Employer Providers Pose a Significant Threat to Conventional FE in a Time of “UnderFunding”
As if “underfunding” wasn’t a big enough threat to FE we are now faced with Employer Providers registering on RoATP
If large employers register to provide their own apprenticeship programmes a lucrative slice of income will be lost to FE. It’s not that total numbers will diminish significantly in the short term as it is SMEs that employer most people in the country. But large employers represent a tranche of apprentices that are low hanging fruit in many senses. Where else can we go and see several apprentices in one location and perhaps deal with the same manager for each of them?
Employer Providers Article
A recent article in FE News deals with various aspects of employer providers and poses a number of questions. It’s a good article but like all short articles, it cannot cover the topic in depth. What it misses are the advantages employers will reap in providing their own training and the threat they pose once established.
I commented on these points in my reply to the article.
This is what I said …
Employer Providers have distinct advantages … for example marketing is not an issue for them as they are recruiting internally. This also means they can know, with a high level of precision, the numbers of students they will need to manage at any one time. It also means they can structure the training around the businesses peaks and troughs. This has obvious advantages for the business and apprentice.
The management issues are no worse for them than for other providers .. in some ways they are much better as their communications will be mainly internal with few third parties being involved.
Of course they need to find experienced staff to run their schemes .. but so does any provider! And with fewer overheads, I should imagine they will offer better salaries than external providers such as colleges. So recruiting excellent staff doesn’t sound that much of an issue.
Finally, there’s another issue. Once they have schemes up and running what’s to stop these new employer providers from marketing to other parts of their sector or to related sectors? Economies of scale and joint ventures lie that way.
I believe the advent of employer providers has the potential to change the apprenticeship landscape.
If FE is to tap into its advantages it needs to act now. For example, consider term dates and the impact on financial viability.