The AMRC Training Centre is open as usual today (July 22). For our staff and students, please refer to previous email communications regarding access to the centre.   

By Maria Mulholland, Contracts Coordinator

Six weeks ago we launched our series of free webinars for employers, called 'Let's talk... apprenticeships', with the simple aim of answering the questions we’re most often asked by businesses about employing an apprentice.

One of the most frustrating aspects of the Covid-19 restrictions has been that we can’t get out to employers to explain to them all the benefits an apprentice can bring to their company, so these weekly webinars have been invaluable for us to get our messages across. And I hope lots of employers – and potential employers – have found them equally as beneficial.

It was my responsibility this week to bring the webinar series to a close with ‘Let's talk... contracts’ where I took employers through everything they need to know when it comes to the government regulations on apprenticeships.

For those that weren’t able to join us, here are the main topics we covered:

What is the apprenticeship contracting process?

When an employer has selected the apprentice they would like to employ and made a job offer, the first contracting meeting takes place between the employer and our contract coordinator to discuss the contracting process and any requirements.

Following this, the Contract for Services is drafted by our contracting team and sent to the employer for signing. When this has been signed and following a Learning Planning Meeting with one of our assessors, the Apprenticeship Agreement and a Commitment Statement is sent out.

Once the documents have been returned, a payment schedule is then prepared and the apprentice is ready to begin their apprenticeship.

What is the Education Skills Funding Agency?

The Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is the regulatory body for apprenticeships and issues new funding rules for contracts each year.

There are three sets of funding rules: for employers, for employer providers and for main providers. As a training provider, the University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre is governed by the rules for main providers - from the recruitment of an apprentice right through to the end of their apprenticeship.

We do ensure that our contracts coordinator updates our employers on any ESFA changes to funding guidance and will draft variations to the contract where applicable.

What is the Contract for Services?

This is a mandatory requirement of the ESFA, containing information on obligations, charges and payments – it must be in place prior to the apprentice starting their employment.

Our dedicated training centre team will draft the Contract for Services for each employer.

What is the Apprenticeship Agreement?

This is an agreement between the employer and their apprentice. It must evidence the apprentice has an agreement in place and covers the duration of the apprenticeship.

The Apprenticeship Agreement contains information such as names, start and end dates of the apprenticeship and the number of off-the-job training hours required to be completed.

What is the Commitment Statement?

This is drafted at the same time as the Apprenticeship Agreement and is a tripartite agreement between : the employer, the apprentice and the training provider. The Commitment Statement is discussed in the Learning Planning Meeting.

How can the AMRC Training Centre contracting team help you?

Our contracting team, made up of contracting experts, will save you valuable time by drafting the Contract for Services, Apprenticeship Agreement, Commitment Statement and payment schedule – everything required in the contracting process.

Our experienced teams make the hiring process as easy as possible by doing the hard work for you and supporting you every step of the way through the contracting process.

We’re really keen to hear your feedback on the webinars and whether there are any other topics you would like us to cover. Please do get in touch with your thoughts, opinions and suggestions, which we always welcome.