Apprenticeship standards and their growth

Apprenticeship standards and their growth

07 February 2020 By Charlotte Kennett - Category Buyer for HR Services at YPO

apprentices working with employee

Apprenticeships are becoming an increasingly important part of the long term plan to improve workforces and develop enhanced productivity across the UK. The way apprenticeships work and their providers have majorly developed since they were first introduced.

From frameworks to standards

Frameworks were initially put in place several years ago however, as part of the apprenticeship reform, standards were introduced instead of frameworks. Apprenticeship standards vary from the existing frameworks in several ways according to AOC;

  • They are designed by employers
  • They are clear and concise – only a few pages long and define a job in a skilled occupation
  • They are a minimum of 12 months long
  • They include a minimum of 20% off the job training and English and maths
  • They cover knowledge, skills and behaviours and must contain transferable skills
  • Apprentices will be subject to an end-point assessment which will be graded
  • Professional registration (where available) must be included within the apprenticeship

There are currently 517 standards approved for delivery on the institute for apprenticeship website. But with still approximately 230 apprenticeship frameworks still live until July 2020, this has created some confusion within the industry and left some gaps that have yet to be filled.

There is an urgent need now to make sure all these frameworks are covered by a new apprenticeship standard. But, is this going to be done?

Apprenticeship standards providers

The provider market is continuously growing and developing. There are currently 2133 providers delivering the 517 live apprenticeship standards. These are made up of: main providers, supporting providers and employee providers.

As a sector, we still face the challenge to develop and encourage more providers into the public sector. We don't have enough providers for some of the apprenticeship standards; this applies to niche standards and funding restricted standards especially.

For instance, the Operational Firefighter apprenticeship standard. This is a very distinctive apprenticeship with very little funding associated with the standard. It's funding works as follows:

  • Funding banding: £12,000
  • 20% End-point Assessment - £ 2,400

Leaving just £9,600 to train and cover all cost associated with that specific qualification.   

Are employers still getting their head around the new apprenticeship levy

The sector is still changing and developing and there is still a lot of growth to be made by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and Institute for Apprenticeships, but we are most definitely heading in the right direction.

Year on year, we are seeing growth within the apprenticeships sector. The public sector is embracing it the new apprenticeship levy and is already identifying further ways to improve the apprenticeship sector in the long run.

The market is growing and there's no sign of this slowing down

We've seen first hand the improvements that have been made through standards and providers. At the start of the YPO procurement framework (April 2018) there were 256 standards available. Now there are 507 standards available for employers to search and the current spend going through the YPO framework is £15.6 million, which equates to 2.5% of the market.


Apprenticeship figures in 5 seconds

  • 517 apprenticeship standards approved
  • 230 apprenticeship frameworks still live
  • 2133 providers currently in the market
  • 507 apprenticeship standards live on the YPO procurement framework
  • £15.6 million procured via the YPO procurement framework

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