Guidance

Work placements – capacity and delivery fund from April 2018 to July 2019

Information for post-16 institutions for work placement capacity and delivery funding.

Context

Two thirds of employers rate work experience as being of significant or critical value for young entrants to the labour market and half of employers believe a top priority for schools and colleges should be developing awareness of working life with support from businesses. That is why the Department for Education (DfE) is investing in building the capacity of post 16 institutions and training providers for full time 16 to 18 year olds, (this funding is not available for students aged 19+) to complete a substantive work placement for vocational and technical study programmes. We are expecting providers and employers to start developing the capacity and capability to deliver work placements now in advance of the introduction of T levels from 2020. To this end DfE has introduced the Work Placement Capacity and Delivery Fund (CDF).

Purpose

The CDF will be available from April 2018 to facilitate the build-up of capacity and capability to deliver substantive work placements and deliver placements in the 2018 to 2019 academic year. The placements are for students on vocational and technical study programmes at level 2 and level 3. It is recognised that the delivery of significant work placements as part of T levels will be a significant step change for the sector. This is why this funding is being provided now to help build capacity ahead of the roll out of T levels, from 2020, which work placements will be an essential part of.

The CDF funding is additional to the mainstream allocation, which is based on planned hours for qualifications and employability, enrichment and pastoral (EEP) hours. The work placement must be delivered on top of the usual planned hours, which must be recorded in the usual way.

Guidance documents

This guidance provides an overview of the requirements for funding, recording and delivering work placements. It will be updated as more information becomes available. In addition links are provided to the following supporting documentation:

Work Placement Capacity and Delivery Fund: principles for high quality work placements

Guidance for 16 to 19 institutions completing the work placement capacity and delivery fund (CDF) implementation plan (MS Word Document, 81.6KB) and progress reports

Summary

Institutions receiving the funding need to ensure the substantive work placements being delivered meet the published principles so the sector is ready for large scale delivery, when T levels are rolled out. This includes ensuring a work placement is:

  • on average 50 working days in length within a range of 45 to 60 days, covering a minimum of 315 hours, (this applies to 2018 to 2019 academic year delivery only)
  • occupationally specific and focussed on developing practical and technical skills
  • taking place with an external employer on a site external to the student’s learning environment, (but not on another training provider’s site) so that the student experiences a real life job role
  • delivered to a structured work plan
  • adequately supervised, and
  • monitored by actual site visits

For the period up to July 2019 we will allocate the CDF based on the number of qualifying students in the 2015 to 2016 academic year at a funding rate of £250 per qualifying student. Institutions with low qualifying students numbers will be allocated a flat rate – those with 1 to 10 qualifying students will be allocated £2,500, those with 11 to 20 qualifying students will be allocated £5,000. Payments will start in September 2018 for academies and in August 2018 for all other institutions/providers. However, we will expect capacity building activity to start from April 2018 so that institutions can deliver work placements from September 2018.

In order to receive this funding institutions are required to opt in and agree to:

  • utilise the funding to build capability and capacity for delivery of high quality substantive work placements
  • the delivery of high quality substantive work placements during the 2018 to 2019 academic year in line with the principles set out
  • deliver at least a set number of high quality substantive work placements in 2018 to 2019 academic year - no fewer than 10% of the number of qualifying students on full time level 2 and/or level 3 vocational and technical programmes in 2015 to 2016 academic year
  • provide a completed implementation plan template to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) by 24 November 2017, that clearly outlines what the short and medium term actions will be to ensure delivery of placements in the 2018 to 2019 academic year, and how this will help support delivery in future once T levels have been introduced
  • provide termly monitoring/progress reports to the ESFA on 1 October 2018, 1 February 2019 and 1 June 2019
  • conduct student and employer satisfaction surveys
  • record all high quality substantive work placements fully in the ILR or school census at each data return point

Additional funding through the CDF will be available in future years to support providers to deliver work placements for T levels. The number of placements that will need to be delivered with future funding will increase. We will specify the number of required placements before each year’s allocation. Providers that do not meet the expectations each year should expect to receive a reduced allocation the following year. When T levels are rolled out from 2020, all students doing a T level will be required to successfully complete a work placement. This will be in addition to those students on other vocational courses that will not at that point have transitioned to T levels, and who we will also expect to do work placements. We will therefore expect institutions to keep pace with this increase in delivery.

