The publication of the new Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE) by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has been lauded by The Association of Learning Providers (ALP) for its recognition of work-based learning.
ALP had expressed concerns over the recent Apprenticeship Bill, which included the proposal that Apprenticeships should include at least 250 guided learning hours (GLH). Given that the general understanding of GLH was of ‘off the job’ training, the Bill threatened to negate a wide range of Apprenticeships, particularly those in the service sector that rely on work-based learning.
The ALP, assisted by Sector Skills Councils and the Association of Colleges, secured an audience with lead minister Lord Young in a bid to address their concerns over the Bill, and whilst the concept of GLH was retained it was agreed that its definition should be fundamentally altered in order to accommodate work-based learning.
In fact, as a direct result of ALP’s intervention, the SASE implicitly states that on the job learning counts towards the required GLH hours and that the ‘off the job’ component, counting for 30 per cent or 100 hours, can be carried out in the workplace.
“The changes ALP secured were vital to preserve Apprenticeships as a truly work-based learning programme,” said an ALP spokesperson.
“The fact that they are work-based is a major factor in making them attractive to many gifted young people who want an alternative to further classroom-based learning. Apprenticeship recruitment has shot up in the last ten years and with it the successful completion rates. Why tinker with a winning formula?”