Delegates discussed the work being undertaken by the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) to ensure new standards deliver employer needs - looking at the measures to quicken approval of standards, efforts to identify skills needs through the development of occupational maps, and the future for end-point assessments following changes to external quality assurance.
The conference also provided an opportunity to discuss the redesigned ESFA Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP). Delegates considered whether the new register provides a list of ‘high quality’ providers as originally intended, alleviating concerns in the sector surrounding the application process and the inclusion of companies with no trading history.
Further sessions focussed on the challenges for Ofsted in light of the growing number of apprenticeship providers and how to create confidence in the apprenticeship brand among employers - as well as what measures can be taken to ensure apprenticeships provide prospective students with a credible form of training. The role of the newly formed Office for Students was also explored, considering areas of overlap with Ofsted, and assessing how this has changed the regulatory framework.
It was an opportunity to consider the Education Committee report on the quality of apprenticeships and skills training - which examined the quality of provision, effectiveness of the monitoring system and the impact of funding reforms.
Delegates considered the future operation of the Apprenticeship Levy - including the increase to the transfer facility to 25% from April 2019, and the reduction in the co-investment rate for non-levy paying firms to 5%, as announced by the Chancellor in the Autumn Budget as part of the package of reforms.
Discussion also covered the announcement of the Department for Education’s Fire it Up campaign, which aims to change the way in which apprenticeships are viewed.
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