Institutions should be clear that access to the CDF in 2018 to 2019 academic year does not imply future eligibility to deliver or receive funding for the development or delivery of T-levels. We will review our approach to funding work placements before each year’s funding is allocated.

Background

On 6 July Education Secretary Justine Greening confirmed a £50 million investment from April 2018 to fund high quality substantive work placements, to help prepare young people for skilled work. This followed the commitment made last summer through the Post-16 skills plan that all 16 to 19 students following a new technical education route will be entitled to a quality work placement to arm them with the technical skills they need to give them the best possible chance for entering skilled employment.

Further Education needs to prepare young people better to start work and the Government agrees with the recommendation of the independent panel on technical education that substantive work placements are a key way to achieve this. Therefore, DfE is introducing a requirement for all full time 16 to 18 year olds to undertake a substantive work placement as part of new T levels, which will be rolled out from 2020. However, we are asking providers and employers to start delivering substantive work placements now so that they are fully prepared for when this does become a mandatory requirement under T levels. DfE has introduced the CDF to support post 16 institutions and training providers to deliver this.

DfE has contracted with “The Challenge” to pilot the delivery of substantive work placements in this academic year. However, we recognise the scale of the challenge of moving from what is typically a 10-day general placement to a 45 to 60 day occupational placement. Hence, the importance of starting to build capacity now.

Principles of a substantive work placement

The work placements delivered with this funding must be:

  • delivered to the published standards and principles
  • on average 50 working days in length within an acceptable range of 45 to 60 days, covering a minimum of 315 hours. This applies to 2018 to 2019 academic year delivery only. The exact duration for the T level work placement is to be determined and this hourly total is subject to change
  • occupationally specific and focussed on developing the practical and technical skills required for the profession or trade that the student is studying for
  • taking place with an external employer that is; on a site external to the student’s learning environment (not another training provider’s site), independent of their fellow students and teaching staff
  • delivered to a structured work plan and objectives agreed with the employer
  • adequately supervised by a named member of the employers staff
  • monitored by actual site visits from the institutions at least once every 4 weeks

It should also:

  • be delivered within the academic timetable as far as possible but we recognise in some occupations, peak times will either be seasonal or fall outside the institutions’ normal working hours, such as catering, hospitality or events management
  • deliver a real life job role and work experience
  • have learning aims agreed at the start of the work placement between the institution/employer/student and monitor progress throughout

It is expected that students with Special Educational Needs will be able to access the same quality of provision as their peers.

Qualifying student

To identify a proxy for students that might be in scope for a substantive work placement we have used 2015 to 2016 academic year end-year data from the Individualised Learner Record (ILR) and the school census. Students that meet all the following criteria are treated as qualifying students:

  • full time, that is those with total planned hours recorded as above 540 if aged 16 or 17 and 450 hours for an 18 year old
  • students that have met the qualifying start period for their study programme
  • students aged 16, 17 and 18. Students who are 19 years old at the beginning of their 2 year programme are not included
  • students who are enrolled on a level 2 or level 3 programme, with a vocational core aim, which might be included in the technical education routes planned for introduction from 2020 to 2021 academic year
  • a list of qualification types included is set out below. It should be noted that General Vocational Qualifications are included but Applied General Qualifications (AGQs) are not.

