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Preparation tips for the new Standards   

Current providers of the old SASE Frameworks, will need to consider changes to funding, delivery and assessments when transitioning to the new Standards in England.

Apprenticeships Update Bill Twigg, Senior Apprenticeships Manager at City & Guilds, outlines the fundamental considerations an education provider will have to make with regard to the apprenticeship reforms.


Understanding the new funding

From August 2017 education providers will no longer receive Government allocations to fund apprenticeships (Trailblazer apprenticeships and SASE Frameworks) for levy-paying employers.  Funding, instead, will be managed by employers and providers will be paid through the Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS).


Apprenticeship funding will not change for the next few years for micro-businesses and SMEs who do not pay the levy. Trailblazer apprenticeships will continue to be funded using the interim funding model and SASE Frameworks will be ‘business as usual’

Find out more about the apprenticeship funding reforms  

Working With Levy-Paying Employers Apprenticeship Funding Manager, Bryony Kingsland outlines top tips for working with levy-paying employers.

Find out more from our recent webinar on apprenticeship funding

8-step action plan to help you prepare

City & Guilds has put together an 8-step action plan to help you prepare for delivering the new Apprenticeships Standards.

The plan is for providers who are switching from SASE Frameworks to the new Standards, or providers new to the apprenticeship market.

What questions should you be asking at each step of the transition? Download our quick 2-page guide which summarises these for you.

For in-depth information on the apprenticeship reforms and how to transition your organisation to deliver the new Apprenticeship Standards, download our reforms guide.

STEP 1: Research and decide on occupation coverage

You will need to determine the skills requirement in your local area. Speak to your local employers to find out which programmes will be in demand. You can also look at our Great Expectations  research which summarises the future jobs market per region.

You’ll also be able to find out more by researching online or making contact with:

Decide: what occupational areas you would like to sustain and grow.

STEP 2: Test your findings by engaging with local employers

The new Apprenticeship Standards system is moving to a more employer-led approach so it’s important you consult your employer contacts when developing your offer.

At this stage you should: 

  • Develop high level proposals for each occupation you offer
  • Test your offer/s with relevant employers and collect feedback
  • Listen to the feedback and amend your offer
  • Use the output as the basis of your new business proposal

At this point you should be setting your strategic direction and have an understanding of which sectors you want to develop an offer for. You also need to shape your business model and decide if your strategy is to keep existing business, grow business or shrink business as a result of the market.
Top tips for engaging with employers

STEP 3: Is there a new Standard available for the occupation/s you wish to deliver?

You’ll now need to check whether the new Standard is available for delivery for your chosen apprenticeship occupation.

A list of Apprenticeship Standards is available on the Government’s website  where you will also be able to find out which Standards are still in development and which are ready for delivery. Information on the allocated funding band for each Standard ready for delivery will also be available here. 

If you are an existing provider of SASE Frameworks, you’ll need to consider when you make the transition.

Decide when to start delivering the new Standards

If an SASE Framework is soon to be switched off, you may have to transition now. However, if a new Standard is not yet ready for delivery, you will need to continue delivering the SASE Framework and keep looking for updates on the Government website. 

City & Guilds can help you evaluate which new Trailblazer occupations map to the SASE pathways you currently deliver. Contact your Business Manager, or you can find out more on our new and emerging Standards page.

Benefits of delivering the new Standards before the SASE Framework is switched off: 

  • More funding available
  • A more attractive proposition for employers
  • New Standards may better-meet business requirements
  • More attractive programme for learners potentially leading to a better quality of learners
  • Staying ahead of competitors and establishing your centre as a leader in new apprenticeships

STEP 4: Develop your on-programme offer

There is a huge amount of diversity amongst the new Standards for on–programme requirements and what’s required to move the apprentice on to end-point assessment.

Use your findings from engagement with local employers in step 2 to consider what they might want and what they might be willing to pay.  

Consider the following models for on-programme training (both on and off-the-job):

Qualification based: Qualifications have traditionally been the core component of an apprenticeship, providing the basis of training and development. Where they still exist as a mandatory requirement in a new apprenticeship Standard, the delivery model will continue to include the learning and practical training to prepare for these embedded qualifications. The provider may still need to design on-the-job training and will need to consider continuous assessment, off-the-job training and possibilities of e-learning.

A bespoke programme: Where qualifications are not a mandatory component, a provider will need to create a programme with structure and content to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviour required for the apprentice to be ready to move on to end-point assessment. To add value, there may be an opportunity to embed a qualification into the programme when available and relevant to the Standard.

