Further delays to the social work apprenticeship scheme could mean they won’t be on offer until next year, a Skills for Care update has said.
The Social Work Apprenticeship Degree scheme – a three-year, practise-based route into social work that pays trainees a wage while they attend training for a degree in social work – began development last year, and was meant to launch this month.
However, in the latest update from Skills for Care, which is working with a trailblazer group of higher education institutes and employers on developing the scheme, it was announced the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) was “still asking new questions”, although the group had agreed a £23,000 funding band for each apprentice.
“A Trailblazer meeting is being planned for 1 October to look at next steps in delivering the apprenticeship. The delays in IfA approval means that higher education institutions (HEIs) are unlikely to be ready to deliver the apprenticeship before early 2019,” the update said.
The funding band – which represents the “maximum amount of digital funds an employer who pays the levy can use towards an individual apprenticeship” and the maximum the government would co-invest towards an individual apprenticeship – was one of two areas yet to be ironed out with the IfA when reports about a delay began over the summer.
There had also been disagreements over the assessment process, with the trailblazer group rejecting a request from the IfA to have observation as part of the end-point assessments.
A survey of children’s services directors by the Department for Education earlier this year found that 70% of local authorities had been planning to offer the apprenticeships, and the government estimated 600 would be trained a year through apprenticeships.
The placements would be funded by the apprenticeship levy, which is set at 0.5% of the pay bill of organisations with a larger wage bill than £3 million.