You need to complete and submit a draft occupation proposal, occupational standard or end-point assessment (EPA) plan using apprenticeship builder.

The only exceptions to this are below, where you should submit a ‘word’ version of a document via the relevant submissions portal:

  • revisions to a published occupational standard, except where adding an option or options
  • revisions to a published EPA plan
  • end-point assessment (EPA) plans already drafted before apprenticeship builder became available, with the agreement of your relationship manager (RM)

Your RM must confirm that your draft is ready for consideration before you submit it at each stage. Subject to this, you can submit a draft at any time and we will consider it after the next submissions deadline date.

A route panel, made up of employers, with relevant occupational experience and with support from reviewers, will review your submission and any other evidence, and make a recommendation to the Institute’s Board, which makes the final decision. This ensures all apprenticeship standards are of the highest quality and are in line with employer demand. We will aim to notify you of the decision within six-weeks of the submission deadline date.

An apprenticeship standard is ‘approved for delivery’ once the occupational standard and EPA plan are agreed and the funding band is confirmed. The occupational standard, EPA plan and funding band are published individually, as they are agreed.

1. The approvals process

The approvals process ensures that all approved apprenticeship standards are of the highest quality and are in line with employer demand. This is achieved by ensuring that all apprenticeship standards adhere to our quality statement requirements and by ensuring the approval of apprenticeship standards is employer-led.

Each occupation proposal, occupational standard, EPA plan and funding band is subject to the scrutiny of one of 15 experienced route panels comprising industry experts with relevant knowledge of the route. This occupational perspective is enhanced by advice from independent third parties - peer reviewers, who are also expert in their field. Where Ofqual is your chosen external quality assurance provider, they will also review an EPA plan alongside the Institute. Route panels make recommendations to the Institute’s Board, which takes a strategic view across all the 15 routes and makes the final decision on whether to approve an apprenticeship standard for delivery.

Submission

Your RM must agree your submission is ready for consideration before you submit at any stage. If they have not done this, we will return the submission to you rather than feed it into the approvals process.

If we consider that there is significant work required on your submission or additional evidence is required before it is ready for a route panel to consider, we will provide feedback within two weeks via your RM and ask you to submit it again for a future submissions deadline date.

Online survey

Shortly after the submission deadline date, we will open a survey for each occupation proposal, occupational standard and EPA plan submission, for around a week, and invite comments. We do not publish supporting evidence or funding evidence forms or personal data.

We will advise you when a survey covering a submission from you goes live, and encourage you to promote the survey to generate responses. However, your trailblazer group’s members should not complete it since they will have been involved in the development process.

Your RM will share a summary of the comments with you and you may wish to supply a response.

The relevant route panel will receive a summary of feedback and your response (if applicable).

Peer review

An independent third party may review your occupation proposal, occupational standard and/or EPA plan to provide expert comment, a summary of which will be provided to the route panel. Where Ofqual is your chosen external quality assurance provider, they will also review an EPA plan alongside the Institute.

It is our intention to keep the identity and comments of peer reviewers anonymous, to enable them to provide open and objective feedback. We will use reasonable endeavours to do so, including resisting any requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (where necessary and appropriate).

Route panels and the Institute’s Board 

Your apprenticeship standard will belong to a particular route. Routes are sectoral groupings. There are 15 routes, listed here:  

For each route, we have a route panel made up of employers, from sectors covered by the route. The route panels take a strategic perspective across each route, and apply this in making recommendations on your submission to the Institute’s Board. The Board will make a final decision on your occupation proposal, occupational standard, EPA plan and funding band recommendation. Panels have responsibility for the occupational map for each of the respective routes and will review apprenticeship provision and individual apprenticeship standards.

The panel will review your occupation proposal, occupational standard and/or EPA plan, supporting evidence and any other information, including a summary of survey feedback and your response and peer review comments. In the vast majority of cases, this information should be sufficient for a route panel to make a recommendation. However, route panel chairs have the discretion to invite a trailblazer group chair to a route panel meeting to answer questions about the submission, should the need arise.

We aim to notify you of the outcome within six weeks of the submission deadline. You should contact your RM if you have any enquiries about the progress of your submission. Please do not contact route panel members or members of the Board directly.

Your occupation proposal, occupational standard and/or EPA plan may be ‘agreed’ or ‘agreed with conditions.’ Where ‘agreed with conditions,’ we will give feedback on any changes or additional information that are required. Your RM will support you to address any conditions. Once your agreed occupational standard and/or EPA plan is finalised, it will be published here. An apprenticeship standard page will be added for occupation proposals agreed for development.

Your occupation proposal, occupational standard and/or EPA plan may be ‘agreed’ or ‘agreed with conditions.’ Where ‘agreed with conditions,’ we will give feedback on changes required or additional information needed before the occupational standard or EPA plan can be published; or, in the case of an occupation proposal ‘agreed with conditions’ before a reference to an apprenticeship standard in development can be added to our website. Your RM will support you to address any conditions.

If we are not able to agree your occupation proposal, occupational standard and/or EPA plan, we will give you the reasons for this and your RM will support you with next steps. This may include addressing the feedback and re-submitting it. Re-submissions must be submitted in the same way, using apprenticeship builder. The same approvals process applies to re-submissions.

Once your agreed occupational standard and/or EPA plan is finalised, it will be published here

Your occupational standard and EPA plan must be ‘agreed’ and published, and a final funding band confirmed before it is ‘approved for delivery’ and apprentices can start on the apprenticeship standard.

The same approvals process applies for amendments to published documents. Where you are amending an occupational standard or EPA plan, it will need to meet all current requirements. Where you are making a major amendment (for example seeking to add or remove a qualification or re-draft large sections of the occupational profile or knowledge, skills and behaviours or fundamentally change an assessment method), you will need to consider whether it is appropriate to undertake a consultation to ensure these changes are supported by a wide cross-section of employers.

2. Appeals procedure

In limited circumstances, you may appeal the Institute’s decision. The appeals procedure can be found on the Institute’s website here

Copyright in occupational standards and EPA plan is assigned to the Institute by operation of law. This enables us to publish agreed occupational standards and EPA plans, and funding of the apprenticeship standard.

The assignment of copyright to us does not change the fact that you have led the design of the apprenticeship standard.

Occupational standards and EPA plans are covered by the Open Government Licence, which enables you to use and publicise them freely.

4. Trailblazer groups and apprenticeship standard reference numbers

Trailblazer groups and apprenticeship standards are assigned a unique reference number, we will advise you of these.

The apprenticeship standard reference number, along with a version number, is detailed on the published occupational standard and the related EPA plan.