The introduction of End Point Assessment (EPA) into new Apprenticeship standards brings a fresh challenge for apprentices, employers and, in particular, Assessors. However, as many Apprentice Assessment Organisations (AAOs) are already discovering, the new standards are creating opportunities for Assessors to make the transition.
The Register of Apprenticeship Providers (RoATP) has seen an increase in employers putting themselves forward to become employer providers, and it is likely this will increase when the new register entrants are shared in January. So, firstly, why would an employer wish to become a training provider? There are many reasons why employers may be considering applying for employer-provider status, whereby the employer delivers apprenticeship training directly to their employees rather than outsourcing to an external training provider:
As a new UK Government takes its place, charged with leading the country for the next five years, it is a natural point to stop and take stock of where as a country we need to prioritise our thinking and resources.Education comes very near the top of any action list designed to improve our national prospects and make us a stronger, more prosperous and competitive nation.Past Government-led, education-related policies have tended to lurch from one extreme to another, during periods when short-term popular tactics have often taken precedent over longer-term strategic planning.I believe the time has now come to put an end to such a short-sighted approach and with it the nigh impossible challenge of measuring the impact of, for example, qualification policy changes that are often not given enough time to work through the system.Instead, we should look to instigate a far more cohesive and joined-up UK education system; one that supports the needs of learners and gives the country the kind of flexible, skilled and confident workforce our businesses are going to require in the future.A joined-up approachA good starting point would be to undertake a comprehensive review of the entire current education and skills system. Analysing how we can better integrate primary education with further and higher education, and include adult education and programmes associated with getting people back to work, could lay the groundwork for a far more unified system.Instead of focussing as at present upon isolated islands of education, by looking at the education journey from beginning to end, and assessing critical elements such as teaching capacity, resources, funding and training, we can at least begin to map out and assess if the current system is 'fit-for-purpose' to deliver the kind of future education outcomes we all aspire to.This should also include a review of course and qualification content to assess if the skills we are teaching young people today are truly appropriate for the world of work they will encounter in five, ten, or fifteen years' time?It is a massive undertaking, but one that deserves sympathetic consideration. Central to its success would be a consensus across all political parties that a holistic long-term solution is required, rather than short-termism, which, unfortunately, has been the case over recent decades.Any manufacturing operation worth its salt forensically examines the end-to-end process it has to undertake to produce its goods. They understand their starting point and they know what outcome they wish to see. All the constituents parts in between are cohesively joined together, or else the system fails.The education journey must start to be seen in the same way.A longer-term view allows the true impact of measures and policies to be monitored and reported upon fairly, away from the transitory nature of politics and the shadow of five year terms that often mean sound strategic decision-making is forsaken at the expense of short-term popularity.To achieve it, fresh thinking and cross-party support is required. Once the review path is set, it needs to be left alone to take its course to help create the integrated and consistent education system our young people deserve and our country needs.Charlotte Bosworth is director of skills and employment at awarding body OCR
Charlotte Bosworth, director of skills and employment at awarding body OCR, looks back at 2014 and considers the activity that has been ongoing to re-invigorate the role of apprenticeships, but sees much still left to be done in 2015 and beyond.
OCR, the awarding body, was recently asked to appear as a witness to the Education Select Committee's inquiry into the support, regulation and management of traineeship and apprenticeship pathways in the UK. Charlotte Bosworth, Director of Skills and Employment at OCR, shares their response.
Charlotte Bosworth, Director of Skills and Employment at exam board OCR, welcomes the recommendations of a new report into adult literacy and numeracy and urges the uptake of more flexible learning options to support adult learners.
Charlotte Bosworth, Director of Skills and Employment at exam board OCR speaks out about the need to remain focussed on the bigger picture, amid criticisms of the Gazelle Colleges Group.A gazelle is a known for its speed and is often able to out run its predators. Undoubtedly the speed and agility of this species is why it was selected as the name for a new breed of further education college – the Gazelle Colleges Group – which was set up to focus on embedding an entrepreneurial mind and skill set in learners. Today, it is dealing with a number of circling predators of its own, who have launched an attack on the way it has spent public funds.With the spotlight on the attention-grabbing sums of money involved, the laudable vision of the Gazelle Colleges Group has been overshadowed and somewhat tainted and that is a pity.Set up to create a different learning environment which would give learners a competitive advantage in the world of work, the Gazelle approach is both innovative and necessary to drive the enterprise education agenda.I am not saying that Gazelle is the only option, but the FE sector needs this kind of fresh thinking to ensure we connect the dots between what goes on in educational establishments and the requirements of today's employers. Currently, there is a gaping hole in the curriculum.I believe the only way to do this is to embed entrepreneurship as a mandatory element of the curriculum. There is currently too much emphasis on the 'three Rs', but the three Es – enterprise, entrepreneurship and employability should be a vital part of any young person's education. Not only should the three Es be integral to the curriculum, but they should also form part of the criteria by which FE colleges are measured.To succeed this will require investment in terms of finance and resources and teachers will need to have the knowledge, skill set and confidence to deliver a different type of curriculum.Those behind the Gazelle Colleges Group are among a small group of trailblazers who have put enterprise at the centre of learning. Some will survive and indeed thrive and create a blueprint for the future of FE learning. Others will prove necessary experiments to learn from and pave the way for further developments.I hope, for the sake of future entrepreneurs, the Gazelle Colleges Group does not fall prey at the first hurdle. If there are questions to be answered around public funding then they must be properly addressed, but it does not have to be at the expense of a much bigger and important issue for further education.Charlotte Bosworth is director for skills and employment at OCR, the awarding body
Michael Gove's recent education reforms seek to address the concern that about 20% of our young people leave school illiterate and innumerate. But instead of 'dumbing down' testing and performance measures, we should instead be seeking ways to demonstrate an individual's qualifications. The occupational landscape is set to be very different by 2030 which means that our assessment landscape needs to support the economy and demonstrate the relevant skills required for a role.
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