Apprenticeships: How can we help?
Keele University, in partnership with HEaTED and NTDC recently ran a workshop on Technical Apprenticeship. What became clear was that whilst some HEIs have developed an apprenticeship scheme, often, though not always, as part of an institution wide approach, others are still struggling to take this forward. This is not surprising, and the findings mirrored our perceptions.
The current government Apprenticeship Scheme, is employer led, meaning that the development and management of local apprenticeships lies squarely with the employer. Each apprenticeship has to align to one of the many Standards developed by employers, it has to include 20% ‘off the job’ (OTJ) training, and progress has to be assessed by an End Point Assessor (EPA) before the apprenticeship can be awarded. Each Standard has an attached funding band to pay for the OTJ, The funding is paid for from the Apprenticeship Levy.
The scheme is complex, needs the support of your HEI, but engaging with it is both rewarding and is a key tool to help continue to build on and develop the technical community .
The NTDC has always promoted the view that the most effective approach is to have a centrally supported programme where central expertise, supports and enables the development and delivery of local apprenticeships. The reality though, is that, for many technical communities, this is not happening. In some cases there is no central support to help develop the scheme locally, and in others, the University wide approach is less successful at enabling technical apprenticeships, for a myriad of reasons.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
We would like to provide a resource, which reflects your concerns, as well as the experience and expertise of colleagues currently involved in developing and running technical apprenticeships. A resource which recognises the different experiences across the sector and which will help increase the understanding of and development and uptake of high quality technical apprenticeships across the sector.
We plan to develop this in two ways:
- Building a database of FAQs: In essence, you ask the questions, and we provide answers by reflecting current guidance and where applicable, seeking the expertise and experience of others who can say what has worked for them and what hasn’t’.
- Apprentice Question Time surgeries: A chance for you to ask questions to a panel of people with a range of expertise and experience. This will also feed into the FAQs. We are planning to hold the first one in early March – further details will be available soon.
The scope for this is potentially huge. For example,
- You may want to ask questions as a manager, or as member of staff wanting to take an apprenticeship for career development, as someone who wants to drive the development of a programme in your technical community, or as someone who wants to set up an apprenticeship locally but there is no Institution support available to do it.
- You may want to ask practical questions across a range of topics areas which could, for example, include how to:
- write a business case to get support for an apprentice,
- identify suitable roles that could become an apprenticeship,
- identify the best Standard, training provider and End Point Assessment organisation,
- negotiate funding and contracting with Training provider,
- manage apprenticeships on a day to day basis,
- manage poor quality provision from your training provider.
As a starting point, based on conversations with colleagues at the Keele event, and subsequently, we have provided some common FAQs and initial answers below.
If you want to ask a question, or if you feel you have experience and expertise to be involved in supporting others, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.