The government wants employers to be at the centre of the new process for designing and delivering apprenticeships. This is why apprenticeship standards are now designed by groups of employers, known as trailblazers to ensure the new standards meet employers own skills needs and those of their broader sector. Trailblazers are a huge opportunity for employers to get involved and define what they need in terms of apprenticeships for their sector and to improve the quality of apprenticeships in England. To ensure the development of high quality apprenticeships, the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education (IfATE) have a function to support the development of standards and assessment plans including an approvals process for any standards and assessment plans developed as part of the trailblazer project.
An apprenticeship programme is a valuable tool for recruiting new talent into the sector and also to safeguard and support the transfer of industry knowledge from one generation to the next.
As an apprenticeship is a job with training, it must clearly define the occupation, including the duties to be carried out, to enable someone to develop and demonstrate the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to perform safely and effectively in a particular occupation. It involves a substantial programme of on and off-the-job training. An apprenticeship must also meet the requirements of:
- One-year minimum duration – it is mandatory for apprenticeship training to be a minimum of one year unless the standard specification or assessment plan requires it to be longer.
- 20% off-the-job training – this is defined as learning, which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of the apprenticeship. This can include training that is delivered at the apprentice’s normal place of work but must not be delivered as part of their normal working duties. The off-the-job training must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship standard.
- Independent end point assessment – all apprentices must take an independent assessment at the end of their training to confirm that they have achieved occupational competence. This is a holistic and robust assessment of the knowledge, skills and behaviours that have been learnt throughout an apprenticeship standard. The requirements for the assessment of occupational competence are set out in an end point assessment plan. Apprentices will not be able to achieve an apprenticeship without satisfying all the requirements of the end point assessment.
- The government’s minimum English and Maths qualification level requirements for an apprenticeship are as follows:
- For Level 2 apprenticeships, achieve Level 1 English and Maths and take the test for Level 2 prior to taking their EPA
- For Level 3 – 8 apprenticeships, achieve Level 2 English and Maths prior to taking their EPA
- For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and Maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.