After almost 2 years of preparation, the big day is almost here.... It's time to turn off the old frameworks in favour of the new apprenticeship standards.  

Two of the UK's most popular frameworks – health and social care and hospitality – will come to an end at the end of December 2017. Although this has been in the pipeline since March 2016, it's still come as quite a shock. Most of us are still getting used to the idea of standards, end-point assessments and off-the-job training – let alone ready to jump right in at the deep end!  

Around 17% of all apprenticeship starts are in health and social care – amounting to 86,500 starts last year – but the replacement standards starts are incredibly low. Only 740 apprenticeships were started on the apprenticeship standard last year – which is a huge drop of 99%.  

So why are starts down? 

Many training providers are blaming funding. The old framework attracted between £1,500 and £2,000 per learner, but the standards are capped at £3,000. When you consider that the new standards are longer, more difficult to manage, and must now include functional skills, off-the-job training and an EPA – which costs up to 20% of the funding – the relative funding available has actually reduced. This is making the new standards economically unviable, and discouraging providers from signing up.  

The new off-the-job training requirement is putting people off too. Many care homes and clinics are small- and medium-sized businesses, so releasing staff for 20% of their contracted hours is a big deal – one that's hard to manage and finance. However, off-the-job training brings huge benefits for businesses and the apprentices themselves. Providers should look at the 20% as an opportunity to develop their apprentices' skills and increase the return on investment of their apprenticeships.  

What will happen after the switch off?  

It's just going to be one of those things employers will get used to. When the old frameworks are switched off, they'll have no choice but to adopt the new standards – which is good news. The sector may not be that optimistic about the switchover, but the new standards are good news. They'll help apprentices learn a broad range of skills, increase kowledge sharing, boost business productivity and help us build a stronger workforce for the future.  

What can you do to make standards easier to deliver?  

We recommend an eportfolio. Using an eportfolio to manage training is always a good idea, but if you can find one that's designed for delivering apprenticeship standards, even better. 

31% of the 740 health and social care standards starts already use OneFile. Why? Because it makes the whole process more efficient and easier to manage. With OneFile, you can track and manage all the niggly bits of the new standards – like off-the-job training, the apprentice journey, the gateway and end-point assessment. Plus, they have experts on-hand to guide you through the switchover process – and already have hundreds of new standards preloaded and ready to go. 

Creative Support was one of the first employer-providers to register on the new standards, so we asked Janet Glentworth, Vocational Centre Manager, what she thought about using OneFile for the new standards:  

'OneFile has supported us with the transition onto the new standards. They listened to what we wanted and showed us how to manage the new standards using OneFile – it's still as effective and efficient as ever! Their new features have really helped too. Weighting the qualifications help us manage progression, the form builder helped us develop resources such as mock EPA questions. We used resources with links to videos and Skype to practice professional discussions. Wnow have apprentices who are ready to take the EPA, so it's going very well so far!'

About OneFIle: Supporting over 500,000 users worldwide, OneFile is the UK's leading learning and development software – and winner of the 2017 Queen's Award for Innovation. 

Want to save time, money and hassle delivering the new health and social care standards? See how OneFile can help here. 

OneFile is ideal for delivering the new business admin standards. Find out 10 ways OneFile meets the new guidance here.

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