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About Upskill Shropshire
The background to Upskill Shropshire
The implementation of the government’s Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017 gave an unprecedented opportunity to large employers, like Shropshire Council, to develop their workforce by attracting new talent, and by training and developing existing staff.
Apprenticeships are not just for school leavers and young people. Hundreds of subjects are available, covering almost any job you could imagine, offering qualifications up to masters degree level. Apprenticeships are currently undergoing a reform, and are a high quality, work-based way of training, enabling staff to demonstrate competence relevant to their role, whilst still working and earning.
As a large employer Shropshire Council were keen to ensure that high quality apprenticeships were delivered to the workforce, whilst also demonstrating exceptional value for money. From this, the Upskill Shropshire team was born! The team is made up from individuals across the authority with different background and specialist knowledge including procurement, HR, workforce planning and organisational development.
Our procurement process began in September 2016. Bringing together specialisms from across the council, a project board was created to manage the tender creation and evaluation process. Potential providers were then put through a rigorous selection process. This took into account a number of key metrics: Ofsted reports; financial data; previous achievement rates of apprenticeships; breadth and quality of delivery. By the end of the evaluation process 15 providers were selected to form our Upskill Shropshire provider framework.
Upskill Shropshire allocated the available apprenticeships into 24 categories. With a maximum of five providers selected per category, this ensured that only the top scoring providers were approved in each lot. We conduct a ‘mini-competition’ process for each requirement, allowing us to select the best provider on the basis of value for money and quality.
By selecting a mixture of local, regional and national providers, we've ensured that our framework provides the flexibility required, without compromising the high quality of apprenticeships on offer. Recognising that other employers would need to go through the same exercise, a key deliverable for Upskill Shropshire was the ability to extend the framework to other organisations.
Our continued investment
We're continually investing in Upskill Shropshire, and are dedicated to ensuring that we can deliver access to high quality apprenticeships for employers and their employees. We do this by proactively monitoring the performance of our providers against key criteria, looking to further develop the framework where possible, and keep on top of news and updates from the ESFA, IFA and key organisations.