https://sfadigital.blog.gov.uk/2019/05/13/setting-new-standards-for-apprenticeships/

Setting new standards for apprenticeships

Image of gov.uk website pageThere are less than 18 months until apprenticeship frameworks will be withdrawn. After July 31 2020, all new apprentice starts will be on high-quality standards (although those who have started a framework by this point will be able to finish it). As part of my role on the apprenticeship standards, quality and assessment policy team, I spoke to an apprentice and a training provider already using standards to hear about their experiences.

Why will all apprentice starts be on standards?

Standards are designed directly by employers to ensure apprenticeships meet the need of their sector. They are a move away from on-programme assessment via qualifications, to a more independent and holistic end-point assessment that is a genuine test of occupational competence.

Employers have already developed over 400 standards, and standards represented nearly 60 per cent of all starts reported in the first half of 2018/19. This is fantastic progress towards the full transition to standards by August 2020.

An apprentice perspective: “A benefit is the end-point assessment - this will prove I genuinely have the skills needed for my job.”

Millie Beaton, 18, is an apprentice on the level 4 Policy Officer standard. She works at the Department for Education on Routes into Apprenticeships and Work policy.

She said: “I am only 5 months into the apprenticeship, and I already feel as though I am contributing to achieving goals that will make people’s lives better.

I find it exciting that I came from a small village and went to a small school, but now I have the opportunity to work in government on some interesting and big issues that impact the whole country.

Working within the apprenticeship team has given me an understanding of the differences between standards and frameworks.

I believe one of the benefits of being on a standard is the end-point assessment- this will prove I genuinely have the skills needed for my job.”

A provider perspective: “Standards were designed by industry for industry”

The National Logistics Academy (the Academy) is an apprenticeship training provider who offer a range of apprenticeships in the logistics sector. They have been successfully delivering standards since 2017, and now have 100% of their apprenticeship provision on standards. They have achieved steady growth, working with 4 employers at the start of 2018, to 19 employers by January 2019.

Like Millie, one of the benefits Paul from the Academy has found from using standards is the end-point assessment, which confirm apprentices have achieved the learning set out in the apprenticeship. He also named the employer-led approach of standards as a benefit.

He said: “Standards were designed by industry for industry and have enabled us as a training provider to produce a standardised scheme of work, while also providing bespoke elements to suit the needs of our customer and their staff development.

There is more opportunity for training in the workplace to be incorporated into standards which enables apprentices to learn and be taught on the job and / or at our training centres, supported by mentors and coaches.

The key objectives are skills transference, the ability to measure progression, and that customers retain apprentices placing them into worthwhile jobs with longer term career prospects.”

The Academy’s advice to apprenticeship training providers still delivering frameworks is to “move away ASAP”, as employers in their sector are demanding standards.

Employers and providers

If you are an employer or provider using apprenticeship frameworks, you should start thinking about recruiting on standards instead now.

If you cannot find a standard to meet your business need, please consult the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education website or contact them at enquiries.ifa@education.gov.uk

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