Choosing an apprenticeship training provider

When choosing an apprenticeship training provider, there are a few things you should consider. Certain newer training providers don't fulfil the criteria expected of them, and it's important to pick a provider that will deliver. We take a look at the points an employer should consider when selecting an apprenticeship training provider.


Most employers work in partnership with training providers to deliver their apprenticeship programmes. A college or training provider will help you identify the right apprenticeship for your business requirements, recruit apprentices, and develop a training plan which reflects the apprentice’s and your needs.

The provider will also help review and test the progress of an apprentice and provide feedback, and provide training to support the apprentice with off-the-job learning and the knowledge elements of the programme.

A training provider usually holds the apprenticeship delivery contract which is managed by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA).

You can find the most suitable training provider for your business by thinking about:

  • Your business area and job role of the programme (and potential frameworks and levels);
  • The size and scope of the programme (numbers, geography and age groups);
  • Whether you will integrate your in-house training materials into the programme.

Once you’ve selected a training provider you should create a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to help build a close working relationship. The SLA should set out the responsibilities and duties of each partner, including measures and deadlines that you’ll both follow. If you’re agreeing on a financial contract you’ll need a separate contract in addition to your SLA.

Since May 2017, employers that pay the Apprenticeship Levy have been able to choose a provider from the register of apprenticeship training providers (RoATP). 

Employers that pay the Apprenticeship Levy

These employers can only spend funds in their apprenticeship service account on training from a government-approved training provider. 

There are two different types of apprenticeship training they can choose from:

Apprenticeship standards – each standard covers a specific job role and sets out the core skills, knowledge and behaviours an apprentice will need to be fully competent in their job role and meet the needs of employers, standards are developed by employer groups known as ‘trailblazers’.

Apprenticeship frameworks – a series of work-related vocational and professional qualifications, with workplace and classroom based training. Apprenticeship frameworks will be phased out between now and 2020, as preference moves over to the employer-led apprenticeship standards.

A handy checklist

This handy checklist from Signpost2Skills provides guidance to any employers looking to find an apprenticeship training provider. 

Is the provider registered with the Skills Funding Agency?
You can find the SFA register on the website.

Are they on the Register of apprenticeship training providers?
Since May 2017 it has been possible to check if they're on this Register. 

Have you read their latest OFSTED report? 
You can find OFSTED reports here.

Have you checked their Learner Satisfaction reports? 
You can find FE Choices survey results and OFSTED results here.


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