Trailblazers are groups of employers that come together as the creators and early adopters of new apprenticeship standards. Focused on the specific knowledge, skills and behaviours  for their sector, they work together, supported and guided by the Institute, to develop new programmes of learning that will directly impact their workforce.

Employers can join an existing trailblazer group if one already exists within their specific sector, or a new one can be formed to create a new standard.

Trailblazer groups must meet certain criteria prior to submitting a proposal for a new apprenticeship standard. The criteria is as follows:

  • The trailblazer membership covers a wide range of employers – at least 10. Professional bodies and trade associations can also be members, but do not count towards the total of employers.
  • The members must be committed to getting actively involved in the development of an apprenticeship standard, and should intend to use it themselves when it is ready.
  • Membership of the group should reflect the type of organisations that employ people in this occupation. This should include size – a group should normally include at least 2 employers with fewer than 50 employees – geographical spread and sector.
  • Trailblazer groups should be open to new members, and prepared to consider carefully how the standards they’re working on relate to the needs of other sectors.

A trailblazer group isn’t allowed to set a charge for admission or fee for membership.

Once the trailblazer group has come together, an employer member should be chosen to act as Chair. This cannot be someone from a trade body or other representative organisation but must be from an employer. If the group wishes to have co-chairs, this is acceptable, but they must be employers.

Further details of trailblazer groups and how to get involved in an existing group or create a new group can be found in our Guide for trailblazers.