From education to employment

Route panels

Our 15 Route Panels represent the employer voice within the Institute. Panel Members are experts in their industry, characterised by their outstanding occupational knowledge, exceptional experience and critical grasp of the future skills needs of their sectors. They are also passionate advocates for apprenticeships and T-Level qualifications.

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. They meet every six weeks to consider submissions from trailblazer groups and T-Level Panels.

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 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.

Are you interested in being considered for Membership of a Route Panel?

To identify and attract candidates of the right calibre and ensure Panels reflect diversity of background and experience, we use executive search, soft search and open recruitment methodologies. All Route Panel recruitment is managed by our Membership Office.

Our open recruitment competition takes place annually in May/June and is open to any candidate who meets the criteria for the role. Open recruitment is primarily aimed at developing a pipeline of prospective Members that enables the Institute to fill future Panel vacancies as soon as they arise.

We advertise the start of our open recruitment campaign through our social media channels and on our website.

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