Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Look to WorldSkills for Apprenticeship Standards

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Look to WorldSkills for Apprenticeship Standards

Article excerpt

As attention focuses on the apprenticeship levy, it is important we don't forget the other major elements of reform that are just as important - not least the programme to develop new apprenticeship standards.

Clear, simple and relevant standards will underpin the quality of the apprenticeship system, so we need to ensure that they encourage world-class delivery and performance.

Following the launch of the Trailblazer project in October 2013, there are now more than 190 completed standards and at least another 160 in development.

More than 1,300 employers have been involved in the development of the new standards and many have given a lot of time. However, in recent months, employers have expressed some concerns about the process. These include: overlapping standards between job roles; standards focused on large employers which could not be delivered by SMEs; and new standards not being related to the existing industry standards and National Occupational Standards.

Employers are also concerned about the difficulty of developing assessment processes that balance ongoing and end-assessment with flexibility and national consistency.

Many of the end tests could also be expensive and difficult to standardise. This will also make grading the apprenticeships more difficult.

When Trailblazer was launched, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) was the first organisation to call for an overarching governance process to establish a framework for standards development.

The Department for Business, Information and Skills (Bis) opted for a more flexible approach, which has resulted in some confusion. …

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