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Apprenticeships: What are Apprenticeship Standards?

CMS Vocational Training Hadyn Luke posted this on Wednesday 3rd of May 2017 Hadyn Luke 03/05/2017


Apprenticeships: What are Apprenticeship Standards?

This week we’re looking at Apprenticeship Standards, which from April 2017 will start to replace the Specifications for Apprenticeship Standards in England (SASE) Frameworks.

From accountancy, business and warehousing to retail, customer service and personal training, apprenticeships exist in many different sectors.

What are the key changes in the Apprenticeship Reforms?

First, the 250 Specifications for Apprenticeship Standards in England (SASE) Frameworks will be replaced by around 600 to 800 new Apprenticeship Standards.

This will be a gradual process – as a new Standard is established, the old Framework will be phased out. It’s expected that all Frameworks will be replaced by 2020.

There will be a series of new Trailblazer apprenticeships, which will require at least one year’s study and will be designed by Trailblazer business groups from the relevant occupation.

Like the SASE Frameworks, the Trailblazer Apprenticeships will begin with an assessment and will comprise both on- and off-the-job training, ending with completion and certification. However, the new Apprenticeship Standards will be tailored to each individual profession, instead of being multi-occupational.

Unlike SASE Frameworks, the new Apprenticeship Standards will also include assessment and grading of behaviours. These can vary from one sector to another and training providers will need to look at different sectors and work out the best way to teach and assess apprentices’ behaviours.

Any apprentice who has not yet reached the required level in Maths and English will have these subjects included in their apprenticeship programme.

What are ‘Trailblazers’?

These are groups of employers, who are being invited to propose and develop new apprenticeship standards that show what an apprentice will be doing and the skills they require to do it. The Institute for Apprenticeships has invited trailblazers to submit proposals online with various deadlines. More information can be found here:


What difference will this change make for employers and training providers?

As apprentices will be able to start some courses without any mandatory qualifications, training providers will need to factor in that the course might have a less structured starting point.

Employers can take a more active role in the content of apprenticeships and should benefit from apprentices who are trained more directly for a role within their organisation.

What is the role of the Institute for Apprenticeships?

The Institute for Apprenticeships, a new public body sponsored by the Department for Education, is responsible for apprenticeship standards and advises the government on funding for each standard.

Launched on 3 April 2017, the Institute is independent from government but exists to support the government’s commitment to deliver three million quality apprenticeships by 2020, as part of its Plan for Britain. The idea is that the Institute is an employer-led organisation, which can respond to the evolving skills that companies require for business success.


Both training providers and employers will be able to take a more active role in shaping apprenticeships under the new system. Apprentices themselves will have more courses to choose from, which are more closely matched to requirements of the industry they will be working in, and those without qualifications will have more options open to them.

For more information on Standards or the Apprenticeship Levy please contact us on 01924 470 477 or info@cmsvoc.co.uk

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