Qualification types at levels 2 and 3 included in identification of qualifying students

  • Advanced Diploma
  • Associate Diploma
  • Award
  • Certificate
  • Certificate of Competence
  • Diploma
  • Diploma (14 to 19)
  • Edexcel First Diploma (new syllabus)
  • Edexcel First Extended Certificate (2012 onwards)
  • Edexcel National Award
  • Edexcel National Certificate (new syllabus)
  • Edexcel National Diploma (new syllabus)
  • First Certificate
  • Introductory Certificate
  • National Certificate
  • National Diploma
  • National Extended Diploma
  • National Vocational Qualifications
  • Principal Learning within Diploma (14 to 19)
  • Professional Diploma

Qualifying institution/provider

We will offer an allocation of funds to all institutions funded by the ESFA for 16 to 19 education with qualifying students as defined above. This inclusive approach allows almost all institutions currently offering vocational programmes that could evolve into one of the Technical Education Routes to receive an allocation. Allocations will be based on the number of qualifying students enrolled with each provider in the 2015 to 2016 academic year.

To qualify for funding institutions will need to have an Ofsted overall effectiveness grading of “Requires Improvement” or better. In addition, the ESFA reserves the right not to make an allocation where a Notice to Improve is in place, where a provider is at risk of financial difficulty or where there are any other known issues that could prevent or affect quality delivery.

Implementation plans

To receive CDF funding all institutions will be required to submit an implementation plan to the ESFA via a survey mechanism. The questions covered by the plan and guidance for completing the implementation plan (MS Word Document, 81.6KB) can be found on GOV.UK. Institutions should note that without a completed implementation plan, the ESFA would not make an allocation.

Implementation plans will fulfil a number of functions. Firstly, they will demonstrate a commitment from the provider to building capacity and capability within their organisations to deliver high quality, substantive work placements. Secondly, to outline how that commitment will be implemented and finally to provide information on how an institution plans to utilise the allocation.

The implementation plan will ask for a description of the short and medium term actions that the provider will take to deliver placements and for a description of how this additional funding will be used to lead to high quality work placements for qualifying students. It will ask how you will collaborate locally with other institutions, providers and colleges. Institutions with an allocation of fewer than 100 qualifying students are strongly encouraged to enter into collaborative arrangements to create economies of scale for delivery of their substantive work placements.

Institutions will want to take a wide, whole organisation approach to planning the introduction of work placements, ensuring integration with other developments.

It is recognised that planning is related to volumes and is proportionate to the overall size of the organisation. Therefore, there will be 2 different implementation plan formats covering the same areas of content.

  1. Full plan - where allocation is for 100 qualifying students or more. Institutions who will receive funding for 100 qualifying students or more will be required to complete a full implementation plan to ensure accountability for the larger sums they will receive.

  2. Lighter touch plan - where the allocation is for fewer than 100 qualifying students. Institutions funded for fewer than 100 qualifying students will be required to complete a lighter touch plan. This will involve responding to fewer questions but cover the same content. It will ask specifically how the placements will be delivered through collaborating with other institutions or other defined methods.

Institutions with an Ofsted grade of “Requires Improvement” will be required to complete the full plan irrespective of the number of qualifying students they are funded for, this is so that the ESFA can be assured that quality improvement activity, that might affect the quality of delivery is being addressed.

The ESFA will write to all eligible institutions before the end of October identifying their number of qualifying students, the number of placements required in 2018 to 2019 academic year and providing a direct link to the survey they need to complete.

The ESFA will review all implementation plans. If the level of detail is not considered sufficient, feedback will be provided, the institution will be asked to submit a revised plan by a specific deadline. The ESFA will not provide an allocation where the implementation plan is considered incomplete.

Allocation of funding (April 2018 to July 2019)

The proposed funding methodology is designed to reflect current delivery and to distribute the funds widely to all providers that currently meet the criteria and deliver full time Technical Education at levels 2 and 3.

We have used end year data from the 2015 to 2016 academic year to identify all qualifying students and institutions that are delivering vocational programmes as described above.

We will base the level of funding for each institution on the number of qualifying full time students, at a rate of £250 per student enrolled on eligible programmes.

To avoid small payments, which institutions may find to be of little use, we will make:

  • a minimum payment of £2,500 for institutions with 1 to 10 qualifying students
  • a minimum payment of £5,000 for institutions with 11 to 20 qualifying students

We reserve the right not to make an allocation where a Notice to Improve is in place or where a provider is at risk of financial difficulty, or where there is a known issue that could prevent quality delivery.

