How much do you know? Are you up to date with what is happening with the Apprenticeship frameworks generally and in the furniture manufacturing sector?
Trailblazers are driving the development of the new Apprenticeship standards that are intended to replace all existing Apprenticeship frameworks during the lifetime of this Parliament, commencing from 2017.
In June 2012 the Government commissioned Doug Richard to undertake a review of the apprenticeship system to make sure it was fit for purpose in meeting employer’s needs in a future with a changing and dynamic economy. For some time, the Government has been concerned with the ongoing problems of a low skilled UK workforce, when measured against other OECD countries, and more so amongst young people where the level of basic skills remains weak. Apprenticeships have become the primary vocational route requiring a step change in skills development.
In November 2012 “The Richard Review” was published. The results concluded that the apprenticeship process was:
Doug Richard, in his recommendations wanted to re-define the characteristics of an apprenticeship linking it to a ‘real job’. He felt that training should address sustained and substantial skills development alongside the development of transferable skills. In order to achieve this he wanted employers placed at the forefront in both design and development of apprenticeships with the purchasing power handed over to the employer.
Fundamentally the Government agreed with many of the recommendations made in the Richard Review and published “The Future of Apprenticeships in England – Implementation Plan”. The response to the review was the concept of a new “Trailblazer” process whereby:
An overview of the new Apprenticeship Standards
Since the Government response, employer groups have come together across a range of sectors to develop the new Apprenticeship Standards. So what are they?
So what has been happening within the furniture manufacturing sector?
The Silentnight Group has led the Trailblazer for the furniture manufacturing sector and has been supported by Proskills and 106 employers from the furniture industry. A steering group led by Silentnight and made up of employer representatives, providers and Proskills have met on a regular basis since it was set up in October 2014. In March 2015, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) approved the first 3 pathways of the Furniture Manufacturing Level 2 standard.
Since that time, further work has been done to develop the standards and assessment plans for the remaining areas of:-
The final standard for Furniture Manufacturing was submitted to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in January 2016 and we are currently awaiting approval.
How will the new standards work in practice?
Each apprentice will take the occupational route that is best suited to the business they work in. They will be required to complete all the core requirements of Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours as set out in the standard alongside the set number of requirements for their chosen pathway.
For apprentices that have not yet achieved level 2 in English and/or maths; as a minimum they must achieve level 1 in English and/or maths as appropriate. They will also be required to take the test for level 2 prior to completion of their endpoint assessment. Note that this does not mean they have to achieve the level 2 test.
There are no qualification requirements in the furniture manufacture standard. However that is not to say an employer cannot request the qualifications as part of the apprenticeship but the costs of which will not be co-funded by Government.
It will be up to the employer to determine when the apprentice should be put forward for the end point assessment in partnership with the provider and apprentice.
Assessment will be in the form of:-
The apprentice will need to pass all 3 end point assessments to pass and must achieve a combined weighted score of over 80% to achieve a distinction.
It is suggested in the standard that a typical apprenticeship in furniture manufacturing will take 24 months to complete. The following diagram shows the process:-
Benefits of the new standards
There are many benefits associated with the new standards including:
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