huge stack of paper next to a tiny stack

What are apprenticeship standards?

Find out how the new standards affect apprenticeship delivery.

What are apprenticeship standards?

huge stack of paper next to a tiny stack

Apprenticeship standards have been in place since 2017, but with thousands of different criteria across hundreds of different industries now in place, some organisations are still getting caught out by complexity.

At OneFile, we’ve designed software to help you streamline and simplify the day-to-day administration underpinning apprenticeships.  

Read this guide to get the low down on what apprenticeship standards mean for you.  

How apprenticeship standards came about 

The government introduced standards as part of major reforms of apprenticeships. The standards are designed to shift focus from assessing onto learning, and put employers in control.   

The standards are written by employer-led groups and include the specific Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSBs) needed for specific occupations. This puts employers in the driving seat and ensures apprentices’ learning is relevant to the workplace.  

What the apprenticeship standards involve  

The standards are shorter and more concise. In fact, each one must fit on two sides of A4 in size 12 font. These shorter standards are supposed to be straightforward and easy to understand.  

In reality, this isn’t yet the case – each standard is accompanied by an assessment plan, which is just as long as seen in frameworks – the standards’ predecessor. The standards include lots of different criteria – such as 20% off-the-job training, progress weighting and end-point assessment (EPA).  

How do the standards affect delivery?  

1. The biggest change is the shift from assessing to learning. Instead of continually assessing learners, assessors will be more like tutors or mentors – planning activities, sending feedback and supporting apprentices until the EPA. The EPAO will then be responsible for assessing the apprentice. Find out more about the changing role of the assessor here.   

2. Apprenticeships include Individual Learning Plans, built on curricula  designed to meet standards, help apprentices achieve KSBs, and prepare candidates for their EPA – instead of completing scores of ongoing assessments as we saw under the previous framework system. Mentors will need to check which assessment methods will be used in EPAs and do mock tests and practice runs as the deadline approaches.  

3. The standards include a 20% off-the-job training requirement. This means providers and employers need to work together to plan learning activities which take place outside of the apprentice's normal working duties. Off-the-job training is mandatory and will be audited, so it needs to be properly organised and recorded.   

4. Depending on the standards within each industry, modules can be weighted differently, so mentors may need to focus their delivery on priority areas.   

5.Apprentices are now graded according to their performance in the EPA. Mentors should work closely with their learners to fulfil their potential planning activities to coach borderline apprentices, while stretching and challenging high achievers.   

6.  A series of higher and degree apprenticeships has been released alongside the standards. These high-level qualifications work in a similar way to traditional apprenticeships but include a requirement that learners spend 20% of their time studying at university as standard. Providers will need to adapt their delivery to high-level learning and work closely with Higher Education institutions (HEIs) to manage apprentices on and off the job.   

Apprenticeship standards can be complex, but by investing time early on to understand the criteria, you can ensure compliance and maximum results from your apprentices. Employers can take their involvement to the next level as an employer-provider and deliver training in house.   

Still confused?

At OneFile, we've developed our apprenticeship software so it has all the features you need to deliver outstanding apprenticeship standards – from an off-the-job training tracker to portfolio showcase. To find out how you can use OneFile to deliver the standards, download your complete guide. 

Get guide

Want to see a real-life apprenticeship standard? Download our apprenticeship standard template to see exactly how the standards are set out.  

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This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
so this research is to be used at the reader's discretion. OneFile is not liable for any action taken based on this research.