As employers tasked with taking the lead in developing standards and assessments for the new apprenticeships, there is a lot of information available.
Here we provide you with tools and resources to help you in your development process, explaining some of the jargon in the education and assessment sector and outlining how we as an awarding organisation can help.
Your questions answered
What is a Trailblazer?
- A Trailblazer is made up of a group of employers who work together to design new apprenticeship standards for occupations within their sectors.
- Employers are now at the forefront of the development of Apprenticeships and learning; creating people with workplace skills that are relevant to business and industry.
- This is the result of a Government reform to Apprenticeships outlined in The Future of Apprenticeships in England: Implementation Plan which is the Government's response to the Richard Review. The reform gives employers the responsibility for standards and assessment.
Who is involved in Trailblazers?
- Employers lead on Trailblazers to ensure the standards they develop are suitable for large and small organisations within their sector. Each Trailblazer group should include a wide range of employers (at least 10) committed to being involved in the development of the apprenticeship standard. Each Trailblazer group is supported by a rep from Business Innovation and Skills.
- Professional bodies are involved to help ensure routes to professional registration in occupations where these are available and can be involved in the development of the standard.
- Training providers are involved so they can contribute ideas from a delivery perspective and also to ensure they are ready to deliver the new apprenticeship standards.
- Awarding or assessment organisations are involved to share their experience of assessment. This is useful for Trailblazers when they are drafting their assessment plans.
- SSCs are involved in some Trailblazers, and many have been assisting with the facilitation of Trailblazer meetings.
How can I get involved in a Trailblazer?
- SQA centres can contact their Regional Manager or e-mail SQA. Potential new centres and employers should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Potential Trailblazers can also contact Business Innovation and Skills directly: email@example.com
What will the new standards look like?
- The new apprenticeship standards will be short (one/two pages) and describe the level of knowledge, skill, and behaviours required to do a particular role well, ie describing full competence for the role. They should be stretching, and require at least 12 months of training to meet the standard. They will include assessment criteria and relevant qualifications.
- All new standards have to relate to a specific role or occupation, and provide a pathway to a career within the sector.
How do Trailblazers work?
- Employers identify the need for a new standard that relates to a role or occupation and will bring together all those who want to be involved. The process for developing the occupational standard and assessment plan can be found in Guidance for Trailblazers
Does taking part involve a big time and resource commitment?
- It can do. Employers taking part in the Trailblazer will be required to attend meetings and develop the standard and assessment plan for an occupation. While a significant commitment is needed from employers, help can be provided by the Trailblazer facilitator.
What do the changes mean for existing Apprenticeship frameworks?
- Existing frameworks continue to be valid and will be able to be used by new apprentices until new replacement standards have been signed off and approved for delivery. However, all new apprenticeship standards need to be developed through the employer-led Trailblazer model. By 2017–18 this model will be standard across all sectors and will progressively replace the existing frameworks.
What are the requirements for English and Maths within new Apprenticeships?
- It is the government’s ambition that by 2020 adults aged 19 and over, and apprentices of all ages studying English and maths, will be working towards the achievement of the new GCSEs, taking stepping-stone qualifications where necessary.
- Functional Skills will continue to be a part of the apprenticeship completion requirements.
- The new standards will include details of the English and Maths requirements, either at the minimum level set by government, or above the minimum level if required by the Trailblazer.