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Apprenticeship Standards: How Do They Differ from Frameworks?

Apprenticeship standards are not the same as apprenticeship frameworks – and they require a different delivery model.

Two young apprentices watching a more experienced person work on machinery
How do apprenticeship standards differ from frameworks

Many providers of apprenticeship training are attempting to deliver apprenticeship standards as if they are apprenticeship frameworks. Providers are focusing on assessment, rather than learning, and don’t have the right tools to track and evidence an apprentice's attainment of the knowledge, skills, and behaviours (KSBs) along the way.

Apprenticeship standards were first introduced in England in 2014, in response to the Richard Review of Apprenticeships (2012) and as part of the UK Government’s major apprenticeship reforms.  But, despite the fact that they’ve been around for a while now, some providers who are used to the old, ‘unit-based’ framework model are still struggling to deliver the new standards. 

How are apprenticeship standards different to frameworks? 

Unlike the model used to deliver frameworks, apprenticeship training providers are no longer required to teach against a set structure, or to test and assess the learner. Instead, the new standards focus on the learning journey. Learners who start an apprenticeship standard are required to demonstrate competence across a range of KSBs, and this is assessed at the end of the apprenticeship by a separate organisation, known as the End Point Assessment Organisation (or EPAO).

So, for providers delivering apprenticeship standards, they need to be sure at the outset that the apprentice will, in the workplace, receive the necessary experience and develop the competencies required. Getting this wrong will lead to untimely completions, a reduction in qualification achievement rates (QARs) and costly retakes.

It’s about the journey, not the destination

The new standards have been designed to be flexible to suit the individual circumstances of both the learner and their employer.  Once the provider is satisfied that the apprenticeship standard is right for the learner, and that they will get the experience necessary through their employment, they must then monitor the learner's progress and identify any gaps in real time.  Providers can monitor learner progress in a variety of ways.  This could include learning logs or timesheet submissions from the learner, describing what they have done at work, how long they spent doing it (which will count towards the off-the-job hours), what they learned, and how this aligns with the apprenticeship and helps them in their job role.  Providers and employers can also set activities for learners and once completed, review the evidence to identify any knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) demonstrated through the task set. 

Providers should aim to carry out a gap analysis of competencies, evidenced at regular intervals, so that they don’t get to the end of the practical training period only to realise the learner isn’t ready to go through the gateway to End Point Assessment.  By monitoring the competencies demonstrated in this way, providers and employers can set additional activities for learners that help to plug any gaps.  This is quite a different approach to old apprenticeship frameworks that sought to teach a set program.   

Delivering great apprenticeship journeys, one learner at a time 

Delivering apprenticeships is just the tip of the iceberg. Ensuring every learner and their employer are fully engaged while managing the administrative burden associated with delivery is particularly challenging. And what’s more, there are many hundreds of providers, all competing to deliver apprenticeships to your employers and learners. Getting the right support and technology in place can make a huge difference.


Rubitek is your trusted learning management partner 

If you’d like to find out more about our experience and knowledge, not to mention our all-in-one learning management platform, and how we help you simplify apprenticeship delivery, get in touch with us today.

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