Apprenticeships Guidance Update - June 2017

Published: Monday, June 26, 2017 - 10:55

The Institute for Apprenticeships, which has operational responsibility for apprenticeships in England (Department for Education retains policy responsibility) has a "how to" guide available which substantially updates the old Guidance originally published in December 2015. ...

How To Guide for Trailblazers


Policy updates/clarifications

  • Clarification of what constitutes a degree level apprenticeship (paragraph 1.17).
  • Clarification that all apprentices need to be employed, hold an employment contract and be paid at least the appropriate rate of the minimum wage for the duration of their apprenticeship, meaning that the Institute will not be able to approve any proposal which proposes a model of apprentice self-employment, even where this may have existed previously (paragraph 1.19). This appears to remove the possibility of for example a future Trailblazer sea fishing apprenticeship because of the 'share' fishing employment status.
  • Clarification that degree apprenticeships are not covered by the mandatory qualifications criteria (paragraph 2.2).
  • Outline of funding rules relating to licences to practice (paragraph 2.5) – see Education and Skills Funding Agency funding rules for full details. ie Levy funds will NOT cover the costs directly associated with licences to practice, which we think will affect for example an application to MCA for Able Seafarer certification. The wording on other mandatory qualifications is also tighter, requiring a letter from the relevant regulator that they are required for that occupation (probably relevant to security in the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers world; the norm for most, but not formally required).
  • Evidence to justify a qualification under the hard sift criterion must now include at least ten recent job advertisements when submitting the draft standard for approval (paragraph 2.8). This formally toughens the rules, but they’ve been working to this for some time now.
  • As trailed at the January Trailblazer conference and subsequently in an email to all Trailblazers, after the 29 June 2017 submissions deadline, the Institute will no longer accept the submission of any draft standards for approval that include (and hence mandate) a qualification in development (paragraph 2.9).
  • Further clarity about the fact that qualifications must be organisation-neutral so as not to limit the market by excluding other awarding organisations (paragraph 2.11). 
  • Standards can now be up to three pages long rather than two pages to reflect the Institute’s desire for them to contain a more in-depth occupational profile (paragraph 2.15).
  • Standards should not contain any organisational or company logos (paragraph 2.18).
  • Recommendation that the overall cost of the end-point assessment (including the cost of external quality assurance) should not exceed 20% of the overall fundable cost of the apprenticeship (paragraph 3.3).
  • Full details of external quality assurance options (paragraph 3.36 + Annex F: Framework and Guidance for External Quality Assurance).
  • Updated information relating to the process for the allocation of funding bands (Section 5).

Process Updates

  • Requirement to engage with the relevant Route relationship manager prior to submission of a new proposal (paragraph 1.2). This is new, and sensible, saving everyone time.
  • Clarification that it is not permissible to “stockpile” approved proposals to develop standards and that any lack of progress in developing a standard may result in the approval to do so being withdrawn (paragraph 1.7).
  • Clarification that, if a group is bidding to develop more than one standard, the proposal needs to detail a commitment from at least 10 employers for each proposed standard (paragraph 1.9).
  • For proposals relating to standards at level 6 or above that will include a degree, the names of two Higher Education providers actively supporting the development of the standard need to be included in the proposal (paragraph 1.11).
  • Requirement that, when proposing a standard for development, the employer group needs to demonstrate its fit with the Sainsbury Technical Education Routes system (paragraph 1.18). This is new in process terms, but the requirement to show that we are proposing a new Standard for a broad-enough occupation is not; it’s exactly what we’re asked to do now when they want to know whether (eg) a Boatmaster really is different from AB (deck), workboats, etc.
  • Clarification that any letter from a professional body about the proposed inclusion of a qualification relating to professional recognition in a standard must explicitly confirm that its inclusion is required for professional recognition (paragraph 2.7).
  • Confirmation that it is no longer necessary to submit a copyright assignment for standards and End Point Assessment plans as copyright is assigned to the Crown via legislation (paragraph 2.37). We know this, but it’s a sensible clearing-away of the previous nonsense.
  • New guidance on retakes/resits (paragraph 3.22).
    • Where a professional body wishes to be named as delivering the end-point assessment, the Trailblazer must provide evidence that, legally, they are the only body able to award professional status for a given occupation and that they have confirmed that they are happy to undertake the end-point assessment (paragraph 3.31).
  • Clarification regarding what constitutes independence for integrated degree models (paragraph 3.33).
  • Confirmation of the deadlines and details of the online process for submitting draft standards and draft End Point Assessment plans, including a requirement for relationship managers to confirm that they are ready for submission, the introduction of peer review process and appeals process and to update us on total annual projected starts on their standards at the standard and End Point Assessment submission stages (Section 4).
    • Extended guidance on promoting awareness of your standard (Section 6). This is new. It is, genuinely, guidance rather than rules dressed-up as guidance. It’s probably worth every Trailblazer group working through what’s here at an appropriate point.
    • Revised Institute contact details for submitting claims under the Small Business Travel Fund (Annex H)

New/revised support and tools

  • Details of Institute support available for developing standards and End Point Assessment plans (4.1-4.8).
  • Revised standard letter confirming trailblazer employer support (Annex D).
  • Revised standard, End Point Assessment plan and Activity Summary templates providing greater clarity of requirements (Annexes E, G & I – the latter is a separate excel document on the same webpage).
  • New standard letter for professional bodies to use when confirming alignment of a standard with their professional recognition requirements and/or the need for a particular qualification to be included (Annex C).

Off-the-job Training

The Institute for Apprenticeships has published guidance on what they mean by ‘off-the-job’ training, which must account for at least 20% of an apprentice’s time. This is relevant both to HR colleagues designing programmes and to their external training partners in colleges and they like. The guidance shows the many ways in which the 20% requirement can be met, but it is also clear that it is a requirement of the funding and that the Education and Skills Funding Agency will want to see evidence that the requirements has been met. The 20% requirement MUST be met; this guidance suggests how.

Institute for Apprenticeships Off-the-Job guidance

At the time that this piece was produced, Off-the-job training is defined as learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of an apprenticeship. This can include training that is delivered at the apprentice’s normal place of work but must not be delivered as part of their normal working duties.

The off-the-job training must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship framework or standard and could include the following.

  • The teaching of theory (for example: lectures, role playing, simulation exercises, online learning or manufacturer training),
  • Practical training: shadowing, mentoring, industry visits and attendance at competitions,
  • Learning support and time spent writing assessments/assignments.

Off-the-job training does not include:

  • English and maths (up to level 2) which is funded separately,
  • progress reviews or on-programme assessment needed for an apprenticeship framework or standard,
  • training which takes place outside the apprentice’s paid working hours.


Guidance for employers on employing apprentices

DfE has also published, guidance for employers on employing apprentices on the Gov.UK website...

guidance for employers on employing apprentices


Thanks to the Maritime Skills Alliance for this information