Apprenticeship programmes equip learners with the skills and tools they need for a successful career, and are a genuine alternative to going to university. For employers, apprenticeships provide a highly efficient and effective means of recruiting new talent, as well as developing the skills of their current staff. Existing apprenticeship frameworks that govern the courses undertaken by apprentices are slowly being phased out in a bid to improve what apprentices learn.
What are Apprenticeship Standards?
In 2016, the government announced their vision to improve the quality of apprenticeships in England ensuring they met employers’ requirements for skills and set a target of 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020. The aim is to ensure that employers take responsibility in creating opportunities for our future generation and in addition to addressing the skills shortage.
New Apprenticeship Standards mean that employers are now at the forefront of the development of apprenticeships and learning, aiming to produce people with workplace skills that are relevant to business and industry.
Groups of employers called trailblazers come together to create new apprenticeship standards for specific job roles. These standards are created to include the skills, knowledge and behaviours that are needed to succeed in the industry in question.
An important distinction that sets apprenticeship standards apart from frameworks is the End Point Assessment, or EPA for short. This assessment pulls together everything an apprentice has learned while on programme, and provides employers with confidence that they have achieved the occupational competence set out in the standard.
Why are Apprenticeship Frameworks being phased out?
This is the result of a government reform of apprenticeships outlined in the implementation plan, which is the government’s response to the Richard Review. This review highlighted key areas in which the apprenticeship framework could be improved.
- Put employers in the driving seat. Apprenticeships will be based on standards designed by employers, making them more relevant and therefore more attractive to existing and new employers. New Apprenticeship Standards for apprenticeships will give more power to employers than they may have within the existing framework.
- Increase the quality of apprenticeships. An apprentice will need to demonstrate their competence through rigorous and holistic assessment. This will focus on the end of the apprenticeship to ensure that the apprentice is ready to progress.
- Simplify the system. The new employer-designed Apprenticeship Standards will be short and easy to understand, unlike the existing apprenticeship frameworks. They will describe the knowledge, skills and behaviour that the individual needs to be fully competent in an occupation.
In the time following the establishment of these aims, the idea of a whole new take on apprenticeship frameworks was envisioned, and from this, the New Apprenticeship Standards were created.
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