IES research on Apprenticeships Trailblazers published

IES News

13 Mar 2015

Infographic: Interim findings on Apprenticeships TrailblazersLast week was National Apprenticeship Week, and saw Institute for Employment Studies research into Apprenticeship Trailblazers published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The Apprenticeship Trailblazers aim to achieve greater employer ownership of Apprenticeship training, as recommended by the Richard Review. Trailblazers are networks of employers and other sector and industry bodies, working together to design apprenticeship training and standards for jobs in their sector.

IES was commissioned to lead an evaluation of the early Trailblazers, and the report published this week revealed the interim findings.

The report shows that:

  • Early Trailblazers were often proposed by existing employer networks, often with close links with the Employer Ownership of Skills projects.
  • Positively, links between apprenticeships and other forms of industry training emerged from this, but the challenge has been to engage employers beyond the network to ensure broader support for the new standards.
  • Developing standards and assessment plans is resource-intensive for employers, and few anticipated the resource that would be required of them. Support from industry and sector bodies eased some of the burden.
  • Employers embraced the opportunity to take control of training, and to shape the agenda to ensure the needs of their industries were met. The work of these early pioneers has informed BIS policy arrangements to support the roll-out of Trailblazers to other sectors.
  • Some risks are presented by Trailblazer developments, including different categorisation of some skill-sets between standards, and overlaps between occupational definitions. These issues will require attention as more Trailblazer networks are initiated.

The IES evaluation continues, and a final report is expected in Summer 2015.