Department for Education message on Advanced Apprenticeship for Sporting Excellence

Last year, the Alliance and several of our members, had discussions with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Education (DfE) around changes to the national apprenticeship scheme which would have had a negative impact on the Advanced Apprenticeship for Sporting Excellence (AASE).

In December, DfE agreed an extension to the existing Advanced Apprenticeship for Sporting Excellence (AASE) arrangements until March 2018. 

DfE has now asked us to share the following message about successor arrangements to AASE:

'This is to provide further information on future arrangements with regards to the current Advanced Apprenticeship for Sporting Excellence (AASE) and arrangements post April 2018.

The transition from frameworks to standards means that the AASE framework will be withdrawn once an equivalent standard suitable for employed apprentices is in place.  Last month, the Minister for Skills approved the development of a “Sporting Excellence Professional” standard incorporating Academy Football Player.  This is a combination of two proposals received and both employer groups have been asked to work together on a single standard.

For as long as this standard remains in development, the AASE framework will remain in operation. During this period, apprenticeships under what is currently Pathway 1 can continue as an apprenticeship via the current framework arrangements as long as the apprentices are employed, contracted to their professional clubs and are paid at least the National Minimum Wage.  Apprentices cannot be ‘dual funded’ to study other qualifications at the same time as their apprenticeship. 

What is currently AASE Pathway 2 will not continue within the new apprenticeship system unless the athlete is employed. However, DfE ministers have recognised that AASE is a successful scheme which is valued both by sports and by the young people. It has therefore been agreed that the programme can continue in 2017/18 as a Sporting Excellence Award and delivered alongside other qualifications, such as A levels.  2017/18 will be a transitional year, and other than the change of name, the programme arrangements and qualifications will remain as they are now. There are still some technical issues about how funding will flow from the Education Funding Agency to providers, which we will update you on when these have been addressed. 

We will then need to develop a longer term successor to Pathway 2 to fit with wider education reforms.  We will aim, as far as possible, to meet the needs of sports and the students concerned. We will ensure that representatives of sport bodies and DCMS colleagues are involved in developing this award.'

If you have any comments, queries or questions on this DfE message, please send them to our Policy Adviser Hannah Dobbin by Monday 13 February. Hannah will collate and feedback to the departments.