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Apprentices: Training

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL10721, tabled on 25 November 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that off-the-job training on apprenticeship schemes are of the required quality.

Answered on

9 December 2020

The government is making apprenticeships longer, better, with more off-the-job training and proper assessment at the end. All new learners starting an apprenticeship, from 1 August 2020, must now start on a high-quality, employer-designed standard. Employer-designed standards are central to our reforms to apprenticeships, driving up quality and delivering the skills that employers need.

We have strengthened the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers. The Register provides assurance to employers that the training providers they choose have the capacity and capability to deliver good quality apprenticeship training and are ready to start delivery. A new provider assessed as making ‘Insufficient Progress’, following a monitoring visit by Ofsted, will be unable to recruit any new apprentices until Ofsted has undertaken a full inspection. Any provider that receives an ‘Inadequate’ Ofsted assessment for apprenticeships will be removed from the register. From April 2021 Ofsted will inspect apprenticeships at all levels.

Off-the-job training must teach new knowledge, skills and behaviours that will contribute to the successful achievement of an apprenticeship and ensure that an apprentice is fully occupationally competent. The minimum 20 per cent off-the-job training requirement is in line with international best practice of at least a day a week in college but allows more flexibility for employers.

Each apprentice will undertake rigorous and independent end-point assessment and they must be able to demonstrate occupational competence in order to pass and complete their apprenticeship. This assessment gives employers confidence that apprentices completing an apprenticeship standard can perform the occupation they have been trained in and can demonstrate the duties and requirements set out in the occupational standard.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, our intention has been to safeguard the quality of apprenticeships. We introduced flexibilities to support apprentices and employers to continue with, and complete, their programmes. We encouraged providers and assessment organisations to deliver training and end-point assessments flexibly, including remotely, whilst keeping quality in mind.