4th March saw the announcement of the second phase of Apprenticeship Trailblazers (and the employers leading them) and publication of the second version of The Future of Apprenticeships in England – Guidance for Trailblazers and the first Apprenticeship Standards. The first Apprenticeship Standards include Relationship Manager (Banking), which is at level 6, and Digital Industries roles Software Developer and Network Engineer at level 4. A third phase of Trailblazers will be announced in September 2014 and employers are being invited to express interest; one area of need identified by Government is Management. Of particular note to HE, a large number of the second phase Apprenticeship Trailblazers would appear to focus on higher level occupations:
- Accountant (including chartered status)
- Certified Actuarial Analyst
- Adult Social Care Worker
- Practice Management in Dentistry
- Hospitality and Tourism Managers
- Insurance and Underwriting
- Nursing – Given the significance of this development members may wish to review the specific announcement made on this Trailblazer on 4th March
Trailblazers will take 3 – 4 months to develop Apprenticeship Standards and a high level assessment approach – a rapid process. They are being encouraged to work with and get input early from ‘assessment experts’ and ‘training providers’. The approaches to assessment and content of training to achieve the Apprenticeship Standard will obviously be key tasks. Once Apprenticeship Standards and a high level assessment approach have been developed, an assessment body or bodies will be identified. If a single assessment body is preferred by a Trailblazer, Government will run a competitive process to identify the single assessment body.
All Trailblazers that work with BIS have a relationship manager. UVAC is working closely with BIS and several relationship managers to ensure the role of HEIs is recognised in the delivery and assessment of Apprenticeships at higher levels. A UVAC briefing event on the Apprenticeship reforms (supported by the Skills Funding Agency) is being held on 4th April in Birmingham; a very limited number of places are still available. Click here for more information. Members may also want to discuss developments with UVAC’s Chief Executive Adrian Anderson -email@example.com.
Other areas where Apprenticeship Standards are being developed which may link into HE programmes include civil engineering – ‘Rail Design Technician’ – and emerging technologies – ‘High Value Manufacturing Technician’. In due course employers may be interested in working with HEIs to develop work-based progression routes for level 3 occupations to managerial and professional roles.
A paper Funding Reform Technical Consultation on routing government funding for the external training of apprentices via employers will be published shortly. UVAC will provide an interpretation of this for members when published. A further 20,000 additional Higher Apprenticeships were announced in the Autumn Statement and we would strongly encourage HEIs with an interest in this area to consider going through the SFA register process. Again, further information is available from UVAC.