The reform in the delivery of apprenticeships that commenced from 1st May 2017 marked a radical transformation in the up-skilling of the workforce through government funded programmes. Not only has funding been reformed but the entire structure and content of the new ‘trailblazer standards’ is completely different to previous apprenticeships.
Known as Trailblazers the new apprenticeships are designed to be offered at all levels including up to degree level.They have a much higher training input element, and a robust sign off process, now known as ‘End-Point Assessment’, which is designed to ensure independent assessment and verification.
If you are a vocational assessor and looking to obtain work in either the delivery or assessment of apprenticeships,then the following list of changes may be useful for you.
- Apprenticeship delivery is now designed to be employer led: Employers will have a lot more input into the timing, content and assessment within the apprenticeship. Employers will have a lot more say on when they believe the apprentice is ready for their end-point assessment by working jointly (no longer independently) with the training provider.
- Apprenticeship standards are now linked to ‘roles’ not qualifications: An apprenticeship is now based on the job role for the particular industry, which has been compiled by groups of employers from the relevant sector. Some Apprenticeships may now not contain a qualification if there is nothing in existence which maps to the ‘role’. Others may have small components which form part of the apprenticeship such as functional skills, a ‘health and safety’ module or a ‘safeguarding’ qualification. These may form part of the ongoing ‘on-programme element of learning and assessment but may not be part of the end-point assessment which is based on ‘role’ competence, skills and knowledge.
- There is a minimum programme length:The minimum length of time for apprenticeship training is one year. This is based on apprentices working / training 30 hours per week or more. However as many of the new apprenticeships are being developed at higher levels, it may be that a level ‘5 Diploma’ apprenticeship will take much longer.
- There is a mandatory 20% off the job training criteria: The new apprenticeships stipulate a minimum of 20% of training must be delivered ‘off job’ i.e in a classroom or workshop with tutor support.
- You cannot end-point assess the same learners you teach or coach: An end-point assessment organisation / assessor, cannot deliver the learning elements to any apprentices they are assessing or deliver end-point assessment to non-apprentices.
- There is a mandatory end-point assessment requirement: An end-point assessment organisation / assessor, must have relevant occupational experience of the standard, have relevant assessment experience and expertise, not have any conflict of interest, and quality assure all of their activities.
- Large employers are now having a training levy deducted from them via the government to fund apprenticeship and training delivery: Any employer with a payroll of over £3 million pounds per year will automatically have to pay the apprenticeship levy via the PAYE process. This is currently 0.5%of the employer wage bill.They will then have to source an accredited training provider to both access their funding and deliver the apprenticeship. For employers who do not fall into the levy category the government has provided funding for both training and apprenticeships through a ‘co-investment’ option.
- There is now a grading process for the apprenticeship: End-point assessment will differ between the different apprenticeship standards. Individual components within the apprenticeship will be graded, some standards may have pass / fail others may have pass/merit/distinction. However, regardless of how the individual components are graded, all apprentices will come out with a single overall apprenticeship grade.
Getting yourself Qualified
If you are intending to teach on the ‘on programme’ element of the apprenticeship, then it is likely that you will require a formal adult teaching qualification. The Level 3 Award in Education and Training Qualification is recognised by all of the Awarding bodies e.g. Edexcel, City and Guilds etc., as well as Industry Federation Bodies, as being the minimum threshold Course for Adult Teaching / Post Compulsory Education Tutors. This sector encompasses any form of ‘Adult Further Education and Training’ such as work based training, voluntary sector learning, in-house company training, community learning, prison / offender or probation services, further education colleges, armed forces; in fact, anything which is not compulsory initial education.
If you achieved your assessor qualification as either the D32/33 or A1/2 prior to 2010 when the new TAQA qualifications were introduced and have not been regularly assessing since then, you may find that prospective employers will require you to have evidenced CPD, demonstrated how you have kept up to date, or undertaken an ‘update’ course to refresh and maintain your knowledge in the field of Assessment. Concept Academies run a ‘TAQA Update Course’ designed to enable you to understand the differences in the new frameworks, structure and delivery of the new suite of TAQA qualifications, frameworks and apprenticeships, and also provide a refresher of some of the underpinning knowledge and understanding around the basic principles of assessment to enable you to assess with renewed confidence.
Useful links for further information:
The Institute for Apprenticeships https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/institute-for-apprenticeships