Higher Apprenticeship Frameworks

UVAC continues to play a key role in the development of Higher Apprenticeship at levels 4-7 and has a significant amount of expertise which can be of benefit to organisations considering involvement in Higher Apprenticeship development.  Give us a call for more information.

Higher Apprenticeship – what is it?
What does a Higher Apprenticeship framework currently incorporate?
What’s the difference between existing vocational learning provision at level 4 and 5 and a Higher Apprenticeship?
How many Higher Apprenticeships are there?

Higher Apprenticeship – what is it?

As with any Apprenticeship, a Higher Apprenticeship is a learning framework designed to enable a learner in employment develop the technical knowledge and occupational competence to perform a defined job role at a specified level. Higher Apprenticeships are employer led programmes focused on developing the skills particular sectors require. 

A Higher Apprenticeship is not a qualification, but a learning framework, which incorporates a qualification(s) and other requirements.  The requirements of a Higher Apprenticeship are outlined in SASE (the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards inEngland) which is underpinned by statute.  A Higher Apprentice must be employed and the Apprenticeship programme is work-based, although various options exist for delivery arrangements e.g. through, block, blended and distance learning.  Higher Apprenticeships combine on and off-the-job learning and vary in the length of time they will take a learner to complete

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What does a Higher Apprenticeship framework currently incorporate?

Currently SASE specifies a requirement for Higher Apprenticeship which includes a technical knowledge qualification and a competency qualification (an integrated technical knowledge and competency qualification may be allowed) and requirements for functional skills, Employee Rights and Responsibilities (ERR) and Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS).  As an example, currently a Higher Apprenticeship at level 5 could incorporate:

  • A Foundation degree as an integrated technical knowledge and competency          qualification, ERR, PLTS and a specification for functional skillsOR
  • An NVQ 5 (the competency qualification), a QCF level 5 qualification (the technical knowledge qualification), ERR, PLTS and a specification for functional skills

OR

  • An NVQ 5 (the competency qualification) the Foundation degree (the technical knowledge qualification), ERR, PLTS and a specification for functional skills.

Other approaches are also possible and are emerging through the work of the Higher Apprenticeship Fund Partnerships.

SASE outlines a minimum credit value for a Higher Apprenticeship (currently 37 credits). The competency qualification must be at the level specified for the framework, underpinned by National Occupational Standards (NOS) and approved by the SSC or sector body.  To avoid duplication each Higher Apprenticeship framework must have a different competency qualification.  There is also currently a specification for guided learning hours (GLH) – a minimum of 280 – of which 30% (or 100 GLH, whichever is greater) must be delivered off the job.

SASE currently allows the recognition of Higher Apprenticeship at levels 4 and 5, but not levels 6 and 7.  The specification is the focus of the consultation and will (subject to final ministerial decisions) change.

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What’s the difference between existing vocational learning provision at level 4 and 5 and a Higher Apprenticeship?

There is a strong case for the view that Higher Apprenticeship should build on the established expertise and provision developed by HEIs, FECs and training providers over many years.  Employers have also in many cases developed their own learning provision, which could benefit from external accreditation.  Some existing work-based Foundation degrees could share many of the characteristics of Higher Apprenticeships in that they are focused on developing the technical knowledge and occupational competence required for a specific job role.  NVQs can accredit occupation competence on the basis of a sector’s needs. There are, however, important differences in that a Higher Apprenticeship must be compliant with SASE.  Specifically:

  • A Higher Apprenticeship is nationally approved by an Issuing Authority (usually a SSC) as meeting the requirements for an Apprenticeship as specified in SASE
  • A Higher Apprentice must be employed and the framework is designed to develop the technical knowledge and competence for a defined job role
  • Currently SASE specifies requirements for PLTS, ERR, Functional Skills, credit levels and guided learning hours
  • There are also various other requirements, including following the Apprenticeship certification system. A registration system also operates.

Historically the specification that a competency qualification can only be used for one Higher Apprenticeship framework has led to only one Higher Apprenticeship being approved for a specific job role.  Different pathways within frameworks have been allowed and a different qualification(s) can be used to accredit the knowledge and competency requirements of a Higher Apprenticeship frameworks.  Apprenticeships have been developed as ‘national’ programmes to support the delivery of consistent outcomes required by employers.  The Higher Apprenticeship Fund (announced by the Prime Minister in the summer of 2011) has, however, supported some regional type developments.

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How many Higher Apprenticeships are there?

All frameworks are listed in Apprenticeship Frameworks Online and a list of current frameworks and those under development, can be found here.  New frameworks are being developed all the time so this document will be updated from time to time.

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More information

UVAC can provide advice and support about the development of Higher Apprenticeships at levels 4-7. Please get in touch with us if you think we can be of assistance.

 

One Response to Higher Apprenticeship Frameworks

  1. Pingback: Updated list of Higher Apprenticeships developed/under development now available | University Vocational Awards Council

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