STF members have given a mixed response to the 2018-19 MA Contribution Rates published by Skills Development Scotland (SDS).
Increases in rates for Management, Social Services (Children & Young People), Dental Nursing, Automotive and Engineering have been welcomed. The increase for Management Frameworks is particularly welcome as the STF Board has lobbied for such an increase for some time.
However, some members have been dismayed by the significant cuts made to the Glass and Equine Frameworks, which have reduced from £4,500 to £3,200 and £4,000 to £2,700 respectively. Members delivering these Frameworks will be considering whether or not it is financially viable to continue with these apprenticeships in the short and medium term.
Smaller cuts have also been introduced in specific age bands in Business & Administration, Customer Service and Hospitality. The rate for Hospitality, SCQF Level 5, 25 plus, is reduced from £350 to £300. With the cost of SVQ registration, core skills registration and MA Online charges adding up to £150 per candidate, training providers are left with £150 for programme delivery.
The STF Board will discuss the funding changes with SDS next month. Ahead of this, a short survey will be sent to all members to gather data on the impact of the changes – and the results of the survey will be discussed with SDS.
STF Chief Executive, Stuart McKenna, said: `It’s great that the funding rates have been increased for some MA Frameworks – particularly in Management – and this will be welcomed by our members. That said, some Frameworks – including Glass and Equine are seeing very severe cuts this year – and this will doubtless impact on the number of Apprentices being recruited.’
He added: `The funding for most Scottish Apprenticeships has been slashed in recent years. For example, in 2014 the funding available for Hospitality (16-19, L3) was £6500; this year it will be cut to £3200. It is simply not possible for our members to maintain high quality delivery with such low funding rates.’