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Let’s start at the beginning. What is an apprenticeship standard?

An apprenticeship standard details how an apprenticeship programme is assessed and 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 can either be delivered as a Framework or a Standard – which one depends on each individual apprenticeship programme. The main differences between these types of apprenticeships are the way they are designed, delivered, assessed and graded. As a learner you are unlikely to notice the difference between the two, and both types are fully recognised by industry.

Why apprenticeship standards?

Under the apprenticeship reforms set out by the government in 2012, apprenticeship standards will replace all previous frameworks for apprenticeships. This is being done to raise the quality of apprenticeship programmes, with an aim to replace all apprenticeship frameworks by 2020.

Unlike Frameworks which are developed by sector bodies, Standards are developed and approved by employer groups, who know what they want from their employees. This means that the standards are related to the needs of the employer, who knows 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

This determines which level you’re currently working at which enables 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%). You will be 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 to ensure you are ready for the End-point Assessment. This sign-off is the ‘gateway’ which may include completion of qualifications, interviews and a portfolio of work. Once an apprentice is signed off, it means the employer and provider 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 industry standards are met – 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 and they can include tests, a project, employer references and an interview with the independent Assessor.

  1. Completion and certification

Once the End-point Assessment has been successfully completed, apprentices will receive certification and are now qualified in their sector area. Depending on the Level and experience, at this stage you may want to complete a higher-level apprenticeship and specialise within the industry allowing further progression in your chosen career pathway.

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