From education to employment

The new apprenticeship standards: why you should get involved

This week will start the six month countdown to the official closure of the current apprenticeship frameworks. From 29 December 2017, if you want to recruit a new apprentice, you will have to use the new and improved standards.

The new standards were introduced because of a major government reform of apprenticeships. This was a great opportunity as now the standards are only two-page documents listing the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed for the apprentice being competent in their role. They also have the benefit of been put together by a variety of social care employers just like you.

An apprenticeship is a job with investment from the learner and you as the employer into future success, but you get a worker from the start. Yes, part of the deal – as is currently the case – will be that you allow your apprentice to spend 20% of their salaried time on uninterrupted, off-the-job learning, but this does not necessarily have to be in a traditional classroom setting. You will also need to agree on the cost of the apprenticeships with your learning provider and the duration of each programme (a minimum of 12 months). These arrangements should work in a way that’s best for you and your apprentice.

The pay back in quality of service delivery and satisfaction of people who use the services if an apprenticeship is well delivered is massive.

Yes, the new standards require the apprentice to successfully pass through an independent end-point test, but if you and your learning provider prepare your apprentice well, the tests will enhance quality and raise the apprentice’s self-confidence.

So, in summary, why do we think adult social care employers should use the new apprenticeship standards?

  • They are an ideal way of filling vacancies. Our current estimates are that there 90,000 vacancies in the adult social care sector at any one time.
  • This is a way of raising quality. Measured delivery of qualifications and patient embedding of the competencies in the standard are designed to prepare the apprentice for a rigorous and independent end-point test.
  • There are now many government financial incentives to taking on 16-18 year olds. Pilot projects we have run to encourage employers to explore this option have resulted in high levels of satisfaction with the energy, novel ideas and enthusiasm of new young workers.
  • For existing employees, doing an apprenticeship gives the employer an opportunity to undertake succession planning and retain good workers by moving them up the career ladder.
  • For levy-paying employees, this is an efficient means of getting a return on what you pay to government.
  • For those in the public sector, the standards allow you to fulfil your requirement to recruit 2.3% of your workforce as apprentices.

If you want more information on the new standards or the closure of the existing frameworks visit:

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