Raising standards within apprenticeships is important and something everyone involved in the process should stay focused on. In the end raising the bar will benefit both employees and employers.
A huge part of apprenticeship reform underway at the moment is the introduction of the apprenticeship Trailblazers scheme which aims to put employers in the driving seat and take more control over the programmes they are part of.
Giving more control to employers is a move for the better, and in the long run should mean that employers become much more engaged with apprentices, ensure the programmes are relevant to both their needs and also improve standards across the board.
At the moment apprenticeship frameworks are not always fit for purpose, don’t always relate to a specific role and the funding process is complex with a lot of paperwork to complete.
The core aim of the Trailblazer programme is to drive up standards, which at the moment is difficult to do because there is limited quality provision available within the marketplace and many employers use their own internal programmes to develop their teams and new starters.
Under the Trailblazer programme, apprenticeships will become more rigorous and more responsive to the needs of employers because it is those very employers who will design the content, delivery and assessment methods of the new standards.
And, employers will be able to put out to tender their apprenticeship requirements and providers will bid on quality, outcomes and price and not be dependent on whether they hold funding.
The new standards are expected to be in place by 2017-18 and as they start to be agreed training providers like ourselves will start to use these as the basis for new apprenticeships.
Each Trailblazer group will go through a planning, development and consultation phase, where they consult with the wider industry.
Once consultation complete they need to submit the standard to the Skills Funding Agency in order to gain approval. When approved the framework is ready to go and can be delivered.
The roll out of the Trailblazer apprenticeship programmes will benefit both the employer and the employee and the changes they will bring should result in a stronger, more skilled workforce.