Westminster Employment Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Apprenticeship quality in England - assessment, inspection and meeting the new standards


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

Key stakeholders and policymakers at this conference will examine the priorities for quality assurance in apprenticeship provision in England.

Areas for discussion include:

  • implementation of the new apprenticeship standards,
  • route reviews of apprenticeship standards,
  • use of end-point assessments, and
  • the new inspection framework and the wider role of regulators.

We also expect discussion to reflect issues arising from the COVID-19 crisis, including:

  • the current impact on apprentices and training providers and other stakeholders,
  • what support might be needed at this time and going forward, and lessons that can be learned for the future, and
  • opportunities and challenges arising from the changing employment landscape that is likely in the wake of the pandemic that will affect apprenticeships and those in the sector.

The discussion in detail:

  • The new apprenticeship standards - implementation as they are brought in across different apprenticeship subjects, including:
    • opportunities for developing the design of the standards frameworks,
    • the use of the standards to support increases in the quality of apprenticeships;
    • how providers can develop their apprenticeship curriculum to match the skill-driven standards and improve the quality of education for apprentices; and
    • addressing concerns over whether these can be delivered effectively to meet the current deadline of the 31st of July, amid discussions around whether this deadline will be extended.
  • Route reviews - and what can be learnt from the first completed review, which saw 12 standards in the digital sector cut to nine.
  • The role of apprenticeships in improving social mobility, and how they can be better targeted towards the most disadvantaged young people.
  • Costs, accessibility, and monitoring - looking at issues including:
    • the burden of travel costs to placements, following concerns expressed by campaigners,
    • off-site training, with further concerns that some apprentices may not be receiving the required amount,
    • employer responsibilities and how the requirement for 20% off-site training should be supported and enforced,
    • how to encourage employers to regularly check on the progression of their apprentices, and
    • how training providers can ensure that they are more alert to employers that do not meet requirements.
  • Use of end-point assessments
    • how it can be ensured that End Point Assessment Organisations have the right environment to carry out effective assessments,
    • ways that EPAOs can be effectively supported through the changes and cost burdens can be reduced, and
    • how ESFA can work to ensure all existing standards are also covered by an EPAO, so as to ensure confidence in the provider register and quality assurance for employers and apprentices.

Why this is relevant now - the context:

It takes place with:

  • Employer-designed apprenticeship standards being brought in across different apprenticeship subjects with the aim of complete transition to the new ‘higher quality’ standards by August 2020;
  • The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) concluding their fourth Route Review of apprenticeship standards, looking at Agriculture, Environmental and Animal Care;
  • Recommendations from two further content reviews expected soon, and as the IfATE examines the technical provision for Engineering and Manufacturing, with reporting due by early 2021;
  • The new inspection framework as Ofsted continues to inspect providers under the new regime;
  • IfATE extending their consultation on quality assurance as to how to best deliver the External Quality Assurance (EQA) for apprenticeships;
  • Withdrawal of funding by the Government for apprenticeships with standards that do not have an End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) to deliver the EPA;
  • ESFA consulting on how to control the volume and value of provision that can be subcontracted by a prime provider in order to maintain quality of provision; and
  • Increased focus in the new framework on the ‘substance of education’ - and Ofsted looking more closely at whether apprenticeships are meeting local needs, as well as flexibility and rationale.

The agenda:

  • Priorities for the Apprenticeship programme;
  • Next steps in improving the assessment of apprenticeships;
  • Developing end-point assessments - ensuring effective delivery, identifying the most suitable form of assessment and establishing coherent progression pathways;
  • Meeting the new standards for apprenticeships - ensuring effective design, putting them into practice and the provision of off-site training;
  • The role of apprenticeships in supporting the skills provision post-COVID; and
  • Assessing apprenticeships on their social mobility potential.

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. It is certainly the case with this one.

Places have been reserved by officials from the Cabinet Office; the Department for Education; Ofsted; the Social Mobility Commission; the DWP; the Education and Skills Funding Agency; Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service;the Department for International Trade; the Department for Transport; the Government Legal Department;  HM Revenue & CustomsHM Treasury; the Ministry of Defence; the Ministry of Justice; and the Valuation Office Agency.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

Shortly after every Westminster Employment Forum seminar, a briefing document is produced. This is distributed to all delegates on the day as well as to our policymaker contacts in government, and to stakeholders more widely.

A seminar publication provides a timely record of proceedings, and acts as a guide to the latest thinking on current policy issues for those unable to be at the event.

This publication includes


Contributions from keynotes and panellists, including accompanying slides*
*Subject to approval

Delegate Pack

Information from the day, including delegate list, biographies and agenda


Transcript of questions and comments posed to speakers from attending delegates


Supplementary articles from speakers
and delegates