Fariba Carr, Head of Membership, Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

I’m Fariba Carr and I head up the Membership Office, here at the Institute. Together with my team, I have the great privilege of finding, recruiting, guiding and supporting the incredible group of accomplished people, or ‘Members‘ who make up our 15 Route Panels.

The Members come from all areas of England, all backgrounds and all sectors, but the things they have in common are extraordinary professional achievement and real passion for creating opportunity, in their sector.

I’ve been delighted to see the role of the Route Panels develop into ambassadorship and sector representation whilst their work broadens and extends into technical education and we are now looking for more skilled individuals to join that crucial group, as Members.

Below you’ll find some detail about what the role entails, the characteristics which would make you an ideal candidate and, of course, how to apply. I look forward to hearing from you!

How do the Route Panels work?

Panels meet to consider and discuss an ever-changing range of submissions from Trailblazer groups and T Level Panels. They will look at proposals, assessment plans and standards. Route Panels make recommendations around funding and support the timely review of existing standards.

An employer-led process

The careful composition of each Panel means that a robust and broad range of employer views is represented and deep, sectoral knowledge is brought to bear - over every recommendation.

As employers, Members bring a crucial perspective to all of our work and, most importantly, give their input whilst rooted firmly in the reality of employment and genuine, occupational opportunity.

What do Route Panels do?

Route Panels are responsible for ensuring that apprenticeship standards and T-Level qualifications are high quality and meet the needs of employers, apprentices and learners and the economy at large. Route Panel Members operate strategically and collectively, using ‘occupational maps’ to:

  • Review and make recommendations to the Institute’s Approval and Funding Committee on whether or not to approve apprenticeship proposals, standards and assessment plans, as well as the content of T-Level qualifications
  • Make recommendations on funding bands for apprenticeship standards
  • Support the review of existing apprenticeship standards

They maintain a strategic overview of their occupational sector, identifying potential skills gaps or overlaps and ensuring that new apprenticeship standards and T-Level qualifications work together to provide clear pathways for career progression.

We aim to ensure that each Route Panel has the necessary skills and expertise to cover all of the occupations identified within the occupational maps. Where there are niche specialisms or gaps in Panel expertise, Panels may call on the additional insight and support of peer reviewers, specially commissioned for that purpose.  Occasionally, expertise is shared across Panels where there is a degree of overlap in what is being considered.

Route Panel Members are sometimes also called on to act as Ambassadors to the Institute, speaking at sector conferences and sharing their perspectives with other key stakeholders.

Our Members offer their time and expertise on a voluntary basis, although we reimburse all reasonable travel and subsistence expenses and pay Route Panel Chairs a nominal fee to cover the additional elements of their role.

How important are the Panels?

Route Panels have a significant impact on our work and process - debating and challenging the information provided by wider employer groups and presented by Institute teams.

The Institute’s mission and operation depends on it being employer-led and Route Panel Members are a vital part of this dynamic. Members bring accurate insights into the realities of working in their industries, enabling us to shape the best possible apprenticeships and T Levels.

How do we select Route Panel Members?

Our Route Panel Members are, without exception, outstanding representatives of the industries they serve, carefully selected to undertake this important role.

Our selection criteria include, but are not limited to:

  • applied expertise rather than generalist: we need Members with ‘hands-on’, recent specialist expertise – our Members understand the detailed requirements of different occupational roles and can speak from a position of authority (we rarely accept applications from candidates representing training providers or professional bodies, unless the individuals themselves can demonstrate applied, high level expertise in a particular occupational field; the valuable perspectives of these types of organisations are, instead, channelled through the Institute’s Stakeholder Reference Panel)
  • expertise at the right level of seniority: we’re looking for Members with a track record of significant achievements and seniority within their organisations, generally director level or above – the professional credibility of our Members and their ability to take a strategic view of occupational needs, are vital to the Panels’ success
  • relative lack of conflict of interest: we work hard to minimise conflicts of interests that may, or may be seen to, compromise Panel recommendations – that’s why we’re unable, for example, to consider applications from candidates who express an interest in joining a particular Panel, but are already involved in trailblazer groups or T-Level Panels in the same sector (though we may, in certain circumstances, consider former members of such groups or candidates working in sectors that are different)

We actively manage the balance of skills and expertise on the Panels to meet the requirements of each route and so will deliberately avoid taking multiple representatives of the same sector or occupation.

Do you fit the bill? We warmly invite you to apply today

We invite you to be inspired by the incredible and diverse biographies of our Members and - if you feel you could bring the same levels of passion and capability to the Institute and to your sector, we’d love to hear from you. Apply via our open recruitment but don’t delay – it closes at midnight on Wednesday 29 May 2019.

Fariba Carr, Head of Membership, Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

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