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Last edited 10 Jan 2020
Opening the door to apprenticeships for all
The previous funding restrictions by age are now gone. This means that apprentices of any age working in non-apprenticeship, levy-paying companies will have 95% of their training costs funded by government. Levy-paying companies can use their levy pot to support the costs in full.
This typically means an employer contribution of just £900 across a four-year apprenticeship. Recent analysis from The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP) also shows that employers that recruit apprentices can see a return on investment as soon as year two of the apprenticeship programme.
There is more encouraging news: if these apprentices are already working within the industry and have some experience or knowledge that can be mapped against the apprenticeship requirements, the training time is reduced, which means the provider should be able to offer the apprenticeship at a lower cost.
Ensuring that providers recognise and give appropriate recognition of this prior experience and learning is an area that regulators are particularly focusing on.
The only requirement is that the training and experience gained through the apprenticeship takes at least 12 months, including 20% from ‘off the job’ training. Training providers should undertake a detailed review with the candidate and produce a personalised plan, setting out what is required, how long this should take, and the costs involved.
There are also many experienced workers within the industry who will not meet the apprenticeship requirements because they require less than 12 months additional training and experience or prefer not to undertake an apprenticeship. The Mature Candidate Assessment is an alternative route to fully-qualified status for those working within the electrical industry, typically with five or more years’ experience.
To date, around 2,000 candidates have obtained their ECS Gold Card via this route and over 500 candidates are currently enrolled. Work is underway to update the qualification to ensure it reflects the requirements in the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations, and that it mirrors the apprenticeship standard (the ‘trailblazer’).
 About this article
This article was written by Carolyn Mason, Head of Education and Training at the Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA). It previously appeared on the ECA website in December 2019 titled ‘Opening the door to all’ and can be accessed HERE.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Apprenticeships levy.
- BSRIA call for more vocational training.
- BSRIA calls on industry to get involved with National Apprenticeship Week 2019.
- Careers in the electrotechnical industry.
- Construction apprentice earnings.
- Construction Industry Training Board CITB.
- ECA 2018 Apprentice of the Year.
- EIC apprentice support programme.
- National vocational qualification.
- New apprentice levy funding model.
- Protection for apprenticeships.
- Tackling the construction skills shortage.
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