Introduction

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) ran our 2020 Stakeholder Survey between 11 November and 14 December 2020.

The aim was to gather a broad spread of views on our performance during a year of great progress with apprenticeships, T Levels, and Higher Technical Qualifications and challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We would like to thank everyone who took the time to respond.

Responses

We promoted the online survey through:

  • Newsletter groups - 3,050 recipients
  • Social media 
  • Twitter – over 5,600 followers 
  • LinkedIn – over 16,000 followers 
  • Direct email contact 
  • Stakeholder updates: Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), Association of Colleges (AoC), Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB), and the Apprentice Ambassador Network.

There were 243 responses in total.

Findings 

The survey was framed around three Institute values: collaborative, authoritative, and efficient. 

It asked, “to what extent would you agree or disagree that the Institute embodies the following values?”.

Collaborative was then defined as: “Building outstanding working relationships internally and with all our stakeholders so we can work in partnership to realise our vision for world-leading apprenticeships and technical education system.” 

Authoritative was defined as: “Building on our unique access to evidence and insight from employers, apprentices, and the education and training sector, to generate ideas, influence thinking and make a positive impact on the development of the apprenticeship and technical education system.” 

Efficient was defined as: “Running simple, transparent and efficient systems that help employers set and maintain high-quality, cost-effective apprenticeship standards and technical education qualifications so every employer, apprentice, and student gets the skills they need to succeed.” 

All 243 respondents answered these questions. Figure 1 shows that when asked if the Institute embodies the values of being “collaborative”, “authoritative” and “efficient”, there were more positive than negative respondents. 

The collaborative question has the most positive results with 62.6% of respondents positive, 21.4% neutral, and 16.0% negative. Responses about the authoritative value were similar with 58.0% positive and 14.4% negative. The results for efficiency were more mixed, with less positive responses (42.8%) and more negative responses (27.6%), but still positive overall. 

Figure 1: Responses for: “To what extent would you agree or disagree that the Institute embodies the following values?” 

Collaborative

  • 14% strongly agree, 49% agree, 21% neither agree nor disagree, 12% disagree, 4% strongly disagree.

Authoritative

  • 13% strongly agree, 45% agree, 28% neither agree nor disagree, 11% disagree, 3% strongly disagree.

Efficient

  • 9% strongly agree, 34% agree, 30% neither agree nor disagree, 20% disagree, 7% strongly disagree.

Source tables: s1, q10, q11, q12 

Respondents answered whether: “The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education enables employers to develop high-quality cost-effective apprenticeship standards and technical qualifications, so every employer and individual get the skills they need to succeed.” 

All 243 respondents answered this question, with 63.4% being positive. A further 20.6% neither agreed nor disagreed with the statement and 16.0% were negative. Table 1 shows the full breakdown of responses. 

Table 1: Responses to “The Institute enables employers to develop high-quality cost-effective apprenticeship standards and technical qualifications so every employer and individual get the skills they need to succeed.” 

Response 

Percentage of respondents 

Number of respondents 

Strongly agree 

16.1% 

39 

Agree 

47.3% 

115 

Neither agree or disagree 

20.6% 

50 

Disagree 

12.8% 

31 

Strongly disagree 

3.3% 

Total 

100% 

243 

Source tables: s1, q1 

Most remaining questions went on to explore the three values in more detail. The following sections look at the questions asked for each value. 

Collaborative 

Respondents were asked to give an overall view of how they rate their working relationship with the Institute. 

Those who said they “don’t know” are not included when calculating the percentages for the following questions. This leaves 232 respondents for this question. Table 2 shows 55.6% said they were very satisfied or satisfied. A smaller percentage (11.2%) were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. 

Table 2: Responses to “How would you rate your working relationship with the Institute?”. Excludes 11 respondents who said they do not know. 

Response 

Percentage of respondents 

Number of respondents 

Very satisfied 

13.8% 

32 

Satisfied 

41.8% 

97 

Neither satisfied or dissatisfied 

33.2% 

77 

Dissatisfied 

7.8% 

18 

Strongly dissatisfied 

3.5% 

Total 

100% 

232 

Source table: q18 

Further questions explored whether respondents felt satisfied that the Institute acts, understands and listens to their views. There were 230 responses for “acts on your views” and 233 responses each for “understands your views” and “listens to your views”. 

Figure 2 shows that for all these questions, there were more positive than negative responses. Respondents were most positive about the Institute listening to their views (54.9%), followed by understanding their views (48.5%) and acting on their views (38%).

Figure 2:  Responses to “Overall, to what extent are you satisfied that the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education [response option]”. This excludes respondents who said they do not know. 

Listen to your views (233 responses)

  • 16% strongly agree, 39% agree, 28% neither agree nor disagree, 11% disagree, 6% strongly disagree.

Understand your views (233 responses)

  • 10% strongly agree, 39% agree, 31% neither agree nor disagree, 13% disagree, 7% strongly disagree.

Acts on your views (230 responses)

  • 7% strongly agree, 31% agree, 36% neither agree nor disagree, 18% disagree, 7% strongly disagree.

