There are some significant changes taking place with apprenticeships in England. Apprenticeships delivery has been framework based but apprenticeship providers will now need to switch to “Standards”. Apprenticeship frameworks are made up of required qualifications and functional skills. They are prescriptive in that providers have a list of qualifications to choose from and have to deliver them to make up the framework requirements.
The new standards based approach is very different. The first point to make is that the apprenticeship standards have been developed by employers. This means that industry experts have set out the skills, knowledge and behaviours that they expect of apprentices. The other feature of the new apprenticeship standards is that they, in most cases, do not have a specific qualification that needs to be achieved.
Gaining an Apprenticeship
As there are no set qualifications, apprentices will be required to complete an end point assessment. End point assessments are taken in the final few months of an apprenticeship and depending on the occupation have a set of criteria that need to be achieved. This could be a mixture of a portfolio, practical assignment, interview, exam etc. Each occupation will have its own end point assessment.
The other fundamental change is to the funding structure. Apprenticeship framework delivery has seen colleges and training providers draw funding to deliver their apprenticeship programmes. Under the new standards based delivery the government will fun 2/3 of the cost of delivery and the employer will have to contribute 1/3 of the cost. But it is not all bad news! The training provider and employer will need to establish a cost for the apprenticeship programme (there is a maximum for each occupation). The employer is then also entitled to incentives. As an example:
If an apprenticeship has a £9000 cap then the training provider cannot charge the employer more that £3000.
The employer has to contribute £3000 to the apprenticeship but can receive the following back:
- £900 if they employ less than 50 staff
- £1800 if the apprentice is under 19
- £900 when the apprentice completes their programme
The apprenticeship changes will start taking place in 2016. For more information visit the Gov.uk site Apprenticeship Standards