Our use of subcontractors in apprenticeships statement
This statement covers the activity for which the University is funded by the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) for sub-contracted provision. It applies to our use of subcontractors in apprenticeships in the 2023/24 funding year.
This statement is a mandatory requirement of the ESFA funding rules. Our approach has been developed in line with the ESFA funding rules and subcontracting standard.
The University of the West of England, Bristol is committed to ‘working with employers and our further education partners in line with our practice-led approach, with a commitment to deliver excellence for apprentices and employers, meeting industry needs and generating new opportunities for individuals and society to excel’. (UWE Bristol Strategy 2030)
Most of our apprenticeship delivery is carried out by the University. However, some of our delivery is partly carried out by subcontractors. We do this in agreement with the employer and where this enhances our delivery. At all times the University leads the employer relationship.
The University has a set of subcontractor fees that are agreed with our partners to form our sub-contracted apprenticeship provision. Fees and charges are negotiated annually and reviewed regularly alongside robust sub-contracting reviews and due diligence processes. Sub-contracting is reviewed based on scope, size and value of provision to meet the employer’s needs.
The University always seeks to secure value for money in our subcontracting pricing for the employer. We charge at cost for employer delivered knowledge skills or behaviour. The cost of subcontracting management, including quality monitoring and assurance is included within the overall price of delivery and forms part of our standard fees.
Use of subcontractors
We use different levels of subcontracting depending on the agreement and needs of the employer:
- Subcontracting to the employer for delivery of part of the standard – where this enhances the apprenticeship through use of the employer’s expertise and facilities or other reasons of choice, access or opportunity.
- Subcontracting to a Further Education Partner for delivery of a selected part of the standard – where this enhances the apprenticeship through use of the partner provider’s expertise and facilities or other reasons of choice, access or opportunity.
Reasons for sub-contracting
The University engages with and procures sub-contracting to further enhance our offer. These are in line with our strategic aims and objectives for apprenticeship provision and wider University objectives. Our reasons include:
- enhancing opportunities available to apprentices
- providing wider choice and range of provision for learners and employers regionally and nationally
- providing wider geographical access for learners across the West of England
- to support the strategic aims of Local Enterprise Partnerships and Industrial Boards
- increasing access and participation to Higher Education learning
- maximising content through procurement of specialist or niche provision and expertise
- offering achievable entry points to disadvantaged learners.
Services we provide for sub-contract delivery and quality assurance
The University manages the employer relationship and is responsible for the oversight of any subcontracted delivery. The University has robust processes in place for procuring sub-contracted provision, and partnerships are reviewed at Partnership Boards. All programmes are subject to a rigorous Quality Assurance process including where the use of approved subcontractors is identified.
A standard Due Diligence process and contracting activities are carried out with all partners annually to assess the ongoing capacity and quality of provision, including assurance that the sub-contractor is on the Apprenticeship Provider and Assessment Register (APAR) and meets the requirements set out in the ESFA funding rules. A governance structure overseen by the Director of Apprenticeships is in place to review and monitor sub-contracted provision.
Where the quality of sub-contracted provision does not meet the required levels of compliance, quality and learner/employer satisfaction, an Improvement Plan will be initiated and, should that not be achieved, the University will secure alternative arrangements for delivery.