Louis Curtis and Jamilah Simpson

Jamilah Simpson, aged 20, and Louis Curtis, aged 22, are members of panel of apprentices for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (@IfATechEd). Below they tell readers about the recent Apprentice Panel Survey 2020 which resulted in six key recommendations for change to how apprenticeships operate. The panel is also now working on its own best practice guidance as a support to apprentices, training providers and employers.


Joining the panel of apprentices was an important step for me in ensuring that I can continue challenging negative perceptions around apprenticeships and help make positive changes nationally.

I’m a former level 3 digital marketing apprentice at Google. At 20 years old, I now work at WhiteHat, which is a tech-startup business which supports work to create a brilliant support network for apprentices and publicises apprenticeships as an outstanding alternative to university.

I am extremely passionate about making sure apprentices’ voices are heard. I want to be able to share the views of my peers and act as a representative to the apprentice community across the country.

We recently launched our report on the results of our survey with apprentices. This showed up trends about the general apprentice experience, including end point assessments (EPA), off-the-job training, and the relationship between training providers, employers and apprentices.

Our headline result is 87% of respondents would recommend their apprenticeship to others. This shows that apprenticeships are majorly making a positive impact on further education routes.

However, while we received a lot of constructive feedback, we cannot stop there.

The apprentice panel and the Institute now has a powerful body of evidence that we can call upon to influence policy and continue improving standards. We will be focusing on working with all the different stakeholder groups – including training provider and employer representatives - to help ensure that standards are met across the board, and apprenticeship experiences are the best they can possibly be. This could be done through improved commitment statements, demonstrating best practices for end point assessment expectations and regulating on/off the job training.

With that being said, 70% of respondents were satisfied their off-the-job training was useful in their job. This is extremely positive as it shows that the skills learnt during apprenticeship training is applicable to apprentice’s daily jobs. However, for the remaining 30%, more steps should be taken to ensure apprentices receive their entitlement to at least 20% off-the-job training during their apprenticeship. The apprentice panel strongly believes that the value from an apprenticeship is in the delivery of appropriate amounts of high-quality training. More could be done to ensure this training is received in line with government rules.

Another positive result from the survey was 85% of respondents had signed a commitment statement. The commitment statement ensures that the quality of an apprenticeship is delivered from the various stakeholders involved – so the apprentice, employer and training provider. We want more to be done to strengthen commitment statements and ensure everyone sticks to them. The panel will also continue to work on ensuring a good standard of pastoral care for apprentices by employers and training providers, which must be defined and delivered.

Overall, it is clear to see that apprenticeships are largely well-received and generate broadly positive experiences. The panel and the Institute will continue working together to ensure that apprentices gain the full benefits from their apprenticeships, and demonstrate the real value of taking this route to more people considering doing apprenticeships in the future.

Running the survey was a great opportunity to gather first-hand evidence from apprentices about what is working and what needs to be improved further.

Jamilah Simpson, Apprentice Panel Member and former Google Digital Marketer Apprentice

6 Recommendations

The apprentice panel devised the following recommendations in our report reacting to the survey results:

1. Adequate preparation for End Point Assessment (EPA) should be defined and made compulsory in the delivery of apprenticeship standards

2. More steps should be taken to ensure that apprentices receive their entitlement to at least 20% off-the-job training during their apprenticeship

3. Define best practice in delivering apprenticeship training and ensure that all training providers and employers deliver on- and off-the-job training to at least a minimum defined level

4. Minimum standards of pastoral care of apprentices by employers and training providers should be defined and delivered, recognising especially the situation of younger apprentices and those with caring responsibilities

5. More steps should be taken in the marketing of apprenticeships to promote the value of apprentices to employers, and apprentices’ own perceptions of the value of on-the-job learning

6. Create a strengthened commitment statement that places more emphasis on quality of apprenticeship delivery, to hold training providers and employers to account and to assist in meeting the recommendations above

 

Encouraging survey results with apprentices but lots more to be done

I am pleased to be able to start by reporting that our survey, which gathered responses between April and June this year, found 81% of apprentices were satisfied that their apprenticeship would equip them for future developments in their industry.

I am a member of the panel of apprentices and recently completed a level 5 mineral products technology apprentices at Aggregate Industries and the University of Derby.

The main purpose of the panel is to ensure the views of apprentices are represented across the work and governance of the Institute, which is responsible for developing new apprenticeships with employers. We also deal with policy makers at the Department for Education (DfE).

The panel decides for itself which issues to focus on and can advise and challenge the Institute’s board.

Of the 1,049 apprentices that we surveyed, 87% would recommend their apprenticeship to others.

In my personal experience, I have had a comprehensive support network of mentors and tutors who have challenged, guided and empowered me to take every opportunity available to me, push out of my comfort zone and drive change. Collectively, 83% of apprentices surveyed were satisfied or very satisfied that their on the job training was useful in their job. Now more than ever apprentices are receiving relevant and meaningful work experience with an industry respected qualification.

The survey being launched in the middle of a national lockdown also provided the opportunity to capture how apprentices had been impacted by COVID-19. This information has been fed back as part of the national response to COVID-19.

We are also working hard on our own best-practice guidance which we hope will really support apprentices, training providers and employers looking ahead.

Louis Curtis, Apprentice Panel Member and Mineral Products Technology Higher Apprentice

Next steps

Apprentice panel ‘apprenticeship starter pack’, best-practice guidance for employers, training providers, policy-makers and other stakeholders begin embedding these expectations in usual practice:

  • Supporting Apprentice Wellbeing: How training providers and employers could best work together to support apprentices’ wellbeing

  • Preparing for EPA: Defining suggested minimum expectations for preparing apprentices for EPA

  • Regular Review: Suggesting how training providers, employers and apprentices should come together regularly to review and confirm that commitments made in the commitment statement are being met; and

  • Improved Liason: How they would like to see employers and training providers liaise properly with one another in practical terms

Apprentices can still This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to pass on more of their positive and negative experiences.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page