The Future Apprenticeships Programme is a collaboration between provider representative organisations including the Association of Colleges (AoC), Association of Employer and Learning Providers (AELP), 157 Group, HOLEX, the Federation for Industry Skills and Standards (FISSS) and the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE). Future Apprenticeships is commissioned and funded by the Education and Training Foundation.
The focus of the Apprenticeship reforms are to meet the needs of employers, with employers designing standards and assessment plans, by improving the quality of Apprenticeships, and by giving employers purchasing power.
The Future Apprenticeships Programme will ensure that the provider sector, as a whole, is fully aware of all developments and is given as much opportunity as possible to prepare for the changes ahead.
Provider Readiness Groups
The guidance for Trailblazer groups suggests that they will want to work with a range of training providers to ensure that they understand and are ready to deliver the training content to enable apprentices to meet their standard. However, as it is not a mandatory part of the standard and assessment plan development process, the level of provider involvement varies from the start of the design of a standard, at different stages of the process and on some occasions Trailblazer groups working without any provider input.
The Future Apprenticeships Programme is establishing Provider Readiness Groups (PRGs) for Apprenticeship Standards, to facilitate partnerships between employers and providers. PRGs vary quite considerably between various industry sectors and their diversity reflects the different ways providers have become involved with reforms so far.
PRGs are now beginning to work to achieve a common outcome, a report that helps providers understand each new standard clearly and supports and guides their readiness preparations.
PRGs have two aims:
- to ensure that standards are deliverable in a cost effective way
- and to help the sector produce consistent Apprenticeship outcomes.
It is this consistency of outcomes that is critical – employers need to be confident that any provider will clearly understand the outcomes that were intended when a standard was created and that there is no room for misinterpretation. Delivery methods may vary greatly across the sector, but outcomes must be consistent.
PRG members will achieve early insight into new standards and will contribute to help prepare the wider sector for the changes that are coming and share lessons learnt with those who have not had the opportunity to participate at this early stage.
Apprenticeship Staff Support Programme (ASSP)
The ASSP provides free to download professional development support that aims to improve the quality and professional capacity of provider staff to deliver effective apprenticeship programmes. Several of these resources offer early guidance in relation to the apprenticeship changes.
For more information about PRGs contact: Future_Apprenticeships@aoc.co.uk