysed your levy bill, reviewed your workforce skill needs, evaluated your L&D and talent development programmes in line with available standards and decided that delivering your own apprenticeship programmes is the most effective pathway for you.

Before making your decision you have also thought about your delivery model and how you will go about creating a training provider business within your organisation to handle the back office data management, Ofsted inspection and SFA audit.

If you have done all of the above then you are probably well on your way to establishing a successful, rewarding and beneficial programme that will deliver apprenticeships to your workforce.

However, it may be the case that this scenario is a little rose-tinted – perhaps internal pressures around the size of the impending levy bill and meeting the deadline for applying to enter the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers have pushed your organisation into hastily making a decision; a decision made without understanding the full scope of what it means to become a training provider alongside carrying on the day-to-day business of your organisation.

Done correctly, there is no reason that an employer could not deliver and manage an end-to-end apprenticeship programme but it should be recognised that this is a specialist industry where the success of the individual should be prioritised over any financial gain.

The example I have used when talking to employers is that of facility management. If an organisation own the building they work in it is quite possible that they may undertake small jobs like changing lightbulbs or putting up pictures, but would that organisation want to paint the building, clean the windows or fit and replace the carpets? I would assume that in the majority of cases the answer would be no. In this scenario the organisation would engage a specialist facilities management company and outsource the maintenance work. The delivery of successful apprenticeship programmes is a complex and regulated process, so the decision to become an employer-provider should not be taken lightly.

However, if after careful review you have decided that the employer-provider route is the best course of action for your organisation, I would suggest that you think about these five themes to help you along your way:

1. Delivery Model

Does your organisation have the capacity, required infrastructure and knowledge to run an in house apprenticeship programme?

2. Quality & Data Management

Are you familiar with the ILR? Do you know what is required from an SFA perspective? What about Quality Assurance and Ofsted inspection?

3. Software

How will you return your ILR data efficiently and accurately? Will you be using an online learning platform?

4. Employees

Do your senior management team and employees fully understand what apprenticeships are? Is there an appetite to deliver/undertake these programmes?

5. Support

Do you have existing relationships with training providers or colleges, or contacts within the sector to provide advice and guidance?

As mentioned above, there is no reason why an employer could not deliver and manage an effective apprenticeship training programme but there are a number of organisations within the sector who can provide advice and guidance to help you on this journey. Those who work delivering or supporting the delivery of apprenticeships are passionate about the impact on the learner. The reforms have brought apprenticeships into the 21st century and have created a wealth of new opportunities but, as with any new venture, it is vital that you ensure that you have planned effectively and that you are equipped with all of the facts before making your decision.


Over the coming months, Tribal will be hosting a series of free online briefings designed to cover some of the aspects of training delivery that you will need to consider. You can view a recording of our latest webinar "We need to talk about the levy" here:
We need to talk about the levy - view the webinar recording

Topics: Skills, Training and Employability