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Skills CFA

Future of Apprenticeships in England

Thursday, 31 October 2013
By: Skills CFA

The Government revealed plans to put apprenticeship design in the hands of employers in their implementation plan on Monday.

Setting out a blueprint for wider vocational education reform, the Government aims to completely change the relationship between employers, government and training providers.

How will it affect you? Read a summary of the plan below with our response on how we aim to continue to support the development of employer led business apprenticeships, and how we can help you deliver them.

The new approach

  • Apprenticeships will be based on standards designed by employers and the needs of their sector. They will also need to meet professional registration requirements where they exist.
  • These standards, which will replace the current frameworks, will be easy to understand documents that describe the level of skill, knowledge and competency required to achieve mastery of a specific occupation and to operate confidently in the sector.
  • The new employer-led apprenticeships will need to meet the skills requirements of small businesses and be simple for them to access.
  • The government will set criteria that all new apprenticeship standards will need to meet.
  • An apprentice will need to demonstrate their competence through rigorous independent assessment. Employers will have a key role in developing the high level assessment approach.
  • Apprenticeships will be graded - pass, merit and distinction.
  • Apprentices will need to pass every aspect of their assessment, but not every aspect will need to be graded for completion.
  • All apprenticeships will be required to last at least 12 months with no exceptions.
  • Off-the-job training will continue to be a requirement of all apprenticeships, and English and maths requirements will be stepped up gradually, reflecting the importance of these transferable skills.
  • Off-the-job training will be mandated at a minimum of 20% or equivalent, currently it is 30%.
  • For advanced and higher apprenticeships, the requirement will be to achieve Level 2 English and maths. This must be achieved prior to taking the apprenticeship end test.

Delivering new apprenticeships

  • Trailblazers in a range of sectors will develop new apprenticeship standards and the high-level assessment approaches. Leading employers and professional bodies in eight sectors have already signed up to lead Trailblazer projects and “Guidance for Trailblazers” has been published.
  • The Trailblazers will provide clear examples of effective practice and approaches which others can build on.
  • As the new standards are developed and agreed, funding apprenticeships under current frameworks will cease.

Full implementation of the reforms will occur during 2015/16 and 2016/17, with all apprenticeships being based on new standards by 2017/18.

Our response

  • We are particularly pleased that the Implementation Plan focuses on the need for greater collaboration with employers (particularly SMEs), training providers, awarding bodies and professional bodies to develop the new standards and models of assessment. 
  • We have long held the belief that apprenticeships should be employer-driven and that professional body involvement is key to their success.
  • We currently facilitate a strong network of professional body representatives from all sectors which we draw upon when developing standards and apprenticeships. As such, we are keen to support the Trailblazers by providing steer on proven, effective methods with which to collaborate on apprenticeship delivery with a range of organisations.
  • We aim to continue to support the development of high-quality business apprenticeships that are fit for purpose and represent the needs of the pan-sector

Learn how to adapt to the Implementation Plan and deliver new apprenticeships in our Make Change Work for Business Apprenticeships conference on 28 November.


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