Tami McCrone, David Sims, Cath Gladding
16 November 2016
Apprenticeships are currently undergoing reform in England. Funding mechanisms and the content of Apprenticeship programmes are being restructured. NFER and the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) have carried out a joint research project to inform future policy and practice with evidence on how providers of Apprenticeships are preparing for the reforms. This report, based on 15 in-depth interviews with senior leaders in Apprenticeships’ providers, concludes that the current context of policy uncertainty and rapid change is putting considerable strain on the provider market.
- Delayed policy decisions - Is there enough time and information for strategic decision-making and implementation before May 2017?
- Employer engagement - Providers largely accepted the underpinning policy principle that puts employers at the centre of the new Apprenticeship system but felt the slow release of information was impeding their ability to plan timely offers and engage with employers rapidly.
- Standards content and quality - Providers expressed concern over both the lack of qualifications in many Standards and the resulting lack of skills portability and transferability for individual Apprentices.
- End-Point Assessment system - Providers regretted the general lack of information and understanding about how the end-point assessment system will work, how much it will cost and how the overall quality of end-point assessments will be monitored.
- Volumes of Apprenticeships - Providers reported that schools are beginning to be more open to Apprenticeships as a viable option for school leavers and young people and parents are talking about them. However, providers reported finding some employers unwilling to engage.