IfATE is implementing a new and improved policy for how mandatory qualifications will work with apprenticeships.

Many existing apprenticeships include the requirement to study and achieve particular qualifications. These are typically referred to as ‘mandatory qualifications’.

This arrangement can be good for apprentices - supporting them to achieve occupational licences and other certifications that businesses consider important.

But IfATE recognised there was room for improvement in how these mandatory qualifications are used within apprenticeships and launched a public consultation last December on our plans. The responses showed broad support so we are unveiling the new policy from today.

Sam Callear, IfATE deputy director for policy and new concepts, said: “Overall responses to the consultation were incredibly positive, so I’m delighted we are now pushing ahead with making sure mandatory qualifications work better with all apprenticeships.
“The key idea is to make sure they are in line with what employers say are needed and necessary; because an apprentice would struggle to get a job or progress, after finishing the apprenticeship, without them. There will also be an increased focus on ensuring qualifications line up with the apprenticeship’s training requirements and end point assessment (EPA). It will all amount to an important step forward for how well apprenticeships work for everyone.”

IfATE’s consultation had 24 questions and generated nearly 330 written responses through both the survey platform and via the consultation inbox.

We also gathered the views of 185 webinar attendees who were employers, trailblazers, awarding organisations, education and training providers, end-point assessment organisations (EPAOs), and our apprentice panel.

Under the new system, IfATE will work with employers and awarding bodies to:

  • Ensure qualifications match up to employer-defined knowledge, skills and behaviours that apprentices must learn to prove they can do the job.
  • Integrate professional qualification tests and EPA where possible. Some apprentices currently drop out after getting their professional qualification, before sitting their EPA, which means they never complete their apprenticeship. IfATE wants to put a stop that.