Creative Alliance: Our 2017….

A quick guide to one of the most important years for Apprenticeships and Further Education.

So, this year has been a little different for the world of apprenticeships. There have been major government changes in the way apprenticeships are funded, structured and delivered. The biggest changes since 1563 or thereabouts apparently. These changes have included:

  • The apprenticeship levy, which has sent HR representatives around the UK in a tailspin.
  • Multiple procurement rounds issued by the Education & Skills Funding Agency who then missed their multiple deadlines.
  • Changing the way apprenticeships are delivered through Apprentice Standards: many of which have still not be developed.


It has been a year of endurance but right at the end of it, Creative Alliance has been awarded a great contract to deliver apprenticeships from January and with room for further growth.

So below is a detail of some of the highlights of what we have been up to at Creative Alliance.

We started the year with a bang by having our “home-grown” event at the Hotel Du Vin in January. This involved the great and the good in Birmingham coming to listen to some of our home-grown talent speak about their experiences. There was networking galore, but there was an important message: we all have a duty to create opportunities to develop our home-grown talent present in the midlands area. This the full post on this here

During January and February, we had a scheme called Film Skills Brum. This scheme was about getting young people from the West Midlands area and helping them develop skills and experience in the film industry. Working with professionals from the film and television industry the young people got to then create films that were shown to industry professionals.

This helped launch some of them into paid work within the Creative Industries on apprenticeship and as freelancers: developing their skills even further. So successful was it that Creative Skillset have funded a second round of the training that is currently taking place.

Film Skills Brum Workshop

Film Skills Brum Workshop
Film Skills Brum Workshop

March also saw National Apprenticeship Week. Creative Alliance were part of a plethora of events across the region celebrating everything that apprenticeships do for young people and businesses across the UK.

We were first at What Careers Live event at the NEC speaking with young people and parents about our Creative, Digital and Marketing apprenticeships.

Then we were at BBC broadcasting house in London with two of our apprentices speaking about their experience working in the creative industry and the apprenticeship scheme.

And finally, we were nominated at the Apprenticeship 4 England awards where we won one for the 4th year in a row for being amongst the best small training providers of the year. So well done us!

There were many more so please take a look at the blog here

After months of planning, June saw the launch of our Foot in the Door training programme. Foot in the Door is all about getting employers from the creative & cultural to design & deliver training programmes that will help young people from diverse backgrounds, experiences and abilities to better understand the roles there are, the knowledge and skills needed and the routes to take to get into paid work in the sector.  Creative Alliance worked with 11 partners including Bareface, Beatfreeks, Beyond 400, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Blue Whale, CBSO, DanceXchange, DesiBlitz, mac, The Rep & Urban Hax: all dedicated to delivering a series of courses for 60+ young people to get them a head start in the creative & cultural industries.

We had a launch at The Rep and here is the blog for that event.

The Foot in Door programme has run throughout 2017 and into 2018 and supports what, in essence, Creative Alliance does: help young talent and creative employers to start working together.

So finally, the biggest…..errrm…..highlight. This has been the changes in the apprenticeship programme and the impacts of this. Here’s 200 words on what could take 200 000 to fully explain!

So over the last few years the government has been implementing the biggest ever changes to apprenticeship in 600 years.  Everything is changing – AT ONCE. The way they are funding. The way they are taught and the way they are assessed and graded.

First came the apprenticeship levy that went live in May. The apprenticeship levy was aimed at big businesses with a payroll of over £3 million. They started to pay a tax on their payroll that went into a ringfenced ‘levy pot’ that they could use to pay a college or training provider to deliver apprenticeships. They have 2 years to spend their levy. Anything they don’t spend will then fund apprentices from 2019 for non-levy paying employers. Well that’s the theory!

In the meantime though, apprenticeships for non-levy paying employers are paid through a co-investment model: employers pay 10% of the training costs and that triggers 90% of government funding. That funding comes via a contract the provider or college has with the Education and Skills Funding Agency. It has taken 13 months to sort this out!!

But finally, we have been deemed a quality training provider for all levy payers and smaller non-levy payer employers and been awarded a contract. So that means that from January, we can move forward and grow and deliver creative, digital and marketing apprenticeships for all businesses across the Midlands and beyond. See you in 2018 and our very best wishes to you that the new year will bring good fortune to you all.

Creative Alliance Team