Tyne North Training will only enter into high quality subcontracting relationships that support the delivery of its mission statement: “To effectively engage with apprenticeship key stakeholders to understand employer and apprentice needs, delivering high quality training solutions at every stage of the apprenticeship, ensuring equality of opportunity and career progression”
Tyne North Training will only enter into subcontracting relationships that adds value to its own delivery and enhances opportunities for young people enabling it to better meet the needs of employers. As such, all subcontracting relationships are monitored at Board level and formally reviewed annually ensuring appropriate levels of management oversight and quality are being maintained; the business is continuing to gain value from the relationship; and that any potential business risks associated through subcontracting are identified and managed accordingly. If the business identifies a need to enter into a new subcontracting relationship the required quality of education, performance criteria and the contracting arrangements will all be approved at Board level prior to commencement.
Tyne North Training believes that in order to enhance apprentice opportunities and achieve best value from a subcontracting relationship, the relationships should be entered into for the long term. This will allow the development of a true partnering arrangement, ensuring that contractual and training decisions are made to support quality of education rather than short term financial gain. Therefore, in the first instance, Tyne North Training will always seek to manage and develop relationships with existing subcontractors rather than establish new relationships unless there are strong educational reasons for doing so.
Tyne North Training will only enter into sub-contracting relationships that enhance apprenticeship training opportunities for young people. It understands the difficulty transport can present for young people wishing to take advantage of opportunities and will therefore ensure subcontractor and employer locations are aligned with consideration given towards subcontractor and Tyne North Training relationship development. By minimising travel time for apprentices and Tyne North Training staff it can improve both the learner experience and relationship building between subcontractor and Tyne North Training maintaining high levels of day-to-day management oversight.
Tyne North Training believes in providing apprentices with access to the highest quality training and training facilities. It will only subcontract elements of practical and technical training that it does not have the capability or facilities to deliver itself. These training requirements are driven by the KSBs and mandated qualifications from the various engineering standards delivered and it is the requirements of the standards that determine the volume of subcontracting required. Tyne North Training will not enter into subcontracting arrangements merely to fulfil a level of contract spend nor will we arbitrary reduce the volume of subcontracting if it is not in the best interests of the apprentice and or employer.
Tyne North Training is a specialist in working closely with employers to understand their needs and to organise training and assessment in the workplace to meet and exceed those needs. Likewise, Tyne North Training’s subcontractors are specialists in delivering workshop practical training and classroom technical training. Engineering apprenticeship standards require a combination of these two specialisms in order to maximise overall quality of education ensuring apprentices have access to expert provision and the best facilities, as such Tyne North Training will not engage in whole programme subcontracting.
Tyne North Training believes in agreeing subcontractor costs that represent proportional value for money and are reviewed annually to ensure these principles are maintained. Any new training requirement is negotiated and costs benchmarked against existing delivery to ensure continuous value for money. The overall scale and scope of subcontracting is determined by the practical off the job training and technical classroom training requirements of engineering standards and the corresponding number of apprentices recruited on a specific standard. Tyne North Training will not engage in subcontracting to simply increase funding allocation or meet specific contract values.
Tyne North Training believes in maintaining a high degree of management oversight to ensure quality subcontractor delivery, benefiting from the highest quality training facilities. This aim however cannot be achieved by retaining high levels of management fees which will constrain subcontractor ability to continually invest in the quality of education. In support of this aim, Tyne North Training retains on average only 10% of funding to support essential management oversight, approximately half of the accepted industry standard management fee.
In order to ensure subcontracting continues to add value to the learner journey and meets the needs of employers, Tyne North Training undertakes regular management oversight meetings, contract reviews and lessons learned activities to strengthen subcontractor relationships and support continuous improvement. Tyne North Training ensures the contracting and performance management processes embed sector best practice appointing the Quality Manager to maintain oversight of quality and contract administration, along with the Senior Engineering Training Officer to manage day to day subcontractor operational aspects. Regular performance reviews will be undertaken to maintain quality and to obtain assurance of compliance with current sector regulatory requirements. Management oversight is extended to subcontractor payments with a final reconciliation exercise taking place at the end of the academic year along with a review of any new funding rules ensuring subcontractor funding compliance and continuous improvement.
