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The old world of apprenticeships is over.

No longer are training providers given money directly by the Skills Funding Agency. It is now employers that decide what training providers they want to use and what training provision they wish to purchase.

This profound change in the way that provision is selected is giving rise to a new breed of apprenticeship provider. The new apprenticeship providers are obsessed with delighting employers. Rather than using workbooks and classroom‐based teaching they are using webinars, virtual reality and interactive online content to deliver world‐class learning based on cutting‐edge theory and practice.

The best analogy might be with the Challenger Banks.

Oxford Dictionaries defines a Challenger Bank as ‘A relatively small retail bank set up with the intention of competing for business with large, long‐established national banks’.

Challenger Banks are able to compete with larger, more established banks by offering better service, better tech and better deals. Rather than seeing legacy systems, processes and technology as an advantage, they are actually seen as a disadvantage – miring the traditional banks in outdated methods of working that are not optimised for the modern world.

Challenger Apprenticeship Providers are similarly able to take advantage of not having outdated legacy training materials, trainers and delivery methodologies. They are able to design services specifically around the needs of individual employers and to specifically meet the requirements of the new Apprenticeship Levy.

Some of the key differences are summarised in the table below:

There are currently just over 1,300 main providers listed on the Register of Approved Training Providers. Only organisations on the register are allowed to deliver apprenticeship provision. Most of the providers on the register are from the old world but there are a handful of notable ‘challenger’ organisations. My own organisation, Corndel, is firmly part of the ‘challenger’ movement. We are reimagining what apprenticeships could be and obsess about meeting the needs and wants of the employers that we serve.

Time will tell whether the new world of apprenticeships will belong to the old guard or the new challengers.