What are apprenticeship standards?
Apprenticeship standards are replacing the old frameworks.
The new standards were introduced as part of the Government's major apprenticeship reforms. The standards represent a shift from assessing to learning and put employers in control.
The new standards are written by employer-led groups and include the specific KSBs needed for a specific occupation. This puts employers in the driving seat and gives apprentices a clear career path to follow. Employers can take their involvement to the next level as an employer-provider and deliver training in house.
The new standards are also shorter and more concise. Each standard must fit on 2 sides of A4 in size 12 font. These shorter standards are supposed to be straight-forward and easy to understand – but each standard is accompanied by an assessment plan, which is just as long as the old frameworks. The standards also include lots of new aspects to get your head around – such as 20% off-the-job training, progress weighting and end-point assessment (EPA).
These changes represent an overall shift from assessing to learning. The standards don't include continual assessment – instead each apprentice must take an EPA to pass their qualification. The assessment method is outlined in the apprenticeship standard and must be completed by an independent end-point assessment organisation (EPOA).
How do the new standards affect delivery?
1. We've already mentioned the major change: 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. Instead of assessing apprentices, training delivery will include preparing apprentices for their EPA. Mentors will need to check which assessment methods are used in the EPA and do mock tests and practice runs as the apprentice approaches the EPA.
3. The standards include a 20% off-the-job training requirement. This means providers and employers need to work together to plan learning activities outside of the apprentice's normal working duties. Off-the-job training is mandatory, so it needs to be properly organised and recorded.
4. In the standards, modules can be weighted differently so mentors may need to focus their delivery on key areas.
5. Apprentices are now graded according to their performance in the EPA. This means mentors will need to work closely with their learners to get the most out of them – planning activities to coach borderline apprentices, and stretch and challenge high achievers.
6. A series of higher and degree apprenticeships has been released alongside the new standards. These high-level qualifications work in a similar way to all other standards, but the apprentice will spend 20% of their time studying at university. Providers will need to adapt their delivery to high-level learning and work closely with HEIs to manage apprentices on and off the job.
Apprenticeship standards are new to us all, but many providers have embraced the change and are enrolling apprentices in the new world. There are hundreds of standards already available, and hundreds more being developed – you can find a full list here.
For a clear-cut comparison of frameworks and standards, download our comparison chart. It shows all the major differences in design and delivery, and explains all the changes in much more detail.
Want to see a real-life apprenticeship standard? Download our apprenticeship standard template to see exactly how the standards are set out.