Tyne North Training’s only current subcontracting relationship remains with Tyne Coast College (Tyne Metropolitan campus) stretching back almost 20 years. The delivery costs for 2023 – 2024 academic year increased by 5% to acknowledge high inflation and a steep rise in the cost of living impacting all businesses, however Tyne North Training retained the same low level of management costs charged to subcontract delivery. The partnership will increase subcontractor development activities with a focus on improving overall college performance and to continually improve the quality of education. The subcontractor contract for 2023 – 2024 academic delivery reflects lessons learned from previous year’s delivery as the college has transitioned through new management structures with greater oversight on performance management and risk mitigation supporting closer partnership working. There has remained appropriate levels of challenge in the subcontracting arrangement underpinned by a contract containing detailed quality delivery and performance criteria. Contract management is the responsibility of Tyne North Training’s Quality Manager who undertakes regular performance reviews alongside senior delivery staff. Tyne North Training operational management oversight of the subcontracting relationship is put under scrutiny by the Board on a regular basis with an annual requirement to formally report on the arrangement justifying selection over other alternative providers should that be deemed necessary, as it was during 2021-2022 in preparation for 2022-2023 delivery. Any issues arising in the interim are also raised during Board meetings and decisions taken to ensure quality standards are maintained. The location of the subcontractor is immediately adjacent to Tyne North Training’s own site ensuring the best possible learner experience, relationship building and management oversight. Over the last 6 years as apprenticeship standards have been introduced Tyne North Training has been able to work closely with the college to develop the delivery of a range of new qualifications and training programmes ensuring learners receive the right, high quality training determined by new engineering apprenticeship standards and or changing employer need.
Tyne North Training only subcontracts the practical workshop training and technical certificate elements of the apprenticeship. The exact requirements for these are determined by the standards and the prior learning of the apprentice with the volume of funding subcontracted per apprentice ranging from 0% for a Business Administration Apprentice to around 38% for an Engineering Apprentice requiring a full suite of mandated qualifications. It is this variation in prior learning, along with the exact training requirements of the various standards that drives changes in Tyne North Training’s apprenticeship subcontractor delivery. The exact value of this training is then determined by the number of apprentices recruited. All subcontracted provision, in terms of apprentice numbers and the agreed associated costs, are detailed in an annex to the contract. Negotiations between Tyne North Training and its subcontractor has ensured that prices have remained competitive with only 2 relatively small price increases over the past 11 years. Tyne North Training maintains efficient administration and management processes resulting in the funding retained for management, support and quality oversight being kept at a minimum averaging at only 10% of the subcontracted value.
The fees charged by Tyne North Training to the subcontractor will generally be in the region of 10% of the funding provided by Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). This level is variable and is determined on an apprenticeship standard by standard basis. Items considered when negotiating the fees are:
The performance of the subcontractor is monitored by members of Tyne North Training management, including the Quality Manager, Senior Administrator and Senior Training Officer. Monitoring involves reviewing performance data and interacting with subcontractor staff to ensure delivery complies with the expectations and requirements detailed in the contract with the subcontractor. Areas monitored include delivery timescales, alignment of delivery requirements, publication of learner performance information, availability of resources and flexibility to support variations in delivery requirements.
Support for the development and implementation of new delivery programmes to comply with employer expectations. Ongoing Training Officer support for apprentices as they progress subcontracted delivery. Working with the apprentices and their employers to implement support activities and or arrangements required to facilitate successful subcontracted delivery. When requested by employers arrange and lead support meetings with apprentices and subcontractor delivery staff.
Engaging with the subcontractor’s observation of teaching and learning processes. Reviewing and responding to a range of performance indicators including learner surveys, Training Officer observations during site visits and apprentice feedback during progress reviews. Reviewing quality of learner data supplied by the contractor including attendance records and progress reports. Carrying out performance review meetings with subcontractor senior staff to ensure ongoing quality of delivery.
The payment schedule will be agreed between Tyne North Training and the subcontractor during the initial contract negotiation. The agreed payment schedule will be detailed within the Contract document. The final payment will be used to provide a reconciliation opportunity for both parties.
The subcontracting rationale forms the basis of the detail within the agreed Contract document. The Contract document is reviewed and agreed on an annual basis incorporating lessons learned during the previous year to ensure continual improvement towards the quality of education; employer and apprentice feedback; operational improvements; and value for money, along with embedding relevant ESFA funding rule changes.