Apprenticeships are changing

The system of Apprenticeships is being completely overhauled in England. The Richard Review identified that significant improvements could be made to make apprenticeships more rigorous and responsive to the needs of employers. The new system will aim to:

  • Put employers in the driving seat. Apprenticeships will be based on standards designed by employers, making them more relevant and therefore more attractive to existing and new employers.
  • Increase the quality of apprenticeships. An apprentice will need to demonstrate their competence through rigorous and holistic assessment. This will focus on the end of the apprenticeship to ensure that the apprentice is ready to progress
  • Simplify the system. The new employer-designed standards will be short and easy to understand. They will describe the skills, knowledge and behaviour that an individual needs to be fully competent in an occupation.
  • Give employers purchasing power. Putting control of government funding for the external training of apprentices in the hands of employers, to empower businesses to act as customers, driving up the quality and relevance of such training.

The system of ‘frameworks’ will be replaced by a system of ‘standards’. These are being written from scratch by groups of employers who are known as Trailblazers. The standards are two-page documents listing the skills, knowledge and behaviours essential for being competent in a specified occupation.

What are the new apprenticeships in adult social care?

The group identified four occupations which will be the subject of the new Apprenticeship standards:

  • Adult Care Worker (equates to level 2)
  • Lead Adult Care Worker (level 3)
  • Lead Practitioner in Adult Care (level 4)
  • Leader in Adult Care (level 5). This incorporates both managers and advanced practitioners

These can be seen at: 

Whilst qualifications are no longer required as part of the new Apprenticeship standards, the Adult Care Trailblazer employers were very clear from the start that they wished to retain the QCF Diplomas, as the industry-recognised competency measures. The apprenticeship will now consist of the Diploma, the Care Certificate and end point assessments. For those staff who have completed the Common Induction Standards prior to the launch of the Care Certificate, it is the employer’s responsibility to judge where the gaps are for staff to meet the additional standards in the Care Certificate.

The end point assessment will be a multiple choice test and professional discussion. The endpoint assessment and diploma can be studied in parallel, but both must be achieved to meet the Apprenticeship standard. The assessment will demonstrate that the apprentice can apply their knowledge, skills and behaviours in an integrated way and will satisfy the requirements for the award of an Apprenticeship certificate. These tests will be graded.

The trailblazer group has recently drafted assessment plans for the standards in Lead Practitioner in Adult Care (level 4) and Leader in Adult Care (level 5). These are now open for comments which should be sent to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The main difference with the Level 2 and 3 apprenticeships is the addition of a third assessment method known as an action research project. The project will enable the apprentice to demonstrate their ability to think in a critical and analytical way about their work, the work of others and to organise their thoughts and findings logically and informatively. It will show how different aspects of the learning gained during the apprentice’s training have been applied in the workplace or how they have contributed to improving the care of others.

A table that outlines what is included in the apprenticeship and how it will be assessed can be found below.


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