What does the annual workforce data report tell us about Apprentices and Independent Training Providers?
The annual FE workforce data
report collects data from across the FE sector.
For the first time in 2015/16, data was collected from independent
training providers (ITPs) at staff contract level through the new SIR Data
Insights service and this has provided additional insight into the make-up of ITPs compared to other types of provider.
received from around 8%
of all ITPs in England.
Most of the ITPs supplying data are
small, with fewer than 50 staff. ITPs in the sample have average staff numbers
of just 90 compared with 583 in Colleges. There is very little other data
available on the average size of ITPs, but this picture is consistent with the
findings of a NIACE report in 2009 on 'The private training market in the
UK'. This report stated that, 'The
market is very fragmented with many small businesses and freelancers. Only 1 per cent of training providers have
over 250 employees.'
Looking at the estimate of ITPs with direct contracts with
SFA (now ESFA), small providers are classed as those with less than £1m in SFA
funding and these make up 48% of the population of ITPs. On this basis, small
providers were slightly under-represented in the 2015/16 workforce data sample
size, making up 27% of ITP returns. This
illustrates the importance of all ITPs in receipt of ESFA funding submitting
returns to ensure proper representation in the national evidence base.
The SIR data from 2015/16 also shows that the mix of staff
in ITPs is different to other providers in the FE sector. Notably, there are many more assessors and
verifiers (14%) than in Colleges (4%).
These roles are connected to delivery of Apprenticeships. Independent training providers deliver
three-quarters of apprenticeships, according to AELP,
so it is unsurprising that they employ more assessors and verifiers.
The provision of Apprenticeships has seen significant growth
in recent years, particularly with government-backed schemes for encouraging
SMEs to take apprentices. Overall, between 2011/12 and 2015/16, more than 2.4
million apprenticeship starts were made.
The 2015/16 FE workforce data report also shows that ITPs
employ more apprentices as a proportion of their total workforce (4%) than
colleges (1%). Given that the majority of ITPs would be classed as SMEs and
SMEs have traditionally been slow to take on apprentices, this could be seen as
surprising, but it indicates that ITPs clearly see the benefits of apprenticeships
which they are selling in to customers. There has also been significant growth
in the number of apprentices employed by ITPs with numbers up 67% on 2014/15.
out more about the 2015/16 data analysis, you can download the latest workforce
data report, which has been recently published: Further Education Workforce
Data for England, Analysis of the 2015-2016Staff Individualised Record (SIR)
data, Frontier Economics, June 2017.
more information on the national FE workforce data service, please visit the
SIR Data Insights website at: https://www.sirdatainsights.org.uk.
note, the data collection period for 2016/17 workforce data has now started. We
are asking all providers funded through the Education and Skills Funding Agency
to register and submit data. Our
friendly help desk staff are ready to assist by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 0345 833 9040, so
please get in contact.