Posted: 18 December 2017
With Christmas and holidays in our sight let’s not forget that this New Year will bring new changes for our workforce. Put down that mince pie and make a note in your diary – the 01 January 2018 is a date to remember!
Until the inception of the employer trailblazer groups to design and reshape apprenticeship learning, it was the Sector Skills Council (SSC) who issued and acted as guardian for framework apprenticeships in the relevant sector, under licence from the Secretary of State for Education.
At the end of this month we will, as the SSC for adult social care, formally switch off the framework apprenticeships at level 2 and 3 bringing an end to SSC control in this area.
We have, for almost four years, worked alongside our employer trailblazer group at their request; giving advice, guidance and supporting them to make the decisions which have brought forward the new apprenticeship standards for both Adult Care Worker and Lead Adult Care Worker.
So the New Year 2018 will see all starts to apprenticeships at level 2 or 3 following these standards and eventually undertaking the new end point assessment, a new measure of quality provision designed to test all aspects of a candidate’s knowledge and skills.
I know that for some employers the changes to apprenticeship standards has been a step too far, too quickly and that not every employer is ready to engage in the delivery of the new apprenticeships.
We have heard about difficulties of funding the contribution to learning for those employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy, and similarly the difficulties of those levy paying employers in maximising their available levy pot when looking at their workforce development plans. We have also heard from all employers the difficulties they face in meeting the 20% off job requirement for the new standards and the cost implications for cover for apprentices undertaking this element of the apprenticeship.
We will, over the coming year, be seeking out good practice examples in these areas and sharing them across all employers in the hope that this may provide some help in workforce development planning. We will also be running targeted development programmes for employers and learning providers around the implementation of the new standards.
What is clear though is that we are on the brink of an exciting and challenging new era in apprenticeship learning. The benefits will be for those new apprentices who undertake the standards. Benefits of closer employer involvement in their learning, the benefit of the opportunity to showcase their learning and skills through end point assessment and the benefit of knowing that employers themselves have determined the knowledge, behaviours and skills they want to see in a 21st century workforce for adult social care.