Responsibility for public funding of apprenticeships is now shared between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which funds adult apprenticeships, and the Department for Education (DfE), which funds 16-18 year olds. Working together, the two departments determine the overall strategy and the policy context, funding levels and volumes for the apprenticeship programme. This is co-ordinated through the single joint 'Apprenticeships Unit' which spans both departments. All significant decisions affecting the programme as a whole are shared, while the Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning also works across both departments. In Wales and Northern Ireland funding is given to the devolved nations.
Currently there are both SASE apprenticeships and trailblazer apprenticeships being run and there are separate funding models for these two schemes.
There is currently an interim funding model in place for Trailblazer apprenticeships for 2016/17 delivery. Trailblazer apprenticeships are funded by employers and the Government on a one third/ two thirds ratio. For each £1 the employer contributes, the Government contributes £2 – up to a maximum funding cap. Funds will be channelled through the lead provider, who will collect and confirm employer contributions. The lead provider will also receive any incentive payments and transfer them in full to the employer.
This funding model will remain in place for the 2016/17 delivery year for levy-payers but will remain in place for the foreseeable future for SMEs (employers with a paybill under £3million). The Government has indicated that SMEs are likely to shift to the new funding system by the end of the 2019/2020. There may be some minor changes in readiness for the implementation of the levy in August 2017, but those details are not yet published by the Government.