After a review of apprenticeships in England was commissioned in June 2012 by the Secretaries of State for Education and Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), a report was produced that recommended the design of programmes in the future should be put into the hands of key industry employers. 

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Background to the reforms

The subsequent implementation plan acted as a strategy for redefining the shape of the apprenticeship system in England to meet the needs of the changing economy.

Employer ‘Trailblazer’ groups were set up to develop new standards. The term Trailblazer refers to a group of employers working together to design new apprenticeship standards for occupations within their sectors.

What does this mean for employers in England?

The main change is around how apprenticeships are created and funded. Learning providers (mainly local colleges and private training providers) and employers will work closely together to develop the new standards.

So for example, a large employer  could work with a local provider to create their own bespoke apprenticeship or use one that has already been created for their industry or sector. Some apprenticeships will be assessed ‘on the job’ and some via more formal qualifications.

If your annual pay bill is more than £3 million, you will also have to contribute a 0.5% levy which will go towards funding apprenticeships in the UK. You will receive a £15,000 allowance to offset against your payment.

Learn more about financing your apprenticeship programme

What does this mean for colleges and other providers?

Colleges and training providers will need to work out when the best time to start delivering the apprenticeship standards is. They need to identify where there are new standards that can replace existing ones and think about the financial implications of switching. Keeping a close eye on new and emerging standards and engaging with local employers is also essential.

For a full list of apprenticeship standards (including those in development)

For a list of live apprenticeship frameworks