What’s different about the new apprenticeships in England?
New apprenticeship standards have arrived and they are radically different in terms of assessment and delivery to the ‘framework’ apprenticeships we have been used to. So what are the main differences - and what do they mean for the delivery of apprenticeships? CIH education officer David Bramley explains.
The first thing to understand is that the new standards have been created by employer-led Trailblazer groups and relate to a job role rather than a sector - such as housing management assistant, for example. Essentially, the standard is a job description setting out the knowledge, skills and behaviours the apprentice will have gained by the end of their apprenticeship. The housing/property management standards are relevant for both the social and private rented sectors.
The driving test
Existing framework apprenticeships are essentially four separate qualifications, which, when the full set has been completed, lead to the award of the apprenticeship. But standards-based apprenticeships are assessed using an end point assessment, delivered by an independent assessment body; similar to the driving test.
As you know, there are many ways to learn how to drive and prepare for the driving test, and it will be the same when it comes to apprenticeships. However, there are some ground rules. For example, apprenticeships must last a minimum of twelve months, apprentices must be in a job that has been specifically created for an apprentice or be a member of staff in a job that requires them to develop significant new knowledge and skills to be competent (possibly where there has been a restructure and the job has changed or someone has been re-deployed).
Focus on learning
The significant difference, in terms of delivery, is that the focus in the workplace will be on learning to do the job, rather than on an NVQ assessment. This means employers can work with training providers to think about the support package they can put in place to enable the apprentice to develop the knowledge and skills set out in the standard. It is also expected that apprentices will still complete a technical qualification to provide the underpinning knowledge; think driving theory test.
Apprentices won’t start considering the end point assessment until they have been in post for at least nine to twelve months. In the case of the housing/property management apprenticeships, the apprentice will be asked to identify a project or case study that they can present to an assessment panel. This should allow them to demonstrate that they can combine knowledge, skills and behaviours from across the standard in a real world activity. This project/case study will be presented to an end point assessment panel that will review the project and interview the apprentice, before making a decision. There is provision for the apprentice to pass or pass with distinction.
The changes put the employer at heart of apprenticeship delivery, where they will be supported by a training provider to develop a programme of learning that will enable apprentices to realise their potential.