Source tables: s2, q15, q16, q17 

 

Respondents were also asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed with a set of statements about the Institute. 

Figure 3 shows the most positive result in this set of questions was for receiving a prompt response when contacting the Institute (66.4% agreed or strongly agreed, with only 11% disagreeing or strongly disagreeing). Over 50% of respondents also agreed or strongly agreed they receive what they needed (53.2%) and receive consistent advice (54.1%). In all cases, there were at least twice as many positive than negative responses. 

Figure 3: Responses to “To what extent would you agree or disagree with the following statements about the Institute” 

The Institute communicates effectively with its stakeholders (235 responses)

  • 8% strongly agree, 40% agree, 30% neither agree nor disagree, 17% disagree, 4% strongly disagree.

When I contact the Institute I receive what I need (216 responses)

  • 10% strongly agree, 44% agree, 29% neither agree nor disagree, 13% disagree, 3% strongly disagree.

The advice I receive from the Institute is consistent.

  • 10% strongly agree, 45% agree, 29% neither agree nor disagree, 14% disagree, 3% strongly disagree.

When I contact the Institute I receive a prompt response

  • 16% strongly agree, 51% agree, 22% neither agree nor disagree, 7% disagree, 4% strongly disagree.

Source tables: s1, q19, q20, q21, q22 

Respondents were also asked: “From your interactions with the Institute to date, which of the following words/phrases would you use to describe the Institute as an organisation?” They were able to select as many words as they wanted out of a list of 20. This exact question was also asked of stakeholders in 2019, allowing comparison between the two sets of responses. 

They were later asked a similar question framed around the pandemic: “COVID-19 has posed significant disruption to the skills landscape. Which of the following words would you use to describe the Institute’s response since the national lockdown in March.” 

Table 4 shows the most selected phrase about the Institute, in general, was “still developing” with 61.3% of respondents choosing this. This was followed by “professional” at 53.1%, “collaborative” at 37.0%, and “credible” at 35.8%. 

Comparing with 2019 responses, we see increased use of positive words including “professional”, “collaborative”, “credible”, “accessible”, “ambitious”, and “transparent”, as well as a decreased selection of negative words such as “frustrating”, “slow”, “inconsistent”, “confused” and “ineffective”.  

The words “effective” and “ineffective” were chosen by 12% and 9.9% respectively. Elsewhere in the survey, 52% of respondents agreed with the statement that “the Institute effectively charges its role as an employer-led body” with only 18% disagreeing. 

“Professional” was the most chosen word for the COVID-19 question (37.9%), followed by “effective” (32.9%), “credible” (32.9%), and “reassuring” (29.2%). 

Table 4: Responses to the general question: “From your interactions with the Institute to date, which of the following words/phrases would you use to describe the Institute as an organisation?” and the COVID-19 question: “Which of the following words would you use to describe the Institute’s response since the national lockdown in March.” 

Response 

Percentage of respondents to general question in 2020 

Number of respondents to general question 

Percentage of respondents in 2019 

Percentage of respondents to Covid-19 question 

Number of respondents to Covid-19 question 

Still developing 

61.3% 

149 

59.9% 

N/A 

N/A 

Professional 

53.1% 

129 

45.2% 

37.9% 

92 

Collaborative 

37.0% 

90 

31.4% 

28.0% 

68 

Credible 

35.8% 

87 

32.1% 

32.9% 

80 

Process-heavy 

31.3% 

76 

N/A 

10.7% 

26 

Bureaucratic 

30.5% 

74 

N/A 

8.2% 

20 

Frustrating 

30.0% 

73 

34.9% 

14.4% 

35 

Accessible 

29.6% 

72 

27.6% 

21.0% 

51 

Slow 

26.3% 

64 

34.6% 

17.3% 

42 

Inconsistent 

24.7% 

60 

34.6% 

9.1% 

22 

Authoritative 

24.3% 

59 

25.0% 

11.9% 

29 

Ambitious 

20.6% 

50 

16.0% 

6.6% 

16 

Evidence based 

16.0% 

39 

15.4% 

12.8% 

31 

Trusted 

14.4% 

35 

17.6% 

13.2% 

32 

Inclusive 

13.2% 

32 

14.1% 

16.0% 

39 

Confused 

12.8% 

31 

17.0% 

7.0% 

17 

Effective 

12.3% 

30 

24.0% 

32.9% 

80 

Transparent 

10.3% 

25 

7.4% 

8.2% 

20 

Ineffective 

9.9% 

24 

10.6% 

8.6% 

21 

Independent 

9.9% 

24 

11.5% 

4.5% 

11 

Reassuring 

N/A 

N/A 

 

29.2% 

71 

Secretive 

N/A 

N/A 

 

6.6% 

16 

Source tables: q14, q23 

N/A indicates where the word was not an option for that question 

Authoritative 

Questions under the ‘Authoritative’ value explored detail around some of the Institute’s key roles. 

Table 5 shows the most positive response was for “publishing approved apprenticeship standards” where 77.0% of respondents were positive and only 5.7% negative. 

