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Supporting new standards and engagement strategies

Providing information about the new apprenticeships system is valuable. But for the Education and Training Foundation, what we are hearing is staff asking for support to develop the skills and approaches that will enable them to (a) design programmes to deliver the new apprenticeship standards, and (b) develop their strategic employer engagement strategies, to adapt to the new employer-led context.

Since we were founded, the Foundation has provided professional development support for staff to improve the quality of apprenticeships, first through the ‘Apprenticeship Staff Support Programme’ and more recently through the ‘Future Apprenticeships programme’.

Between February 2014 and September 2015, our Apprenticeship Staff Support Programme (ASSP) supported providers to:

• Engage with employers and especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

• Embed English and maths into apprenticeships in ways that were relevant for learners and employers.

• Further improve curriculum development, and teaching, learning and assessment on apprenticeship programmes.

• Prepare for the transition from apprenticeship frameworks to the new trailblazer standards

During the 18 month programme, over 60% of the estimated 800 colleges and providers involved in apprenticeship delivery took part in ASSP. Over 6,000 practitioners were supported, and more than 170 new professional development resources were developed by staff, for staff. These are now freely available online.

A small impact study of ASSP participants completed in autumn 2015 showed that:

• Around two thirds of staff reported an increase in the confidence to deliver current apprenticeships; and

• Over half had improved their understanding of the apprenticeship reforms and were more able to prepare for the delivery of the new Standards.

In November 2015 we launched the Future Apprenticeships programme. This provides a focus on:

• Supporting delivery of the new apprenticeship standards, with a focus on linking on and off the job training through effective curriculum development and high quality teaching, learning and assessment;

• Further developing competence and capacity in employer engagement, focused on the new employer-led apprenticeship context;

• Building the capacity of leaders (executive and non-executive) to meet the challenges of apprenticeship reform and grow apprenticeships.

The first phase of Future Apprenticeships completes at the end of this month. To date the programme has supported 1800 teachers, trainers and managers. The most popular workshops have focused on action planning to prepare for the transition from frameworks to standards, and strategies for improving employer engagement.

We are now working closely with our delivery partner, AELP, to offer further support for providers, their leaders and practitioners during April and May. For further information on the Future Apprenticeships programme please visit the ETF website: 
http://www.etfoundation.co.uk/futureapprenticeships

Jenny Williams is director of vocational education and training at the Education and Training Foundation

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