Aston University will plan and authorise apprenticeship programmes with the intention of delivering all parts of the programme itself. However, this may not always be possible, and, in such circumstances, the University may agree to subcontract the delivery of any part of an apprenticeship. The University will comply with ESFA funding rules when dealing with subcontracting and management of apprenticeships.

Functional Skills

It is a government requirement that all apprentices must have achieved relevant Level 2 qualifications, as defined by the ESFA, in English and Maths prior to completion of the apprenticeship programme. Some applicants to the University’s apprenticeship programme will have already satisfied this requirement prior to commencing their apprenticeship but others may have not. Where this is the case, the University will subcontract the delivery of functional skills qualifications for English and/or Maths.

Our rational for the subcontracting of this functional skills provision is primarily to fill the gap in this expert provision, as the University does not deliver this provision. In addition, we also recognise that by offering applicants the opportunity to complete the functional skills programme alongside their main apprenticeship programme, rather than rejecting their application until such time that they have completed Level 2 qualifications in English and/or Maths, we are also enhancing opportunities for young people and adults and offering an entry point for disadvantaged groups.

General Considerations

The University is committed to delivering high quality teaching and learning for apprentices and works closely with employers and subcontractors to manage the relationship and the quality of external provision. The University also reviews the performance of subcontractors and provides administrative support functions.

Where subcontracting is required, the decision to subcontract will be discussed with the employer before entering into a subcontract arrangement and the specific arrangements for services with the employer, eligible for the period from when the contract commences until the planned completion date of an apprenticeship, will be agreed between the parties. At all times Aston University will lead the employer relationship.

All subcontracting will comply with: ESFA Apprenticeship and Performance Management Rules for Training Providers; May 2017 to July 2018, Version 6; ESFA Funding rules for training providers, August 2018 to July 2019, Version 1; ESFA Apprenticeship and Performance Management Rules for Main Providers; August 2019 to July 2020, Version 1; Any updates to ESFA rules published after these dates; Ofsted’s Inspection framework for FE and Skills.

Payment to employer providers will be made to cover direct costs only as required in the ESFA funding rules. Employers subcontracted to deliver part of an apprenticeship must evidence the direct costs of their delivery in order to claim payment.

The management fees are individually negotiated with each subcontractor and are agreed between the parties in advance of the commencement of the subcontracting arrangement.

Typically, the management fees cover the provision of:

  • Administration
  • Quality Assurance
  • MIS function relating to the submission of funding claims to the ESFA
  • Provision of management meetings