From education to employment

How New Apprenticeship Standards Put Employers In Control Of Training

Damian Burdin, Chief Executive at Progress to Excellence Ltd

EMPLOYERS are now in the driving seat to get on the right road to the specific training they need for their apprentices.

As the number of apprenticeship standards continue to increase following their introduction two years ago, businesses are starting to appreciate the benefits of the changes.

After many years of operating under the old apprenticeship frameworks – where apprentices work to a competency-based qualification – the new standards ensure apprentices have gained the appropriate knowledge, skills and behaviours required for the role. 

Employers have had a lot to take in over the past two years because of all the changes that have taken place in the delivery of apprenticeships.

They were used to working under the old frameworks so understandably there’s been a great deal of confusion not only for employers but also for the apprentices themselves.

But with an apprenticeship standard, comes the quality mark from the end-point assessment element, and this gives employers confidence that their employee has gained the essential skills, knowledge and behaviours required of the apprenticeship.

Since April 2017, the Institute (previously IfA) has been working with employers to create and develop new apprenticeship standards across many sectors. The aim is to raise the overall quality of apprenticeships and to gradually phase out apprenticeship frameworks.

The differences between frameworks and standards

Frameworks, which were developed by sector bodies, are primarily qualification-focused where apprentices achieve a competency-based qualification, such as an NVQ.

Under this system, it’s possible for an apprentice to achieve all qualifications but not actually have the right knowledge and skills to carry out their job, meaning some apprentices may need further training. With a framework, the apprentice is assessed throughout their qualification by the training organisation against the awarding body criteria, but there is no independent check. 

The new standards, however, are developed by industry leaders operating in specific sectors, meaning there are more specific for the world of work.

They also include End-Point Assessment (EPA) which is a quality mark that checks that the apprentice has gained the skills, behaviours and knowledge of their apprenticeship.  This is a motivational way of testing learners’ abilities, encouraging them to work hard to achieve a pass, merit or distinction. 

Currently, there are 147 new standards approved for delivery and an additional 177 in development. By 2020, there could be as many as 1,600 standards.

The decision-making about apprenticeship training is now firmly in the hands of employers as they are the ones who really know what they want from their workforce.

With the new standards – created by employers for employers – they have decided what specific skills and knowledge is needed to help drive the sector forward and to develop their staff. 

As one of the country’s biggest and most innovative training providers, our focus on working closely with our employers actually puts them in the driving seat to create the perfect fit for their business.

Damian Burdin, Chief Executive at Progress to Excellence Ltd

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