From education to employment

Sector response to the Institute for Apprenticeships consultation

Further details of how the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) will operate have today been set out in draft strategic guidance.

The Institute for Apprenticeships will be responsible for approving new apprenticeship standards and how apprentices will be assessed to ensure they respond to the needs of business and give learners the skills and experience they need to succeed.

Robert Halfon 100x100Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon said:

We are building an apprenticeships nation which will give millions of people a ladder of opportunity to secure the job they want and deliver the skills our economy needs.

We know apprenticeships work – 90% of apprentices go on to secure a job and nobody understands the skills employers need better than employers themselves. That is why we are introducing the Institute for Apprenticeships.

With employers at its heart, it will be charged with approving standards to ensure they are the highest quality.

The strategic guidance, published for consultation today, sets out in draft advice from the government to help it take forward the programme of reform to raise the quality of apprenticeships, giving employers more control over their content and assessment.

Under the measures set out under the Technical and Further Education Bill, the Institute for Apprenticeships remit will also expand to encompass all technical education and will deliver reforms across both apprenticeships-based and college-based routes, ensuring a more consistent approach to high-quality technical and skills-based education.

This will build further on the government’s upcoming industrial strategy, revitalising the economy by delivering high skills, high wages, and an environment where businesses across the UK can thrive.

The guidance confirms the institute’s main functions:

  • to set quality criteria for the development of apprenticeship standards and assessment plans
  • to review, approve or reject them
  • to advise on the maximum level of government funding available for standards
  • to ensure arrangements are in place to quality assure all end point assessments

Sector Response

AELP: Clarity still needed after government issues draft strategic guidance to the new Institute of Apprenticeships 

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), representing providers who deliver over three-quarters of England’s apprenticeships, has given its initial response to the government’s consultation on the draft strategic guidance to the new Institute of Apprenticeships.

MarkDawe 100x100

Commenting on the proposals, AELP CEO Mark Dawe said

‘The consultation offers some welcome clarity and an ambitious remit for the IFA, so the government must ensure that the Institute has the expertise to deliver on the proposed core functions.  We also pleased to see the recognition that apprenticeships will be a major component of the Industrial Strategy.

 ‘However, big questions remain on standards and assessment which is why AELP is calling for a complete pause on the whole process.  In our view, there would be less cause for confusion if Ofqual was given the overarching role on assessment on behalf of the IFA.

 ‘Nor is it clear about ensuring that only quality training providers are delivering the programme with the IFA and the SFA both having roles in respect of the new register and who is on it.  Too many organisations now have the role of quality judge – it’s Ofsted which has the expertise and experience to be the principal arbitrator of whether a provider deserves a delivery contract and we don’t want to see other organisations getting involved in making random judgements on individual providers.

 ‘We are delighted that the government has in its sights some sector bodies asking organisations to pay to be on the bodies’ own ‘approved lists’ of apprenticeship assessment organisations.  We’ve had numerous complaints from AELP members about being required to make multiple payments and as the government says, no added value is generated.  Therefore the practice should cease immediately before the Institute feels the need to take action.’

AELP will be making a formal response to the consultation and the deadline for responses is 31 January 2017.

Stephen Evans LW 100x100Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of Learning and Work Institute said:

‘We welcome the introduction of the Institute for Apprenticeships. It can play a vital role in driving quality and ensuring everyone who can benefit from an Apprenticeship is able to access one. Learning and Work Institute have argued that the Institute should establish benchmarks for world class quality and access. We’re pleased the consultation reflects this. We have also argued that Apprentices and learners should be represented on the Board of the Institute. The consultation falls short of this, saying it could ‘perhaps establish an Apprenticeship Panel’. We’ll be arguing that should be strengthened.

As ever, the devil will be in the detail. There’s still further work to do to establish clear responsibilities between the array of bodies involved in learning and skills. And the Institute will need appropriate resourcing and independence to meet its remit. There’s much to welcome today, and we look forward to working with the Government to ensure that 3 million Apprenticeships are the start of the 3 million careers.’


Teresa Frith 100x100Teresa Frith, Senior Skills Policy Manager at the Association of Colleges, said: ‘The Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) will be very important for the future of the development and management of apprenticeships, so it is important to get its remit right. We are pleased to see that the Government is allowing time for this consultation despite a tight deadline for setting up such an important organisation.

‘We hope that the IfA will continue to be as accessible and consultative in its approach in future.’

Here is the link to the survey to share your views: Institute for Apprenticeships Survey

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