Apprenticeships are undergoing a significant restructure currently, not just in terms of the Apprenticeship Levy, but also in their delivery. The term ‘trailblazers’ has been used heavily in recent years, and our own Managing Director, Cheryl Hadland, is a part of the Trailblazer Apprenticeships in the childcare sector. But what exactly does that mean, and how does this impact you when considering your future role in apprenticeships?
Trailblazer apprenticeships are the new apprenticeship standards that are being developed by employers in a particular sector. The government has pledged to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 and has since been criticised of focussing on the quantity rather than the quality. These new apprenticeship standards aim to focus on the quality of the apprenticeship by asking employers themselves to define the frameworks and standards of what would make an apprentice valuable to them.
These frameworks and standards will be the foundation of what is learned during the apprenticeship programme, enabling consistency across the sector and allowing accurate monitoring to take place. Being employer-led will mean the focus is on the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to ensure everything learned by the apprentice will benefit the learner, employer, sector and ultimately the economy as a whole. There are many criteria that will define how this will be done, and it will not only include the particular industry specific skills but also the apprentice’s attitude towards their work and their initiative to be able to apply their knowledge in the workplace.
The first Trailblazer apprenticeships were launched in 2013, and there are now over 140 operating in the UK, with a further 350 still under development with all new standards aimed to be in place and being delivered by 2017/18. A Trailblazer group is made up of a minimum of 10 employers from a variety of business sizes. There is a monthly submissions cycle with Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) which will evaluate a request from a group based on the Future of Apprenticeships in England – Guidance for Trailblazers document. If successful, the group will then use the criteria set out in the same document to develop the standards and assessment plan which go to the BIS for approval. Once these are successful they will be published with details on the maximum amount of funding that will be available from the government for their apprenticeship. Once this final stage is complete the standard can be delivered.
If you are interested in being involved as an employer in the standards for your industry, impacting all apprenticeships in the future, you can visit the government website which provides a list of those standards still under review. You can register your interest to be part of the consultation process or you can take part in the government survey that is open for the 2 weeks following the time when standards have been approved. Alternatively, if there isn’t a new standard being developed for your industry you can find out more about how to lead a Trailblazer group from the Future of Apprenticeship in England: Guidance for Trailblazers.
Aspire Training Team is a training and apprenticeship provider, working with employers to place apprentices in business administration, childcare and health & social care. If you’re interested in hiring an apprentice you can call the team on 01202 551553 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.