New apprenticeship target for academy trusts employing 250 or more
From April 2017, new regulations set a target number of apprenticeship starts for public sector employers of 2.3% of their total workforce.
Free schools, academies and academy trusts with 250 or more employees (based on headcount) will be caught by new regulations.
The Government has previously announced that it is aiming to deliver three million new apprenticeships by 2020. It has now published its response to the consultation on public sector apprenticeship targets (available here). The consultation response makes clear that the Government intends public sector employers to be "model employers" and to lead by example in providing new apprenticeship places.
Under the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 (amended by Enterprise Act 2016), academy trusts will have a duty to "have regard to" the 2.3% target when making workforce planning decisions. That is, academy trusts will need to actively consider apprenticeship routes for new recruits or as career development for existing staff. For example, academy trusts with just over the 250 headcount should be aiming to offer six new apprenticeships.
An annual report on progress towards meeting the target will need to be prepared by academy trusts with a headcount of 250 or more and this information will have to be sent to the Secretary of State.
The Government has indicated that it does not intend further education colleges or universities to be subject to the duty.
Academy trusts and larger single academies which are likely to be caught by the new rules should consider how they might begin to comply with this upcoming duty, for example beginning with an audit of those workforce areas which might be appropriate to the apprenticeship route.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article further or if you have any questions relating to relating to safeguarding in schools, please contact Alacoque Marvin on 0113 244 6100.
The information in this article is necessarily of a general nature. Specific advice should be sought for specific situations. If you have any queries or need any legal advice please feel free to contact Wrigleys Solicitors