Of the 12 functions covered under this section, all had more positive than negative responses and all but two had at least twice as many positive than negative responses.

The least positive response was in relation to the Institute “recommending a maximum amount of government funding for each standard that can be drawn down by employers”. Of the 215 responses, 33.0% were positive, 38.6% neutral and 28.4% negative.

“Making sound decisions on an empirical or data-driven basis” also received a mixed response, with 37.4% positive, 42.0% neutral, and 20.7% negative. 

Table 5: Responses to “How do you think the Institute performs on the following functions?”. Ordered by the proportion of respondents answering well or very well (positive). 

Function 

Positive 

Neutral 

Negative 

Respondents 

Publishing approved apprenticeship standards 

77.0% 

 

17.4% 

 

5.7% 

230 

Supporting the development of occupational standards by Trailblazers 

59.8% 

21.1% 

19.1% 

209 

Developing and maintaining quality criteria for the approval of apprenticeship standards and assessment plans 

56.1% 

29.4% 

14.5% 

221 

Managing the procurement process for T Levels in a fair and transparent manner 

56.0% 

29.7% 

14.3% 

91 

Managing pre-procurement activity for T Levels including engaging with stakeholders on upcoming opportunities for bidding for T Levels 

53.6% 

29.9% 

16.5% 

97 

Supporting the development of assessment plans by Trailblazers 

51.7% 

26.6% 

21.7% 

207 

Delivering external quality assurance where the Institute is identified as the EQA provider 

49.6% 

31.4% 

19.0% 

137 

Ensuring that quality of technical qualification for T Levels is maintained through delivery with education providers 

48.4% 

38.9% 

12.6% 

95 

Overseeing external quality assurance provided by other organisations e.g. Professional Bodies and employer led organisations 

46.9% 

29.7% 

23.4% 

145 

Developing technical qualifications that reflect the needs of employers and providers 

44.9% 

34.6% 

20.5% 

156 

Making sound decisions on an empirical or data driven basis 

37.4% 

42.0% 

20.7% 

174 

Recommending a maximum amount of government funding for each standard that can be drawn down by employers? 

33.0% 

38.6% 

28.4% 

215 

Source tables: s3, q25, q26, q27, q28, q29, q30, q31, q32, q33, q34, q35, q36 

Efficient 

Under the efficient value, respondents were asked to what extent they agree or disagree with the following statements about the Institute: 

  • The Institute effectively discharges its role as an employer led public body 
  • The Institute has had a positive impact on technical education since it came into being in April 2017 
  • The Institute is a good partner for matters affecting my organisation 
  • I would speak highly of the Institute if asked by other people or organisations 

Figure 4 shows that the results are fairly consistent across these four statements, with around half of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing, around a third neutral, and between 13 and 18% disagreeing.

Figure 4: Responses to “To what extent they agree or disagree with the following statements about the Institute?” 

The Institute effectively discharges its role as an employer-led public body,

  • 9% strongly agree, 43% agree, 29% neither agree nor disagree, 14% disagree, 4% strongly disagree.

The Institute has had a positive impact on the Technical Education landscape since it came into being in April 2017.

  • 16% strongly agree, 35% agree, 36% neither agree nor disagree, 9% disagree, 4% strongly disagree.

The Institute is a good partner for matters affecting my organisation.

  • 10% strongly agree, 39% agree, 36% neither agree nor disagree, 10% disagree, 5% strongly disagree.

I would speak highly of the Institute if asked by other people or organisations.

  • 15% strongly agree, 34% agree, 34% neither agree nor disagree, 13% disagree, 4% strongly disagree.

Representation

Findings from the survey are unweighted and should be treated with caution when used to assess the views of all stakeholders. Each response has the same weight regardless of how often they are in contact with the Institute. 

COVID-19 will have affected whether people are able or willing to respond. 

Some respondent groups answered more than others. This could impact how representative results are. For example:

  • Regional response rates: 24.7% of responses were from organisations in London, 17.7% from the South East, and 12.3% from the West Midlands. (Source table: q4) 
  • Basis for interacting with the Institute: 89.3% contact the Institute about apprenticeships, 35.4% about T levels, and 11.5% about Higher Technical Qualifications. (Source table: q5) 
  • Frequency of contact: 3.3% contact the Institute daily, 17.3% weekly, 40.7% monthly, 26.7% quarterly, and 11.9% annually. (Source table: q7) 
  • Route for Trailblazers and T Level panel member-specific questions: 36.5% work with the engineering and manufacturing route, 10.8% construction, and 10.8% health and science. No respondents selected the care services route and protective services route. (Source table q42) 

Despite the potential for some groups being over-represented, the results provide a useful view into the experience of the 243 respondents.

Next steps 

The survey findings are being used by the Institute to inform our stakeholder engagement and further improve how we work with employers and other partners.

Supporting tables 

Download supporting tables

Get in touch 

Please direct any questions and queries to the policy analysis team at DataScience.IFA@education.gov.uk