How to develop an apprenticeship standard

Follow these 5 steps to build an apprenticeship standard.

How to develop an apprenticeship standard

man writing on a whiteboard

If you're an employer, and you're looking to build your own apprenticeship standard, you're in luck.

In the new world of apprenticeships, employers are involved in the whole process – from designing the standards to delivering training. It means you have the power to develop an apprenticeship to suit your business, so trainees learn the exact skills they need to fulfil the occupation. The standard shouldn't be too niche as it has to be transferable to other businesses, but if you're involved in the designing process, you can mould the qualification to suit you.

Sound complicated? The process is actually quite straightforward. There are a few steps to follow and hoops to jump through, but it's definitely worth it in the end!

STEP 1: Creating a trailblazer group

In order to design your own apprenticeship, you'll need to build a group of 10 employers. The group should reflect the scope of the industry, and include at least 2 employers with less than 50 employees. When the group has been formed, everyone must play an active role and work together to develop the standard.

You can also invite relevant professional bodies and trade associations into the group to help, but it's the employers who have the final say.

STEP 2: Submit a proposal 

Your proposal won't be approved if a similar standard already exists or is currently in development. You can check your proposal against others here – then when you're ready to submit, you just need to fill in the online form on the government website.

STEP 3: Start building

As soon as you have approval to develop a standard, you need to get started straight away. You should outline the core knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) the apprentice needs to meet in order to reach full competence in the occupation. You may want to add optional KSBs and decide whether you want to include a degree as part of a level 6 or above apprenticeship. This will involve working with a higher education provider, so you'll have to include different people during the design and delivery process. 

STEP 4: Set the EPA

All new apprenticeship standards must include an end-point assessment (EPA) which has to be outlined in the standard. You need to include the appropriate assessment methods and quality assurance processes.

STEP 5: Grading

The new apprenticeships are now graded, so your group will have to include clear grading descriptions in your assessment plan. Try to avoid words like 'good' or 'in-depth' without providing examples of what this means. These guidelines will set out what the apprentice has to achieve to be graded pass, merit or distinction. Apprentices can also re-sit their EPA, so you should include any requirements for this too.

The EPA is assessed by an independent assessment organisation, so you'll need to state what skills and knowledge you expect the assessors to have. If you want the employer to play a part in the assessment process, you can include an assessment panel where the employer can play a supporting role. 

STEP 6: Submit your standard

The Institute of Apprenticeships will assign your group a relationship manager who'll support you throughout the process, and double-check your standard before you submit it. When your deadline is approaching, submit your apprenticeship standard here.

If your proposal is rejected, you can make amendments and try again.

Large sections of the proposal can be completed online, but the apprenticeship standard itself must be short and clear, taking up no more than three sides of A4 in size 12 font. You can set out the standards how you like, but we recommend following a template – especially while you’re in the design stages.

Download our template for an apprenticeship standard here.

Download guide

This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
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