Apprenticeships: it’s your choice
The apprenticeship reforms that have been introduced in recent years, and the corresponding newly developing apprenticeship system, means there has never been more choice for employers looking at using the apprenticeship route.
If you are considering recruiting one or more apprentices to fulfil key occupations in your organisation, the first thing you need to do is choose the most relevant, approved Apprenticeship Standard/s.
This is the first key step to take, when it comes to bringing new talent into the organisation and building a skills pipeline for the future.
By asking, “what job role am I looking to fill, what knowledge, skills and behaviours will be needed and what is the best training method to achieve this?” you can ensure that your occupational end-goal, or “landing role” for the apprentice, is clearly in sight, from the very beginning.
In the STEM-based industries employers can now choose from a range of fantastic Standards at different levels, and it’s important to select the one/s that best fit your organisation’s skills needs. There is a list of approved Standards on the Institute for Apprenticeships website.
And all of these Standards will have been designed by a Trailblazer – a group of employers representing key sectors. For the science-based sector, this is the Life Sciences & Industrial Sciences Trailblazer. The Group has developed apprenticeship Standards which address the key skills needed in the sector and which offer an apprentice pathway through to honours degree level.
A key output of the Trailblazer is a Work-based Learning Guide for each Standard, which is the basis for the apprentice’s training plan and the Assessment Plan, which sets out how to assess the skills, knowledge and behaviours described in the guide.
By using the right Apprenticeship Standard for your company’s skills needs, you can plan the apprentice’s training and educational journey from the outset.
You are also able to choose how you want them to be assessed at the end, this is to ensure the apprentice meets the Standard set by employers and is fully competent in the occupation. End-point Assessment (EPA) is taken by apprentices at the very end of the “on-programme” phase of training when you are satisfied they have met the “gateway” criteria to undertake the assessment. However, planning for the EPA should take place at the start of the programme too.
Starting with the end in mind will help you make the right choice about how people are trained. This means developing apprentices so that they achieve the specific skills required by your company. So once they have completed their course and passed EPA they will be a fully competent and productive member of the team.
There are now two registers – one that allows you to select your training provider partner, this is a list (RoATP) of organisations that are approved to deliver apprenticeship training for employers using the Government’s apprenticeship service. The apprenticeship service allows you to search for apprenticeship training by job role and find training providers who offer the Standards you choose.
The other Register (RoEPAO) is for end-point assessment organisations, this lists those independent organisations, including SIAS, that can deliver the end-point assessment of each apprentice so that all apprentices following the same Standard are assessed consistently.
Only these organisations are eligible to undertake independent end-point assessment of apprentices. Your company and your training provider will be involved in preparing the apprentice for end-point assessment, but it is only this independent organisation, listed on the register, that is able to deliver the EPA.
Employers of apprentices can now instruct their provider to work with the independent end-point assessment organisation that they have chosen.
A clear message is that employers need no longer accept what they are given when it comes to apprenticeship training and assessment – the new system has choice built in from the outset.
Employers who are using a number of the new STEM apprenticeship Standards can now request a SIAS Service Offer Pack, which means they, along with their provider, can get the ball rolling with us. The pack explains our services and how we can help to build in preparation for end-point assessment from the outset.
Once we receive a request for service from your provider, we will work with you and your provider so that you can plan the journey that delivers the successful outcome that will prepare your learners for the job you want them to do in your company.
In the meantime, if you would like to understand more about the end-point assessment, we’d be delighted to have a chat – or send us an email if you prefer.
Tel: 01925 515 211