Where do I start? What do I need to do? How do I put together over a year long study programme to cover this standard? What can I show the Employer? How will we plan the delivery model now? How will I keep the apprentices motivated, when there is no evidence of their progress? What will Ofsted want to see? How will we know when the apprentice is ready for the End-Point Assessment?
These are just a fraction of the questions that our Training Provider, Employer and College customers continue to ask us, as they try to get to grips with the delivery of apprenticeship standards and migration from frameworks.
The landscape is different and there are many risks for Providers and Employers in the delivery of standards, and the ability to be efficient and deliver effectiveness. There is often a limited understanding by the Employer of their role and their involvement throughout the apprenticeship programme. The recruitment of the apprentice is crucial. They must be recruited to the right role, at the right level in order to fully complete the standard and successfully pass through the gateway. If they can’t do this in their current job, this is the wrong apprenticeship for them.
Providers are delivering standards like a framework. The standards themselves are short and lack detail and structure compared to detailed qualification specifications, amplification and internal and external quality assurance requirements in Frameworks. Without the structure some Providers have struggled to know how to organise and structure their delivery to ensure the depth, breadth and level of the training is successfully completed.
The requirements and currency of occupational experience, knowledge and skills of the delivery team are different for standards compared to frameworks. The emphasis is on training and less so on assessment and so this is impacting on the current skill sets of the of the Provider teams, but also on their recruitment strategies. With the changeover to standards, Providers are reporting that the average number of visits to train, and to monitor apprentice performance has increased and it is taking longer than expected to get the apprentices to the gateway. Completion rates to the Gateway, in some instances are being affected, as apprentices are not making progress or can’t recognise any progress and are struggling with their learning. All of these issues will increase the risk profile of Providers, apprentices will be on-programme longer than expected and drop off rates will increase, meaning fewer apprentices complete, or make it through gateway which will impact on timely completions.
BIIAB have heard many stories and picked up many anecdotes in our meetings across the sector over the last few years. Whatever we hear or read in the related press reports each week about the fall in numbers of apprentices, the quality of delivery and the issues with funding, the standards are what we have to deliver and so the BIIAB approach continues to be to provide advice, guidance and support to our Customers to ensure that they can mitigate risk, improve efficiencies and create effective training delivery across the standards.
The most important way we can provide this essential support is through the BIIAB Quality Assured Delivery and Assessment Preparation (QADAP) service and pack. The QADAP service is designed to provide a ‘full fat’ quality assurance service. Each BIIAB QADAP pack has been designed in order to be efficiently used in a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and they are easy to use with apprentices and Employers. It enables Providers, from day one of working with the apprentice, to have a tailored, consistent and standardised approach to delivery, covering all that is required in the standard and enabling any potential gaps in the apprenticeship delivery to be identified, and built in from the very start of the apprenticeship. It tracks individual apprentice progress towards the 'Gateway', providing recognition of milestone achievements along the apprentices’ journey which encourages and motivates apprentices and will prepare apprentices for the End-Point Assessment.
One of our Customers, Professor David Foskett, Welcome Skills, explains how the QADAP service and packs works for them:
'The BIIAB QADAP service and packs are invaluable as a learning, monitoring and development tool for all apprentices. The QADAP packs create a very clear study programme, that contextualises the standards in a format that is easy to understand and follow, making the applied learning enjoyable, relevant and motivational. The QADAP service and packs make the learning achievable, helping create a successful outcome'.
We have listened to our customers and continue to respond to the lessons learned from recruitment, training delivery and preparation for End-Point Assessment. We understand that people who choose an apprenticeship to continue their learning, need to have the best opportunity to learn the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviours to be successful and we want them to succeed and flourish in their vocational career.
Sally Power, Commercial Manager, BIIAB.