A trailblazer group meeting in an office location

Joining an IfATE Trailblazer group

We’re looking for employers with the expertise, insight and passion to ensure skills training meets the needs of their sectors.

Trailblazer groups bring together employers with a shared interest in skills training. Each group focuses on a specific occupational role employers need in their business. Group members work together to identify the knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) that make someone competent in the role. These KSBs form the basis of an occupational standard – a key component of an apprenticeship. 

Trailblazer groups remain active after an apprenticeship has been approved for delivery. This enables them to make changes to the occupational standard if needed, so it remains relevant to future employer needs.


“Being a trailblazer group chair has been a fantastic opportunity to help shape the future direction of apprenticeships and ensure their ongoing industry relevance from an employer point of view. It has provided new ways to keep up with what’s going on in the industry, linked me with lots of new contacts and supported my own development. Overall, it has been really rewarding.”

Tracey Horan, Learning Partner, Early Careers and Apprenticeships, KION Industrial Trucks & Services UK & Ireland

Read more about the work of trailblazer groups.


Benefits of working with IfATE

Shape and influence

  • shape the skills landscape for your sector
  • influence skills training and policy across the country
  • influence and source solutions to real-world problems in skills

Design and assure

  • influence and impact continuous improvement of skills training products
  • influence and design training provision that meets your needs

Network and grow

  • be recognised as a skills expert within your sector


Current opportunities – APPLY NOW!

We need employers to join trailblazer groups in four of our occupational routes, both as members and as group chairs.

The trailblazer groups are being convened to review existing occupational standards for apprenticeships in those routes. The aim is to ensure they continue to meet employer needs.

The routes and occupational standards are:

Business and administration route


Construction route (Interior systems installer)

  • Drylining systems
  • Ceiling and partitioning systems


Digital route


Sales, marketing and procurement route


Legal, finance and accounting route

Care services route


Each of the occupational standards will have a dedicated trailblazer group. Group members will be employers with expert knowledge of the sector and occupational role. They’ll represent the range of organisations that use apprenticeships to train and upskill their employees. 


Trailblazer membership criteria and terms

What we’re looking for

  • an employer who employs their own workforce or an employee working in an operational capacity in their sector
  • an employer who recruits apprentices or uses apprenticeships to skills train existing employees
  • track-record of professional achievement and success
  • knowledge and experience of the day-to-day realties of working in their sector and the requirements of the occupational role
  • keen appreciation of current and future sector skills needs
  • credibility to influence and make judgements about the quality of skills training
  • passion for driving real change and making a difference
  • understanding of and commitment to the principles of equality, diversity, and inclusion

Time commitment

  • meetings every four weeks for one to two hours – or as determined by the trailblazer group
  • most meetings held remotely, with face-to-face if required by the trailblazer group
  • opportunities to take part in IfATE events and contribute to wider government policy



  • voluntary role
  • members are not paid a fee 

Length of appointment

  • as a minimum, for the duration of the development or revision of an occupational standard (this could be between nine to 18 months)


How to apply 

If you’re thinking of applying, but have some questions, we’d be happy to arrange an informal chat. Email us using the email addresses below.

For the business and administration route, email: businessandadministration.IFATE@education.gov.uk

For the construction route, email: Construction.transport@education.gov.uk

For the digital route, email: digitalroute.ifate@education.gov.uk

For the sales, marketing and procurement route, email: SalesMarketingProcure.IFATE@education.gov.uk

For the legal, finance and accounting route, email: LegalFinanceAccounting.IFATE@education.gov.uk

For the care services route, email: ifa.chair@education.gov.uk

Ready to apply now? Send an expression of interest to the relevant email address, including:

  • the occupational standard(s) you’re interested in
  • details of your current employer and a brief description of your role and experience
  • your reasons for applying to join the trailblazer group

Future opportunities

We update this page regularly to show current gaps in trailblazer group membership. But you can express an interest anytime if you’d like to be considered for employer roles that may come up in the future.

If you have a general enquiry or are interested in working on occupational standards in other routes, contact: ifa.chair@education.gov.uk 


Other ways employers can get involved in IfATE’s work


Published 24 January 2024
Last updated 11 Apr 2024
(SK, NS)