What are apprenticeship standards?

An apprenticeship standard teaches learners the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to perform their role. They work through a combination of on-the-job training with their employer and part time off-the-job studying with their training provider.

Where did standards come from?

The apprenticeship standards came about as a result of the ‘Richard Review’. This was an independent review that highlighted the need for a more robust method of delivering the learning required to meet the needs of the learner’s occupational role. It also highlighted the need for a more effective way of assessing prove the learner has met the desired levels of competency.

The government began apprenticeship reforms in 2012 as a result of this review. The aim was to create apprenticeship programmes that properly met the competency needs of employers. In order to do this the government division known as the ‘Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE)’ brought together groups of employers known as ‘Trailblazer’ groups to design these new standards and set out the skills, knowledge and behaviours that they expect from occupations in their organisations.

Before standards apprenticeship were known as frameworks. For more information on the difference between standards and frameworks please click this link.

What is a trailblazer group?

Apprenticeships are developed by trailblazer groups. These groups consist of a range of companies who employ people in the occupation. This includes a variety of company sizes including Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which are organisations with fewer than 50 employees.

How are apprenticeship standards developed?

  1. Employers identify the need for a new standard in their occupation.
  2. They meet together with the IfATE to pull together a proposal which they submit to the IfATE
  3. The IfATE review the proposal against policies etc. and either accept or reject
  1. The trailblazer group meets to work up a draft standard which includes an overview of the occupation and the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to be competent in the role.
  2. They also work together, often with training providers, to develop the assessment plan which outlines what the apprentice must demonstrate at the end of their programme to prove they have met the criteria.
  3. The draft standard and assessment plan are then submitted to the IfATE
  1. Institute Route Panels recommend improvements then either approve, approve with conditions or reject the standard and assessment plan
  2. It is the Board and Funding committee that receives the recommendations and makes the final decision
  1. Once the standard and assessment plan have been approved assessment organisation, such as OAL, that are registered on the Register of Apprenticeship Assessment Organisation (RoAAO) can apply to deliver end-point assessment from the new apprenticeship
  2. Training providers registered on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP) also get the opportunity to apply to deliver the learning for the new standard.

How are apprenticeship standards assessed?

Apprentices are assessed through end-point assessment (EPA). This is an independent assessment designed to test whether the apprentice has gained the skills, knowledge and behaviour outlined in the standard. It grades the apprentices according to their performance.

EPA is carried out by an end-point assessment organisation (EPAO). The EPAOs must be registered on the RoAAO and must be approved to deliver the assessment for that specific standard.

If you would like any more information about EPA or to see a full list of the end-point assessments that OAL is approved to deliver please click the link below.

End-point assessment info

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