Apprenticeship Standards: What You Need to Know

In 2015, the government announced that as part of their 2020 vision, all apprenticeships would be moving from frameworks onto standards as of 1st August 2020. To meet this goal, the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) will be ending enrolment on all framework apprenticeships from 31st July 2020.

As this date draws closer, many apprentices and employers still have questions about how the switchover may affect them. This blog looks at some of the main changes employers need to be aware of and how these will improve upon current apprenticeship delivery in the UK.


Why is this happening?

The switch from frameworks to standards is part of a wider government strategy to rethink the way apprenticeships are delivered. The main aim of these changes is to make apprenticeships more attractive to employers and provide improved on-the-job learning. It is hoped this will be achieved by allowing apprenticeships to be tailored more towards the specifics of their job role and more in-line with employers’ needs.


Will the change affect current apprenticeships?

If you have already enrolled yourself or a member of staff on a framework apprenticeship, there is no need to worry; these apprenticeships can still be completed even if they do not finish until after the cut-off point. Any framework apprenticeships started BEFORE the 1st August 2020 will be eligible for completion and their qualification will still be valid.

However, the change-over does mean that certain framework apprenticeships will no longer be available to enrol on as of 1st August 2020. This includes apprenticeships such as the Level 2 in Business Administration. For a full list of apprenticeships being removed, you can use the government’s guidance on frameworks removal.


What new apprenticeships will be available?

The new Standards model has allowed for additional new apprenticeships to become available across multiple different sectors and industries. In the construction and building sectors alone there are a number of new apprenticeships including:

  • Property Maintenance Operative
  • Steel Fixer
  • Lifting Technician
  • Bricklayer
  • Highways Electrician / Service Operative
  • Highways Maintenance Skilled Operative
  • Painter & Decorator
  • Scaffolder
  • Plasterer
  • Hire Controller (Plant and Small Tools)


Apprenticeship standards

What is the difference between apprenticeship frameworks and standards?

The biggest difference between frameworks and standards is a change of focus from ‘assessment’ to ‘learning’. Instead of consistent assessment across their apprenticeship, the new standards rely upon an End-Point Assessment to evaluate the learner’s job competency at the end of the programme.

There will also be a change of title for staff overseeing the apprenticeship. Under the standards, they will now be referred to as ‘tutors’, as opposed to ‘assessors'. Again, this change reflects the desire to promote on-the-job learning for the specific needs of the company the apprentice is completing their apprenticeship with.


What are the benefits of working to standards rather than a framework?

The introduction of the new apprenticeship standards looks to address several issues of the current model by creating a system that is more occupation focused and not led by qualifications. Under framework apprenticeships, learners would often need further training upon completion to ensure they were at a full level of job competency.

Standards apprenticeships can be tailored for the specific job-role and contain all the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed for the apprentice to be job-ready upon completion. The new standards are developed by employers with their needs in mind, rather than by sector bodies. Part of their of request was ensuring apprenticeships are linked to professional registration through an End-Point Assessment.


What is the End-Point Assessment?

One of the major aspects introduced by the standard is the requirement for learner to complete an End-Point Assessment (EPA) to finish their qualification. EPAs are designed to provide formal proof the apprentice can perform all the responsibilities their job role demands. These assessments are carried out by independent organisations to meet the criteria specified by the apprenticeship taken on. Organisations must feature on the End-Point Assessment Register in order to perform these tests.

EPAs have proven to be a popular addition with employers, as these provide independent proof to both the learner and the employer that the apprentice is competent in their role. This also improves the view of apprenticeships in the job market, as employers have extra assurances over the qualification’s reliability.


How do I find the right EPA?NOCN group logo

NOCN are leaders in the field of independent End Point Assessments. They work closely with training providers and employers to ensure apprentices have the necessary knowledge and skills to meet the new standards. NOCN feature on the EPA register to perform standards EPA across a wide range of sectors and industries including:

  • Business & Retail
  • Finance
  • Construction
  • Education
  • Health & Science

You can use their website to find the full list of EPAs they provide and search for the one that suits your needs.


Apprenticeships with Essential Site Skills:

ESS are recognised by the ESFA as a provider of quality apprenticeships across of variety of levels and sectors, also appearing on the UK Government’s Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP). Apprenticeships available with ESS include:

You can find out more information about our apprenticeships, by visiting our dedicated web page. Alternatively, you can speak to a member of the training team directly on 0115 8970 529 or email training@essentialsiteskills.com.


Further Information:

For further explanation of the switch-over process from an employer’s perspective, FE News have provided a podcast with Richard Marsh from Kaplan Finance which looks at some of their key findings.

If you have any further queries about apprentices or other services that NOCN provide, you can email them at nocn@nocn.org.uk or call the team on 0300 999 1177.


Want to find out more?