Overview of the process for developing apprenticeship standards

1. Proposing a Standard 

​People who are new to the process will be able to draw on the knowledge and experience of an Institute relationship manager as they develop their apprenticeship. He or she will be able to help with issues not covered on this website or via the trailblazer guide, or anything which is unclear, as well as acting as a general adviser throughout the process. If you’re not yet involved in a trailblazer, but have queries now, please contact: apprenticeship.trailblazers@education.gov.uk

It is important at the outset to check for pre-existing standards or those currently in development, that a new proposal may replicate, and to speak to the relevant trailblazer groups to confirm that a proposal is distinct.

Once confirmed that a standard is unique and there is an identified industry need, a trailblazer group should come together so that the members can clearly define and describe what the new standard should include, in the proposal.

In the first instance an employer member should be chosen to act as Chair and other employer members can be appointed as co-chairs of the group.

Other organisations with an interest in the proposed standard, such as sector or trade bodies, professional bodies, training providers, industry training boards or potential assessment organisations can also be invited to join the group. Whilst these other members can’t take on the role of group leader, they should be actively encouraged to provide their support and to contribute to the development of the apprenticeship standard.

A trailblazer group may also find that other employers or groups are interested in developing standards for the same or similar occupations. Wherever possible, groups should work inclusively and collaboratively together. Trailblazer groups should also be open to approaches from employers in other sectors who think the group’s standard is potentially useful for them too.

For further details of proposal criteria including defining qualification level of proposed standard and route, read the Guide for trailblazers.

Online proposal submission forms can be accessed here.

Deadline for proposal submissions is the last Wednesday of each month. Further details can be found on our submissions page.

Shortly after submission deadlines for new proposals, details will be posted online for a short period to allow any interested parties to comment and provide further evidence of support/demand for the proposed standard.

2. Developing a Standard

The main steps for developing a new apprenticeship standard are clearly defined to ensure that they are easy to follow and are focused on employer centric, industry applicable needs.

 An overview of the process is as follows:

  • Define the occupation
  • Clearly describe the knowledge, skills and behaviours that will be required for full competence
  • Clearly define details of the level of the apprenticeship and be sufficiently stretching so that it will require at least a year of training (before the end-point assessment) with off-the-job training accounting for at least 20% of the apprenticeship
  • Ensure standard aligns with the registration requirements of relevant Professional Bodies
  • Must contain minimum English and Maths requirements
  • Only include mandatory qualifications under certain circumstances and ensure they are organisation neutral

 Further details including a checklist for submissions, deadlines and forms can be found in the Guide for trailblazers.

3. Developing an Assessment Plan

Rigorous and robust end-point assessment (EPA) is essential to give employers confidence that apprentices completing an apprenticeship have achieved the occupational competence set out in the standard.

An EPA plan should clearly describe the approach for an apprenticeship standard.

It should also explain the requirements for the EPA, so it can be consistently interpreted by assessment organisations.

An EPA approach and plan should also comply with current policy and will need to be approved by the Institute, before the apprenticeship standard can be approved for delivery.

Assessment organisations must be approved to offer services against a particular standard; approved organisations are listed on the Register of Apprentice Assessment Organisations

4. Allocating Funding Bands

We will allocate each apprenticeship standard to one of the 30 funding bands already set by the Department for Education.

Each funding band has an upper limit, which sets the maximum amount of Government funding that employers can use for the training and assessment of an apprentice.

We work to make recommendations to the Department for Education on the funding band allocation of each apprenticeship standard.

We will allocate an initial funding band at the same time we agree an occupational proposal. We will then make a final funding band recommendation alongside agreement of the assessment plan. Trailblazer groups will able to provide evidence of delivery costs at this stage, which we’ll consider alongside other information.    

If a trailblazer group chooses to submit a funding evidence form, the information submitted is reviewed against the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s funding rules to ensure that only eligible costs are included as part of the final funding band recommendation process.

For further details on the Institute funding process go to the ‘allocating a funding band page’.