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Understanding apprenticeship standards, let’s start at the beginning.
What is an apprenticeship standard?

In brief, apprenticeship standards detail how apprenticeship programmes are assessed. It contains a list of the skills, knowledge and behaviours an apprentice will need to have learned by the end of their apprenticeship.

Currently, apprenticeship programmes are delivered as a Framework or a Standard. However, which one depends on each individual apprenticeship programme. Notably, the main differences between the types of apprenticeships are design, delivery, assessment and grading. As a learner you are unlikely to notice the difference between the two. Both types are fully recognised by industry.

Why apprenticeship standards?

Under the apprenticeship reforms set out by the government in 2012, apprenticeship standards are replacing all previous frameworks for apprenticeships. Therefore, this is raising the quality of apprenticeship programmes. As a result, aiming to replace all apprenticeship frameworks by 2020.

However, unlike sector bodies developing Frameworks. Employed groups are developing and approving Standards. Who, ultimately, know what they want from their employees. This means that the standards are related to the needs of the employer. They know exactly what skills an apprentice will need to be capable of and qualified in for that industry.

Standards span all levels from Level 2 to Level 7 across multiple sectors. Including Agriculture, environmental and animal care and Transport and logistics. There is a route to suit everyone.

The content of each apprenticeship standard is individual to the sector. However, there are several key stages that form the structure of these apprenticeships.

These are:

  1. Initial assessment

Overall, this determines which level you’re currently working at. Therefore, enabling an appropriate match to a suitable apprenticeship.

  1. On-programme phase

This phase of an Apprenticeship includes on-the-job training and off-the-job training (20%). Supported remotely by an e-portfolio, combined with workplace visits. Where your Vocational Assessor can observe and reinforce learning in a realistic setting.

  1. Gateway

Your Vocational Assessor along with your employer will complete the ‘sign-off’ process. Thus, ensuring you are ready for the End-point Assessment. Hence, this sign-off is the ‘gateway’ which may include completion of qualifications, interviews and a portfolio of work. Upon apprentice sign off, employers and providers believe their knowledge, skills and behaviours are the level required to attain an Apprenticeship.

  1. End-point Assessment

Once the apprentice has passed the gateway stage, apprentices need to complete an End-point Assessment. This is the final assessment to ensure that they meet industry standards. Can the apprentice do the job they have been training for? An independent Assessor ensures that marking is impartial and fair.

Each Standard has different requirements for End-point Assessment. Hence, they can include tests, a project, employer references and an interview with the independent Assessor.

  1. Completion and certification

Thereupon, successful completion of End-point Assessment, apprentices receive certification and are qualified in their sector area. Therefore, depending on the Level and experience, at this stage you may want to complete a higher-level apprenticeship. In particular, specialising within the industry allowing further progression in your chosen career pathway.

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