Institutions should be clear that access to the CDF does not imply future eligibility to deliver or receive funding for the development or delivery of T-levels. We will monitor delivery of work placements in 2018 to 2019 academic year and also use the emerging findings from the pilot project being run by The Challenge to inform allocations for work placements in future years. We will announce our plans in autumn 2018.

Opting in or out of an allocation

Following the issue of this guidance all eligible institutions will be notified of the number of qualifying students we intend to base their allocation on. From this they will be able to estimate their first year’s allocation, to enable them to plan.

It is expected that most eligible institutions will want to take full advantage of this opportunity, to provide their students with high quality work placements. Especially those that deliver significant volumes of vocational education. Therefore, we have used wide and inclusive definitions to identify qualifying students and eligible providers.

However, we recognise that not all institutions will be in a position to adapt their provision appropriately and take on this challenge at this time. Each institution will therefore be required to “opt in” to receive an allocation. They will do this by submitting an implementation plan to the ESFA via a survey mechanism.

By “opting in” institutions will be agreeing to:

  • utilise the funding to build capability and capacity for delivery of high quality substantive work placements
  • the delivery of high quality substantive work placements from the 2018 to 2019 academic year following the published principles set out on the intranet
  • to deliver a set number of high quality substantive work placements in 2018 to 2019 academic year, no fewer than 10% of the number of qualifying students
  • provide a completed implementation plan template to the ESFA by the 24 November 2017 for review, that clearly outlines what the short and medium term actions that will be taken to prepare for delivery from 2018
  • provide monitoring/progress reports termly by 1 October 2018, 1 February and 1 June 2019
  • conduct student and employer satisfaction surveys
  • to record all high quality substantive work placements fully in the ILR or school census at each data return point

By “opting out” institutions will be indicating to the ESFA they do not wish to receive this initial funding. This does not mean that institutions cannot receive funding in future years, although it will not be possible to opt back in until future funding is announced.

To opt out institutions are asked to notify the ESFA by selecting the appropriate answers on the survey and completing a brief explanation, to inform future planning.

Future increases in delivery

The main purpose of this funding is to build capacity at an individual institution level in order to deliver high quality substantive work placements for vocational and technical students. An institution’s CDF allocation for 2018 to 2019 will be based on the number of students on eligible programmes in 2015 to 2016 academic year. For the 2018 to 2019 academic year we expect institutions to deliver work placements for at least 10% of the student number used in the CDF allocation. We will set each institution a numerical target based on this percentage. We then expect the figure to be delivered to increase year on year.

Payments

Profile payments will be made from September 2018 for academies and August 2018 for all other institutions/providers.

The first payment will include funding for the period April to August/September and the remainder will be paid on profile. However we will expect capacity building activity to start from April 2018 so that institutions can deliver work placements from September 2018.

Use of the funding

The number of qualifying students in 2015 to 2016 academic year forms the basis for the allocation for the CDF allocation. The majority of funding is for capacity building activity to improve the infrastructure to deliver high quality substantive work placements, in 2018 to 2019 and in future when T levels are rolled out. However, in the first year we will expect the minimum 10% delivery requirment for work placements to be achieved.

We will not be prescriptive on how the funding is used, as long as it supports the intention of building capacity to deliver more substantive work placements and represents good value for money (for example does not constitute double funding or displacement of other funding).

Supporting students financially

Whilst the majority of the funding should be used for capacity building, we expect the minimum number of work placements to be delivered and funding can be used to directly support this delivery. For students as well as providers the new work placements will be a significant step change. For some students, particularly in rural areas where the placement may require additional travel, using some of the funds to support student travel and subsistence would be acceptable. In addition, institutions may want to use some of their bursary allocation to support those students that meet the bursary criteria. Employers could consider providing trainees with support to meet their expenses such as travel costs, but this is not a requirement.

