Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
How the apprenticeship levy is managed will differ in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you employ people in different parts of the UK, you must check how the levy affects you by referring to each country’s policy. Here, we explain the differences, and provide some useful links to find out more.
- Money raised by the UK-wide apprenticeship levy will be transferred to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland based on how many employees are based in these locations, giving them a degree of certainty around the funding as the UK government will manage any difference between the levy forecast and actual levy revenues. Beyond 2019-20 the normal operation of the Barnett Formula will apply.
- In England the money raised has to be spent on apprenticeships, but each of the devolved nations can decide how to spend their allocation. Indications are that they may allow money to be spent on wider training other than apprenticeships, for example, upskilling the existing workforce.
- In terms of ‘cross-border’ funding, the definition of a workplace for an apprentice will be the physical place of work designated by the employer.
Old apprenticeship frameworks were based on National Occupational Standards (NOS) and frameworks included an NVQ or SVQ. England will no longer support the maintenance of the NOS. If England sets out to devise a new set of standards, Scotland may lead on commissioning work between the devolved nations, in consultation with England. It is accepted that maintenance of NOS is now the responsibility of the devolved nations. At present, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will continue with existing frameworks.
- Apprenticeships Scotland is the go-to site for employers, prospective apprentices, and for advertising vacancies and finding training providers.
- Scotland’s Modern Apprenticeship system (based on SVQs) has always been distinct from the rest of the UK with a target of 30,000 Modern Apprenticeships starts per annum by 2020 - these will be based on existing Scottish Frameworks, built around SVQs.
- There are also Foundation Apprenticeships for those still at school, and Graduate Apprenticeships.
- A review of Scotland’s provision is now taking place involving Skills Development Scotland (SDS), the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board (SAAB), the Frameworks and Standards Group, and the Modern Apprenticeship Group (MAG). There is the possibility of an interim measure to make the NOS more user-friendly, but with some development of a new model for competence based qualifications.
- Responses to the Consultation on the Scottish Government Response to the Introduction of the UK Apprenticeship Levy suggested widespread support for funding Foundation Apprenticeships (school students work with FE colleges and employers alongside their Scottish Highers) and Graduate Apprenticeships as well as Modern Apprenticeships, plus a flexible skills fund to support wider workforce development.
- Wales has not yet developed a separate apprenticeship framework, and for the present will be using existing frameworks. The current target is 100,000 apprenticeships by 2022.
- For general information and onward links Careers Wales has information for applicants. There are also links for employers and their matching service.
- Regional Skills Partnerships will engage with employers to provide intelligence on skills needs and gaps.
- Northern Ireland is developing new traineeships at Level 2 and apprenticeship programmes from Level 3 to Level 7, bringing together the government, both universities, all the FE colleges and all the major employers.
- Current frameworks can be seen on the nidirect website with nibusinessinfo providing information for employers.