Apprenticeships are government-funded, work-based training programmes for people aged 16 and over. Apprentices can be new or current employees.
Due to a major government reform of apprenticeships, the way that apprenticeships work has changed. New apprenticeship standards will completely replace the frameworks system by 2020.
As of the 1 January 2018 the new standards for apprenticeships replaced the adult social care frameworks at level 2 and 3. We hope that the new level 5 apprenticeship standard will be available in Autumn 2018 but the current level 5 apprenticeship framework will remain open until 31 December 2019 to facilitate a smooth transition.
You can read more about the move to the new level 5 apprenticeship standard in our statement here.
Who is in charge of the new adult care apprenticeship standards?
The apprenticeship standards were written and developed by the trailblazer group of social care employers, supported by awarding organisations, Skills for Care and learning provider representatives.
The trailblazer group is changing to become the Care Apprenticeship Board (CAB) and the group is chaired by Helen Wilcox. They can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org in the interim and there will be a new contact for CAB when it is formally established.
Skills for Care has no control over the new apprenticeship standards, their content or the assessment strategies which support them.
The government has set up an arm's length body, The Institute for Apprenticeships which creates the rules around standards development, approves standards for delivery and sets the funding rates for apprenticeship standards.
Which of the new adult care standards are ready to use?
Adult Care Worker (Level 2) and Lead Adult Care Worker (Level 3) have been generating starts since October 2016.
With the changes to qualifications, changes of wording required by the Institute for Apprenticeships and the requirement to remove elements of the original assessment strategies for these apprenticeship standards, new versions were published on 5 February 2018 by the IfA and are ready to use.
I have staff wanting to sign up to an apprenticeship, what is available to them?
For Adult Care Worker (Level 2) and Lead Adult Care Worker (Level 3) employers can sign up starts against the standards.
For learners wishing to undertake an apprenticeship at Level 5 the Care Leadership and Management apprenticeship framework is still open for starts.
What still needs to be done to make them ready and how long will it take?
Any changes to the apprenticeship standards need to be approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships.
Any changes requested as a result of feedback from employers in the sector have to go through the Institute for Apprenticeships' approvals process and the Institute is unable to say exactly how long this will take.
What needs to happen to allow starts to these standards?
For any starts to an apprenticeship standard the Institute for Apprenticeships has to publish the standard and the associated assessment strategy. Until the relevant documents are published there can be no starts to a standard.
The standards for Lead Practitioner in Adult Care Worker (Level 4) and Leader in Adult Care (Level 5) were approved some time ago but now need revising to take account of the changes to the qualification system which came into play on 1 January 2018. Their associated assessment strategies have not been published by the Institute for Apprenticeships and will now also need revising.
The assessment strategies have not been published while there is an ongoing challenge to the funding allocation for these standards. To date there has not been any resolution from the Institute for Apprenticeships and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) on the challenge submitted by the trailblazer group.
Until both standards and assessment strategies are published there can be no starts to the standards.
What is Skills for Care doing about this?
We have no role in the approval or submission process for apprenticeship standards but we are supporting the trailblazer group of employers with their approval negotiations with the Institute for Apprenticeships.
We are also in discussions with awarding organisations to try to ensure that there are viable options for learners while we wait for the Institute for Apprenticeships to reach decision on the publication of standards and the outcome of the funding challenge.
We have also informed the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) about the delay in approval and have made them aware of the position with regard to the Institute for Apprenticeships. We would be urging DHSC officials to work with colleagues in government to address this issue as soon as possible.
We are also committed to providing employers with the most current information on the situation. Please check back here for updates as matters progress.
Last updated 06 February 2018.