More than 200 employers and 30 representatives from the Institute took part in the Trailblazer Summit at the Etihad Stadium – home to Premier League champions Manchester City.
The themes for the event, which took place on Thursday, October 18, revolved around ensuring quality of the apprenticeships standard and enabling starts after approval.
The highlight of the morning session was a keynote address from Anne Milton, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, who spoke glowingly about how Trailblazers are leading the apprenticeships reform programme.
Institute chair Antony Jenkins updated on the progress made since the Institute was established in April 2018 – particularly via the “faster and better” programme launched in February to improve our development and approval processes.
Our chief executive Sir Gerry Berragan then focused on the opportunities ahead, and Beth Orford (Strategic Resourcing Partner, Virgin) gave an inspiring view of the impact that apprentices can have on an employer.
There was also a question and answer session with Sir Gerry and his senior management team and a “surgery” over lunchtime, at which Trailblazers were able to raise issues specific to their circumstances with a range of Institute staff.
The afternoon was devoted to interactive workshops focused on a range of practical issues from how to develop a good proposal right through to how to promote starts on a newly approved apprenticeship standard.
The event was highly interactive with the Institute very much in listening mode.
Afterwards, Sir Gerry said:
I would like to thank all of the employers and my IfA team for helping to make this event a huge success.
We recognised in organising the event that our reputation with Trailblazers still needed improving, and although Faster and Better had gone a long way to help, we needed to do more to inform and listen to what employers were saying.
We met this head on by providing employers with a range of opportunities to meet and question our senior figures and experts.
This produced some extremely useful feedback particularly around the need for greater transparency in some of our processes. We have listened but now we need to consider what action we can take to address these issues.
The event was positively received and, among those who spoke glowingly about the event, was Thomas Jeavons, from Sunray Construction. He said:
It was an excellent event in a beautiful venue. It provided a great opportunity to meet the team behind the decision making process at the IfA, and to be surrounded by people dedicated to improving the quality of training across the country.
Richard Holliday, from the Royal Society of Chemistry, added:
I really valued being able to meet with such a range of other stakeholders involved with apprenticeships and hearing their views.
There has undoubtedly been much change in respect of apprenticeships and so summits like this are incredibly important to enable open two way dialogue to occur.
It was pleasing the IfA had a large contingent in attendance and were genuinely listening to views of delegates. I look forward to attending such events in the future.