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Sector news, 13 - 26 March 2016

Nick Boles: small employers won't join apprenticeship levy system until 2019 TES, 21 March 2016

The TES revealed that the new apprenticeship funding system is not expected to be rolled out to all employers until 2019. Skills minister told the paper that while the levy was on target to be introduced in 2017 with a new digital voucher system, the current funding system would continue for non-levy payers for "a couple of years more". Training providers and colleges will get contracts to provide apprenticeships as now and will work with small employers on that. The news was welcomed by the Association of Employment and Learning Providers.

Over 100 colleges could face financial intervention, SFA chief reveals TES, 24 March 2016

More than 100 colleges in England are being monitored due to concerns about their finances, according to Skills Funding Agency chief executive Peter Launer. He told the Public Accounts Committee hearing on financial sustainability in FE that 41 colleges were undergoing a formal financial intervention, while another "60 or 70" were being "looked at closely to try and help them prevent themselves [from worsening] financially”. By the end of 2013/14, 29 out of 244 colleges had an inadequate rating for financial health. Mr Lauener told the committee that this dropped to 24 colleges in 2014-15. He added that while some colleges had “deep-seated problems" that could necessitate a lengthy intervention, in other cases a "quite quick turnaround" was possible. "It’s not a single problem," he added.