On 4 May the Enterprise Act 2016 received Royal Assent. Part 4 of the Act gives the Secretary of State power to make "by regulations set apprenticeship targets for prescribed public bodies." The apprenticeship target is relating to the number of people working under an apprenticeship agreement. Public bodies must have regard to the target and to any guidance. This will come into force on 4 July 2016. Regulations have not yet been made but the Government has set out its intention in a consultation which ran from January to March 2016. The consultation expressed as an intention that maintained schools would be included within the target for the Local Authority. However, schools such as free schools, foundation schools, voluntary-aided, and academies/trusts with 250 or more headcount will be covered by the duty. This will exempt many schools (due to small headcounts) but some larger schools or multi-academy trusts will be covered by the duty. The Government expects schools to provide some 3,000 apprenticeships.

In reality this will mean that organisations with 250 more employees will have to have 6 apprenticeships but larger organisations such as multi-academy trusts who employ thousands of staff will have to have proportionately more apprentices.

While the Government is still analysing the results of the consultation, the expressed policy intention is clear so it is vital that school finance and human resources advisers are prepared for the impact of the policy.