Rationale for sub-contracting in apprenticeships


Policy overview

The University of Sheffield is committed to delivering high quality apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are currently provided in the following areas:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Nursing
  • Management and Leadership
  • Psychology
  • Social Work

The delivery of advanced, higher or degree apprenticeship programmes is carried out by the University, except in the limited instances outlined below.

1. Provision of Level 2 Maths and English delivery and qualifications

The ESFA requires all apprentices to produce evidence of achievement of specified Level 2 Maths and English qualifications to meet the requirements of the apprenticeship.

As an HEI, the University has expertise in academic provision at Levels 4-7 but has limited expertise in provision of Level 2 Maths and English for some categories of learners.

In order to provide enhanced opportunities for those categories of learners where external expertise would add benefit, the University may sub-contract this element of an apprenticeship.

Any decision to sub-contract delivery of Maths and English will be discussed and agreed with the Employer in advance. In the case of new apprenticeships, subcontracting this delivery must be approved as part of the University’s approval process for a new apprenticeship.

2. In cases where a part of the delivery of the apprenticeship has to be sub-contracted to the Employer or other provider in order to meet the requirements of the standard

These cases are rare and constitute a small part of the apprenticeship.

Financial arrangements

Payment to employer providers will be made to cover direct costs only as required in the ESFA funding rules.

Employers sub-contracted to deliver part of an apprenticeship must evidence the direct costs of their delivery in order to claim payment.

Sub-contracting requirements

  • A sub-contractor must be a Main or Supporting Provider on the ESFA Register of Apprenticeship
  • Training Providers (or a registered Employer Provider).
  • Sub-contracted provision will be subject to the University’s Apprenticeship Policy which sets out how the University monitors contract performance and quality assures the provision.
  • Fee for oversight and management of sub-contracts
  • The University will charge a fee of 10-20 per cent (broad range overhead given the differences in individual programmes) to cover the cost of oversight and management of the sub-contract to include expenses associated with monitoring meetings or visits, performance analysis including apprentice feedback, and ongoing due diligence checks as set out in the Apprenticeship Policy.

Academic Programmes Office

Approved by Senate on 8 December 2021

(This document is Appendix 1 of the University Policy on Quality and Compliance of Apprenticeships.)

Appendix 2

Oversight of Apprenticeship Sub-Contracting Arrangements

The Apprenticeship Education Oversight Group (AEOG) provides overall institutional oversight of sub-contractual arrangements on apprenticeships. In order to provide effective oversight, the following requirements will be followed for each sub-contractual arrangement.

All sub-contracting arrangements require Faculty business case approval and approval by AEOG, which should normally take place as part of the apprenticeship approval process. Any proposals for sub-contracting in relation to an existing apprenticeship also require business case approval and should be submitted to the Apprenticeship Education Oversight Group for approval.

Following approval by AEOG, the AMRC-TC’s Performance and Compliance Team is responsible for drafting apprenticeship sub-contractual agreements on behalf of the University (in consultation with the Academic Programmes Office (APO) and relevant departments. A named representative of the Team will act as the key contact with the sub-contractor for contract review and renewal.

The relevant academic department(s) will appoint a departmental lead who will be responsible for:

  • Ensuring suitable arrangements are in place and that the delivery of sub-contracted elements meets the training needs of the specific apprenticeship and learner(s).
  • Ensuring that learners are engaging with the learning and progressing as planned.
  • Reviewing learner attendance, engagement and performance using data provided monthly by the sub-contractor (or as otherwise agreed in the sub-contract and advised by AEOG and APO) and participating in performance review meetings arranged by APO.
  • Providing a way for learners to evaluate their experience of the sub-contracted delivery (e.g. module evaluation survey and learner forum/apprentice-staff committee), review and analyse this feedback, raising and addressing any issues as appropriate.
  • Submission of reports on learner attendance, engagement and performance for monthly departmental Management meetings and AEOG Quarterly Reviews.

Departmental apprenticeship directors are responsible for:

  • Reporting to AEOG on the performance of sub-contracted provision through Quarterly Reviews and annual Self-Assessment Reports.
  • Immediately notifying the Chair of AEOG of any issues of major concern which may impact adversely on the quality of the apprenticeship or learner performance so that this can be addressed at institutional level if required.
  • In the case of sub-contracted Functional Skills Provision, given that this crosses academic departments, the Academic Programmes Office will be responsible for organising regular meetings with the sub-contractor and the departments involved in order to review the performance of the provision and address any issues.
  • The frequency of these reviews will depend on the nature and duration of the Functional Skills courses, but will take place at least quarterly. The Academic Programmes Office will report on these reviews to AEOG.

For any queries, please contact apprenticeships@sheffield.ac.uk

Appendix 2 approved by Senate on 16 March 2022.