Apprenticeships have undergone major transformation over the last 5 years to become a high-quality skills programme. We highlight further proposed improvements that will make the programme simpler to use.

Learners and employers across the Liverpool City Region recognise the benefits that the Apprenticeships programme brings. The past 5 years have seen major transformations that have established apprenticeships as a high quality route to employment, skills development and high- quality qualifications. Through the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, employers have helped to create more than 640 standards that meet their skills needs. These are delivered by registered providers that are regularly inspected. Apprentices complete rigorous end-point assessment, so employers know that they are fully competent.

The focus is now changing to ensure that the system is simple and user-friendly, so employers, training providers and apprentices can get the most out of the programme. The target for this is August 2022.

Minister for Skills, Alex Burghart confirmed: “We have transformed apprenticeships so they offer a high-quality route into professions as diverse as engineering, healthcare, and digital for young people starting their careers, or adults hoping to retrain and upskill. We now want to focus on making the system as simple and user-friendly as possible, reducing bureaucratic burdens on employers and providers and giving apprentices the best possible experience.”

So what do these improvements include for apprentices? The first is to make it simpler for apprentices to accelerate their apprenticeship. The intention is to improve how learning providers assess and recognise prior learning and experience at the start of the apprenticeship to be able to cut out training they do not require and complete their apprenticeship more quickly. This means that apprentices can spend more time in the workplace and will become fully competent sooner, boosting employer productivity and their own earnings potential.

The second is to introduce a consistent baseline for off-the-job training, specifying the minimum number of hours that a full-time apprentice must spend in training. The third changes English and maths requirements for Level 2 apprentices. People who start a L2 apprenticeship without L1 English and maths will no longer need to automatically attempt L2 English and Maths tests to complete their apprenticeship. It will mean that thousands of L2 apprentices can focus on securing a L1 English and Maths qualification.

If you would like further information on apprenticeships and how to apply for them, talk to the Apprenticeship Support by Be More Team. The team is funded by the European Social Fund & LCR Strategic Investment Fund and provides impartial information and advice on apprenticeships across the Liverpool City Region.