Delivery of Traineeships Reforms and Expansion Programme 2021-2023 

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) are carrying out this procurement to support the expansion of the current Traineeship Programme. The competition will increase the number of providers delivering Traineeships across England for those aged 19 to 24, thereby meeting the increased demand from young people who, as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, may have fewer employment choices available to them. 

Contract Value and Term: The contracts awarded will support high quality growth of the Traineeship Programme, as set out in the Framework for Delivery of Traineeships 2020-2021. £65m is available to support successful providers to deliver approximately 20,000 Traineeships between February and July 2021, with a potential further £315m to support continued delivery through to July 2023.  

Contract values (for delivery Feb 2021 to July 2021) will be capped at the lower of a bidderpublished turnover/total income from 2019-20 (or 2018-19 if 2019-20 not available) or: 

  • £3m for existing ESFA direct contract holders. 
  • £2m for current sub-contractors to an ESFA direct contract holder. 
  • £1m for organisations that are neither current subcontractors nor direct contract holders. 
Key Dates 
Clarification window closes  12:00 on 23rd October 
Bid Submission Deadline  17:00 on 28th October 
Notification of Award  11th January 2021 
Contract Start  1st February 2021 

Competition: There will be significant competition for contracts. We expect there to be in excess of 3,000 bidders based on eligibility and the level of interest and oversubscription seen on previous ESFA procurements. However, the number of contracts to be awarded will likely be well below half this number, based on the upper and lower contract value caps. Consequently, between 50% and potentially as many as 95% of bids submitted are likely to be unsuccessful.  

Carley Consult has a market leading record of supporting clients to win contracts through similar ESFA procurements, such as AEB and Non-Levy Apprenticeships, with win-rates of up to 90%. We develop best practice answers, geared to ensure maximum scores, and customise these to each client, ensuring the best prospect of a successful outcome.  

Bid Submission RequirementsThe core response requirement is the completion of Technical Submission with 3 questions:  

Q1 Quality: How will you use your own improvement strategies to develop your traineeship programme and improve outcomes for learners (40% weighting) 
Q2 Engaging Employers: During the Traineeship Programme how will you engage with employers to secure work placements, and work with them to make those placements progressive for individual learners? (30% weighting) 
Q3 Engaging and supporting young people: How will you recruit young people onto the Traineeship Programme and support them to progress into apprenticeships, jobs, and further learning? (30% weighting) 

Bidders must also complete an assessment of their Economic & Financial Standing (see below) and a Volumes & Values Spreadsheet (setting out their intended delivery profile). There are then a further 7 Sections covering core bidding information, such as supplier information details, grounds for mandatory/discretionary exclusion, technical and professional ability (i.e. details of past contracts), and application of key policies and procedures (data security, equalities, etc.). 

Financial Assessment: The ESFA will undertake a financial health assessment using their published methodology to measure each bidder’s financial status, in terms of financial performance and its ability to meet ongoing financial commitments. Any bidders whose financial status is judged to be “inadequate” based on their profitability, solvency and gearing will be not be eligible for a contract. 

Contract Award: The scores awarded to a bidder’s responses to the 3 technical questions are key to securing a contract. Bidders must a score at least “Good” (4 out of 5) for its response to Question 1 in the Technical Submission; and at least “Satisfactory” (3 out of 5) for its response to both Questions 2 and 3. In reality they are likely to need to score “Excellent” (5 out of 5) on all three questions to be fairly certain of securing a contract, due to the ESFA’s ranking approach to prioritising awards. To achieve an “Excellent” score the bidder’s response to the technical questions must: 

  • Fully and successfully meet the criteria detailed and provide proposals and plans which demonstrate that they can deliver the programme to an excellent standard and will bring significant added value / benefit to the Authority.  
  • Provide full and relevant evidence to support the response and explain how the bidder will satisfy the criteria in full and to a high standard. 

If you would like to secure Carley Consult’s support for your application please get in touch by either emailing or call 01302 361630.