Apprenticeship reforms

The apprenticeship reforms

You will probably already be aware that apprenticeships in England are in the process of changing. Apprenticeships are being redesigned by the government to meet the growing needs of learners and their employers. As the changes are currently taking place, we don’t yet have all the information, but we will keep you up-to-date with latest information, as and when the government releases it. Here’s what we know so far:


The Apprenticeship Levy.

Apprenticeships will no longer be fully-funded by the government. Instead all employers with a wage bill of £3 million or more will pay a levy, which will be used to part-fund apprenticeships – the government will then pay £2 for every £1 contributed by the employer. For some employers, this could mean they get more out of the levy than what they put in; there are incentives for taking on 16-18 year old apprentices for small business too. You can use our levy calculator to find out how much your contribution might be. We can even work with you to design a training plan that enables you to access more funding than you put in.

Download our Guide to the Apprenticeship Levy


Frameworks will be replaced by Standards, which are being developed in partnership with employers.

The way apprentices learn and how they are assessed is also changing. Apprenticeship standards are being developed in partnership with employers to ensure apprentices learn the skills your business needs. Standards will be concise; a range of Standards have already been published in sectors such as law, journalism and banking. All frameworks will change to standards by 2020. You can check the current list of standards here. You can check the current list of standards here

Apprentices will demonstrate their competence through rigorous, independent assessment designed with employers.

The end-point assessment (EPA) is a way of assuring quality apprenticeships as it puts all the power in the employer’s hands. Employers will now ‘sign-off’ the apprentice’s skills, knowledge and capabilities – meaning they only complete the apprenticeship once they are ‘work-ready’.

Employers take control.

Employers have direct control over funding and how they spend it. There will be a clear cap for each Standard, reducing the range of rates from 100s down to just five.

Improving quality.

Every apprenticeship must last for at least 12 months and include substantial on-the-job training. This will be reflected in the end-point assessment which aims to drive up the quality and standard of apprenticeships. Useful information on the latest government information on the reforms can be found  here

Keeping employers informed

In February, we invited our employer partners to attend a reforms awareness briefing in Chesterfield. Many of our partners attended, from sole traders to national brands, and everyone took something useful away with them:

From what I’ve heard today, the reforms will focus on the needs of the employer. Although we already benefit from a tailored approach offered by the Learning Unlimited Derby team, I can see how the flexibility that the reforms will offer could be a good thing. Edward Ashworth


I didn’t know much about the reforms before today. It sounds like it would be beneficial and more tailor made to our needs. Sarah Welstead

Royal Mail

Today’s session was pitched at the right level. I didn’t know anything about the reforms beforehand, but hearing about the changes has actually made me rethink how many apprentices I might take on in the future. I was considering reducing the number of apprentices I take on in my business, but I might reconsider now I know how the changes might benefit a small business owner like myself. Claire Wood

Stephenson’s Tea & Coffee House

There is still a lot of information yet to be released by the government, but being aware of the changes at an early stage will be vital to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise from the proposed changes.

We plan to share any information we have with our current employer partners as soon as we get it, but if you would like to discuss the reforms with someone from Learning Unlimited, please get in touch by phone or email.

T: 0345 850 1055