Employers are not required to pay students during their work placement unless there is a formal employment contract in place. It is not a requirement that the work placement needs to be provided on the basis of a contract between the employer and the student, as the students are primarily on a full time course of study. Employers can choose whether they want to pay students or not. Any sums which the employer pays to the student would however be subject to tax and National Insurance. We will be consulting on this issue in more detail when we consult on T levels more widely.

Recording substantive work placements

For the 2018 to 2019 academic year changes are being requested to the ILR and the school census in order to allow for institutions to record students who undertake a substantive work placement and to differentiate them from those students who continue to have work experience as part of their study programme. Precise details for how work placements will be recorded will be included in the guidance documents for both the ILR and school census and in an updated version of this guidance.

The CDF funding is additional to the mainstream allocation, which is based on planned hours for qualifications and employability, enrichment and pastoral (EEP) hours. As such, the work placement hours must not be included in the planned hours recorded for the study programme.

Monitoring and progress reports

We will require institutions to provide us with an update on the progress they are making on their implementation plan termly from autumn 2018. We will expect an update on progress for all areas described in the Implementation Plan. For evaluation purposes we will be particularly interested in the details of the method of delivery chosen. From spring 2019 we will require further progress reports, setting out the level of work placement provision that has occurred in 2018 to 2019 academic year. The proposed content for the progress report is included within the template for the implementation plan (MS Word Document, 81.6KB) guidance.

We are still developing the most effective way of monitoring work placement delivery. In this first year, we will seek to identify good practice to inform future development. We will provide further advice on this next spring.

Initially we will monitor work placements in this first year by reviewing:

  • number of placements started
  • number of placements completed (where agreed objectives were met)
  • student satisfaction rating (including reviews of student log books)
  • employer satisfaction rating

In this first year, CDF is not linked directly to T levels, and funding will allow for the development of students on a vocational programme to undertake a substantive work placement. In future years as T level development progresses the allocation of funding may be more closely aligned to programmes with a more direct link to T levels. One of the key principles of a work placement is it should be occupation specific to the industry and focussed on developing the practical and technical skills required for the profession or trade the student is studying for.

Future allocations and conditions

We will re-visit our approach before subsequent years funding is allocated when we will know more about future delivery of vocational programmes. This will ensure we are targeting future years funding appropriately and will maximise value for money.

We will use data to monitor progress against the target set, as this will inform future allocations. Where delivery is below the target this will result in a reduction in the future allocation.

When T levels are fully rolled out, we will investigate making future funding conditional on placements being completed. Over time, the delivery of work placements will become a requirement of the T level programme completion and at that point will be monitored via accountability measures through ILR/school census data. Additional funding will be available to support delivery of T level programmes in future. We will consult on wider T level funding arrangements well in advance of the introduction of T levels.

Work placement capacity and delivery fund webinar

A webinar about the work placement capacity and delivery fund took place on 1 November 2017.

You can view a recording of this webinar on our YouTube channel. A copy of the slides (PDF, 532KB, 19 pages) are also available to view.

Any queries regarding funding of work placements should be made to

ESFA enquiries

For all enquiries for the Education and Skills Funding Agency

Timescales for funding work placement capacity and delivery fund

Date Action
September 2017 Guidance published
October 2017 All eligible institutions to receive notification of indicative student numbers and survey link
24 November 2017 Proposed implementation plans submitted by institutions
24 November – mid December 2017 The implementation plans are reviewed
December 2017 Notify institutions with incomplete plans to resubmit by a new deadline
End of January 2018 Final deadline for resubmitted implementation plans back to the ESFA
February 2018 Notify successful institutions of outcome
End of February 2018 Re-submitted plans reviewed
End February 2018 Finalise allocation amounts for each provider calculated
End February 2018 Write to institutions confirming allocations
Early March 2018 Institutions build the work placement funding offer into their funding strategies
April-July 2018 Capacity building activity in progress
August/September 2018 Payments start
Autumn 2018 First placements delivered
Published 28 September 2017
Last updated 13 November 2017 + show all updates
  1. link to recording of webinar added.
  2. First published.