If qualifications are not embedded, the quality of these apprenticeships will largely rest on end-point assessment, so independence and high standards will be very important.

A bespoke programme with accreditation: To add value and differentiate themselves in the marketplace, a provider can chose to accredit their programme with a globally recognised awarding organisation such as City & Guilds. Providers developing an accredited programme will need to consider an external check on quality and will need to work with an awarding body to establish accreditation for the programme. 

For all of these models, providers will need to:

  • Assess qualifications available and decide whether to include any that are surplus to the Standard’s requirements
  • Determine Approved Prior Learning (APL) relationship to vocational qualifications of potential recruits
  • Determine expected duration range
  • Create method for assessment of employers’ capabilities
  • Define skills needed to assess employer work roles
  • Assess costs and negotiation price with the employer
  • Agree on behaviours assessment tool
  • Agree format for employer sign-off
  • Integrate Maths and English learning into programmes

To add value and support for employers, you may want to consider:

  • Awareness days for internal staff 
  • Employer support and training 
  • Engagement activities and events with apprentices and parents (current or prospective)
  • Support in initial assessment
  • Support in recruitment
  • Publicity
  • Consultancy on how apprenticeships can meeting their business needs

STEP 5: Choosing an end-point assessment organisation

Who selects an end-point assessment organisation?

  • Providers can recommend a registered organisation but the final choice is down to the employer
  • The lead provider will contract with and pay the end assessment organisation as part of their overall agreement with the employer. The confirmed cost must be agreed with the employer

Providers should refer to the Register of Apprentice Assessment Organisations (RoAAO) 

City & Guilds is a registered assessment organisation on the RoAAO. Find out more about our End Assessment service.

STEP 6: Evaluate your capability and capacity

What will you need to deliver the new Apprenticeship Standards?

You’ll need to ask yourself the following:

  • Experience: Do we have any current apprenticeship experience in the related SASE apprenticeships?  Is the content required for the new Standard similar to what we have delivered with SASE apprenticeships?
  • Technology: Will we have to review and invest in new technology and delivery for cost-effectiveness and increased quality?
  • Internal capabilities: What are the capabilities of staff – will we need to upskill them?
  • Business development training: Will staff need sales or negotiation skills training to work with employers?
  • Resources: What are the implications on the broader resources that we’ll need to have in place?
  • Schedule: Over what period of time can we make any necessary changes?
  • New contractual agreements with employers: Do we have the ability to draw up three-way agreements between provider, employer and learners?
  • Evaluation: How are we going to monitor, review and evaluate the success of our apprenticeship programmes?

You will need to:

  • Develop templates for contracts with apprentices
  • Develop pricing structures that clearly define what’s included and what would be an additional cost to employers

You’ll also need to continually evaluate your current capacity and capability against your target capacity and capability considering:

  • Gaps in current capability
  • Changes in current work practices
  • Resource implications
  • Investment implications
  • A marketing strategy 

Evaluate your capability and capacity

STEP 7: Consider pricing and affordability

Is your pricing structure robust?

  • Do you have a simple funding model/ pricing structure your staff and the employer will understand? 
  • Does your pricing model consider overheads, programme content and end-point assessment?

Does your pricing structure give you flexibility?

  • Your pricing structure must give you the flexibility to negotiate with employers and contractors. This must fall within the maximum funding available, unless employers wish to contribute more towards training
  • Economy of scale – if an employer wants you to deliver 10-20 apprenticeships, how much discount can you afford to offer?

STEP 8: Finalise contracts, systems and processes

Some key administrative points to consider:

  • Finalise your written agreements – we would recommend this is a legally watertight document for you – employers will be doing the same – make sure you’re safe!
  • Agree when the employer will make payments to you from their levy account – payment schedule needs to be clear. Providers cannot draw down any funding from the SFA/Gov until you have proof the employer has paid their contribution
  • Does the employer need to pay for any extras? Qualification or modules?
  • What will happen if you currently sub-contract apprenticeship delivery?

Are you working with the right employers?

Does the employer have:

  • The capability and capacity to deliver the apprenticeship
  • The ability to deliver the apprenticeship
  • The appropriate support staff to deliver
  • The commitment to deliver in time and cost

Note: Quality employers should have a clear understanding of Organisational Needs Analysis and the related Training Needs Analysis for their business

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