Policy Updates - Energy & Utility Skills

Policy Updates

May 2024

Policy Updates


The Spring Statement confirmed plans for a £50 million Apprenticeship Growth Sector pilot to boost funding for training providers of 13 high-value apprenticeship standards in advanced manufacturing, green and life sciences sectors. The 13 selected standards are listed here, and include Electrical Power Networks Engineer Level 4, and Water Environment Worker Level 3.  

A boost for apprenticeships in England was announced by the Prime Minister in March. The Government committed to fully-fund apprenticeship training for small businesses for apprentices up to the age of 21 from 1st April this year, to provide an additional £60m of new funding in this financial year and increased the amount of unspent apprenticeship levy that eligible firms can transfer to 50%. 

Figures published by the Department for Education (DfE) in March, showed the achievement rate for apprenticeship standards had risen by 2.9 percentage points to 54.3% for the 2022/23 academic year. The high non-achievement rate remains a key concern for DfE and measures to address it can be expected. 

In his final letter to apprenticeship providers, former Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, Rob Halfon, referred to forthcoming work to identify further options to improve the assessment model, making it more efficient for the whole sector. Details of this are awaited. Mr Halfon’s successor as apprenticeships minister is Luke Hall.  


An updated T-Level action plan was published in April and the Department for Education announced a review of T-Level programmes, looking at content and assessment in all routes. DfE data showed that 16,000 young people started T-Level programmes in their fourth year of delivery, which was below expectations, and the drop-out rate remained high, at around 30%. 

T-Levels were designed as one of three main options for study from the age of sixteen, the others being A Levels and apprenticeships. Since their introduction in 2020 more than 30,000 students have started a T-Level, supported by a £1.8bn investment, but they have reached less than 3% of the 16-to-19 year old population.  

The first learners on T-Levels in the Engineering & Manufacturing occupational route are due to take their exams and finish their programmes in the coming weeks. Those results will offer early indications of potential progress from the general engineering T-Level programmes to technical roles in the sector.  

There is no specific T-Level for the energy and utilities sector, and current and proposed changes to the 16 to 19 curriculum provide an opportunity for employers to identify programmes, such as pre-apprenticeships, that could better meet the needs of employers and learners.  

Industry & Regulators Committee consultation on skills

The House of Lords Industry and Regulators Committee has launched an inquiry into skills policy, focusing on apprenticeships and training in the context of the skills needs of the future UK economy. A call for evidence, which can be found here,  is open until 30th May. Energy & Utility Skill is submitting a response. If you would like support with responding to the call for evidence or if you would like to support our response, please get in touch.  

Apprenticeships in Wales

A new consultation was published in April by the Welsh Government on changes to the specification of apprenticeship standards for Wales (SASW).  The consultation aims to gather stakeholder views on modifying SASW to improve the quality of apprenticeships framework development and delivery to better meet apprentice and employer needs in Wales, and to enable SASW to be more flexible and responsive to the changing needs of industry and employers within a rapidly changing skills environment. The consultation is open until 6th June.  

Natural Capital Market Framework

The Scottish Government is developing a Natural Capital Market Framework, to be finalised this year, and has published an engagement paper which explores the key development issues. Understanding Nature Based Solutions (NBS) emerged from Energy & Utility Skills recent water industry workforce resilience research as a key area of interest, and NBS are expected to transition into mainstream market frameworks. The Natural Capital Market Framework will also set out how the Scottish Government will take forward commitments set out in its National Strategy for Economic Transformation.  

For any questions on policy issues please contact carl.jordan@euskills.co.uk or grace.storey@euskills.co.uk