For Apprenticeships to offer great opportunities for people of all ages, they must be of the highest quality.
High quality will mean that those undertaking apprenticeships have confidence that the skills they are learning will help them succeed, progress and thrive. And it means that employers will see the bottom line return of a workforce with the right knowledge, skills and behaviours.
To achieve this, we need a quality statement and strategy that all our partners can agree and work with. One that inspires all of us at IfATE, and across the wider apprenticeship landscape, to strive for excellence.
We have consulted widely with our partners, employers and stakeholders to get their views and understand what quality really means to them. We are now well placed to provide this statement – a clear definition of what a quality apprenticeship looks like.
We will use this statement as the core reference point for our work on apprenticeships. Employers, colleges, providers and universities will be crystal clear on what we mean when we talk about quality and will consider this when designing and defining the quality criteria of their own apprenticeships.
We will also use the statement as the basis for our Quality Strategy, which we will develop with employers, our apprentice panel and our stakeholders.
For IfATE to succeed in its aims we must be judged by the highest standards. Only then will apprenticeships be viewed as a crucial way to provide high-quality skills training.
As the champion of quality, IfATE seeks to enshrine this at the heart of everything it does. Our board has collaborated and consulted widely on this statement to produce the document you are reading now. I would like to thank the many employers and other organisations who responded to our consultation. Your clear support for all of the main terms and the positive suggestions you gave us put us in a very strong position to pursue the agenda set out in this Quality Statement.
We want this statement to give every employer and learner the confidence that apprenticeships are rigorous, high-quality and challenging.
A statement that ensures everyone – colleges, employers, learners – knows what quality looks like and where excellence can thrive.
Jennifer Coupland, Chief Executive
An apprenticeship is a job with training to industry standards. It should be about entry to a recognised occupation, involve a substantial programme of on and off-the-job training and the apprentice’s occupational competence should be tested by an independent, end point assessment. Apprenticeships are employer-led: employers set the standards, create the demand for apprentices to meet their skills needs, fund the apprenticeship and are responsible for employing and training the apprentice. But the needs of the apprentice are equally important: to achieve competence in a skilled occupation, which is transferable and secures long term earnings potential, greater security and the capability to progress in the workplace.
Not all training is an apprenticeship. Work experience alone, shorter duration training for a job, attending a course, or assessing and certificating an employee who is already working in the occupation, are all positive forms of learning and accreditation at work but they are not apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships are built upon:
We will use this Quality Statement as a reference point for our work on apprenticeships and we expect employers, colleges, providers and universities to use it when considering the design and quality of their own apprenticeships.
The statements under the headings in paragraph 3 will be embedded in different ways. Some: those under “The Occupation and Standard” and “End-point Assessment and Certification” require direct action by IfATE. Those under “An Agreed Partnership” and “The Job” require contractual compliance. Some lend themselves to use of indicators.
We have identified a set of key indicators that will enable us to measure the extent to which Apprenticeships meet the skills needs of employers and apprentices and the quality and outcomes of training for apprentices.
Apprenticeships will meet the skills needs of employers and apprentices by reflecting the range of occupations and skill levels in our diverse economy.
We will measure this by:
Apprenticeships will deliver high quality training and outcomes for apprentices in terms of quality and achievement.
We will measure this by:
We will calculate a baseline for these indicators, gather data regularly over a period and determine any action needed. Once the indicators have bedded down, we will then consider whether we should set any associated targets.
We intend to gather feedback from employers and apprentices using the existing employer and learner surveys operated by the DfE. We aim to develop both of these surveys to include feedback on meeting skills needs, occupations/standards, job roles, training programmes and end-point assessment. We will work also with the Apprenticeship Service to develop a new on-line approach to employer feedback.
IfATE operates an Apprentices Panel and we see this and its wider network of apprentices as an important sounding board for all quality matters.
Two options are available for trailblazers for external quality assurance of end-point assessment: 1. Ofqual or 2. OfS for integrated higher and degree apprenticeships.