The Association of Employment and Learning Providers has come out strongly in favour of a growing sector campaign for a Business Administration apprenticeship standard at level 2. This follows disbelief that the relevant trailblazer’s latest proposals were rejected.
AELP is now consulting its members and the employer community on a blueprint for the standard prepared by the employer trailblazer, led by East Sussex County Council and supported by Skillsfirst and employers in the private and public sectors.
Following this consultation, the proposals will be finalised and submitted to the Institute for Apprenticeships which has resisted previous proposals.
In response to feedback that the proposed standard isn’t a proper apprenticeship and there is not enough off-the-job training in it, the consultation document intends to demonstrate the rich, deep and broad knowledge, skills and behaviour developed when undertaking this apprenticeship.
Many stakeholders cannot believe that the importance of the apprenticeship is being challenged, given the significant impact it has on social mobility and productivity. In our view, it is definitely one of the first rungs on the Education Select Committee chair’s ‘ladder of opportunity’.
Employers from around the country in virtually every sector have told the trailblazer and AELP provider members that a level 2 standard in Business Administration is vital. Apprenticeship starts on the same level framework, which the government is phasing out, have already been decimated by a significant and unjustified squeeze on their funding which has made delivery of them more or less unviable.
AELP CEO Mark Dawe comments:
‘In business recruitment, productivity and social mobility terms, there is a stonewall case for a level 2 standard in business administration. As has been shown with the framework, it offers a vital first step on the ladder for many young people to embark on a successful career and it’s simply snobbery to try and deny them this route for the future.
‘We keep being told that the main aim of the apprenticeship reforms is to put employers in the driving seat and yet despite overwhelming employer demand for this standard, the authorities seem to ignore every aspect of the arguments put and continue to peddle their somewhat elitist and detached viewpoint that there is no value in a level 2 apprenticeship despite evidence to the contrary. It is time for action not words.’
The latest trailblazer has now drawn up a revised set of proposals, using a suggested title of ‘Business Support Assistant’, which sets out in detail duties, related work and behaviour and required hours of learning. The expanded details should satisfy any concerns about the amount of learning which takes place off the job but respondents to the consultation may wish to suggest further enhancements.
AELP is now asking its members of all types, including employer providers, for their views on the proposed blueprint.
In particular, we are seeking:
- brief case-studies of Business Administration apprenticeships at level 2 making a positive impact in terms of either productivity or social mobility or both
- additions to a list of job roles across different sectors which this apprenticeship fits
- comments and/or additions to the proposed syllabus set out the consultation’s appendix
- anything else that enhances the case for this vital apprenticeship standard and
- views on whether the name of the standard is right?
Mark Dawe added:
‘I urge as many AELP members as possible to respond to the consultation. Over the autumn, we have had the House of Commons Education Committee, the Chief Inspector and the Chair of the Social Mobility Commission all express concerns that the levy reforms have tilted apprenticeship provision away from supporting the social mobility agenda. AELP actually believes that they are having a devastating negative affect on social mobility. Working with employers, here is an opportunity to try and redress the balance, not forgetting the equal and additional benefit of a more productive workforce.’