The way Apprenticeships work and how they're funded is changing. What does that mean for you?
First of all, one thing isn’t changing: apprenticeships are still a great way to learn skills, get qualifications and earn a salary while you’re at it.
Really, the changes to apprenticeships are happening in the background and, while they’ll affect employers and people running them, the impact on you – as an apprentice – should only be that you’ll have even better skills and opportunities. Still, here’s a look at the three big things that are happening:
1 – Apprenticeship Standards
This has been happening for a while now. Originally apprenticeships were designed around ‘frameworks’; now, they’re based on ‘standards’. The government is in the process of closing down all the old frameworks and replacing them with new standards, and the work should be done by 2020.
What’s the difference between them? Frameworks were pretty broad, which meant that they could vary a lot between employers. Standards are, well, standard – they’ve been designed by employers to cover specific jobs (like cyber analyst, bricklayer, accountant) and list all the things you need to learn for that job. So they should make your training even better and set you up for a career.
2 – Apprenticeship Assessment
The way you’ll ‘pass’ your apprenticeship is changing, too. The new standards will include an assessment at the end of the apprenticeship: depending on the programme you’re on, you might submit a portfolio, have someone watch you at work, have an interview or complete a multiple-choice test. (A lot of this is still being worked out.)
It’s nothing to worry about: you won’t be put forward for any of this until your employer thinks you’re ready, and once you pass, you’ll be a qualified apprentice and able to move on to the next level, whatever that may be.
Also, the external qualifications that formed part of the original apprenticeships are being removed. There will still be some college study involved, but now the apprenticeship itself is the qualification: for example, instead of being an apprentice with vocational qualifications and technical certificates at level three, you’ll simply be a level three apprentice. Your apprenticeship will still have the same value – level three will still be roughly the same as two A Levels.
3 – Apprenticeship Levy
This is all about how apprenticeships are funded, and shouldn’t affect you at all – apart from hopefully making it easier for more employers to offer more apprenticeships, of course.
Basically, the levy is a kind of tax on businesses. Those paying more than £3 million in wages will be charged 0.5% of their annual pay bill – that money will go into a fund to pay for more apprenticeships across the UK.
Small employers (the company size, we don’t mean tiny little bosses) will have almost all of their costs paid for by the government. That’s 98% of employers, so the levy won’t be charged to many organisations really. Extra support, worth £2,000 per trainee, will also be available for employers and training providers who take on 16 to 18-year-old apprentices or young care leavers.
All of these changes are designed to make apprenticeships simpler, better and more popular, by encouraging employers to offer them. Which means more opportunities for you.
|You still find and apply for apprenticeships in exactly the same way. Visit Careermap for more info and to search for vacancies.|