What do the new IT Apprenticeship Standards mean for employers and apprentices?

The Digital IT Apprenticeship Standards were updated last month to meet new requirements set out by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE).

Article summary: The standards are created by the BCS - the Chartered Institute for IT - and cover a range of exciting areas, presenting new opportunities for employers and apprentices alike.

The BCS’s overview document can be viewed in full here. To summarise, there are three main differences to the updated Digital Apprenticeship Standards: 

1. A new focus on duties

The revised standards are based on occupational profiles which outline the duties carried out by employees in the occupation, including Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSBs) that are applied in the workplace. The apprentices will be assessed against these KSBs in the various assessment methods. 

This new focus on duties should mean that job roles are clearer and more defined, meaning that apprentices will receive training that is completely relevant to their role rather than a more generic approach. They’ll be learning the actual job they’re being employed to do, with the tasks being undertaken in their day-to-day role meeting criteria within the apprenticeship. This will not only provide more accurate and relevant training, but should prepare apprentices better for assessment too. 

2. No mandatory knowledge modules, units or vendor certifications

The apprenticeship journey consists of registration, followed by on-programme training (supported by the employer and training provider), with Gateway being reached at the end of the minimum training period. Evidence is then submitted by the training provider and the End-Point Assessment will take place, resulting in certification if successful.

The previous standards included knowledge modules, units and vendor certifications, such as the various Microsoft qualifications, but these are no longer a mandatory part of the programme. These qualifications are no longer used to test knowledge as a prerequisite to Gateway, but employers still have the option to put their apprentices through these qualifications as an extra if they wish. 

Any qualifications that have been mapped to the standard will support the learning of the knowledge areas, tracking progression and adding value to the learner journey, but they will not be part of the summative assessment process. 

BCS is introducing a new Digital Modularised Programme specifically designed to support apprentices' on-programme training. This programme is occupationally-focussed, aligning to the apprenticeship standard and supporting the continued development of learners on their career journey. 

The advantage of removing mandatory vendor qualifications for the apprentice is that it allows greater emphasis to be placed on the planning of the EPA, giving them more flexibility and the freedom to choose and design their own projects. 

3. Changes to assessment

The revised digital standards mean that the entire assessment process will be completed at the end of the apprentice's minimum period of training (rather than at points throughout) and after they have passed Gateway. Generic assessments have been replaced with ones that relate to each specific standard, making them more relevant to the occupation of the apprentice and therefore more useful.

PETA’s ICT Training Manager Andrew Worth will attend an informational webinar later this month, which will provide training on the new apprenticeships. The webinar will cover the transition to the new apprenticeships, a Q&A session and input from IfATE’s Relationship Manager Helen Dalton and ESFA Policy Representatives Laura Orritt-Hopkins and Peter Millington.

The new standards will be put into practice on all PETA apprenticeships starting from 1 August 2021. These changes could make an apprenticeship even more suitable to your company’s requirements, so why not take the time to find out if now’s the time for your organisation to recruit an apprentice?

Why employ an apprentice?

  • Incentives of up to £3,000 are available to apply for

  • It’s a great method of building skills to plug skills gaps created by COVID

  • They shape your business for the future - by taking on an apprentice, you can weave new skills into your business and take advantage of the fresh perspective that a new staff member would contribute

  • Thanks to the Apprenticeship Levy and the Co-funded models for smaller businesses, 95% to 100% of the apprentice training costs will be government-funded

  • You’ll be creating a job (or jobs) at a time when unemployment is high

Why partner with PETA?

  • We’ll work with you to create an apprenticeship role that will fulfil your individual business needs and more.

  • We have a great reputation for delivering successful apprenticeship programmes, which is why the best employers choose to partner with us to recruit and train new staff in the roles they require. 

  • Apprenticeship training is flexible and can be adapted to the needs of your business. Using a framework of standards set with a training provider, you can train a new apprentice in your business practices, safe in the knowledge they are building the right skill set from day one.

  • We have a highly experienced team on hand to help you with anything from developing your recruitment strategy to managing your apprenticeship funding, ensuring you maximise your investment in apprenticeships.

Find out more about apprenticeships with PETA, complete our contact form to register your interest or give our knowledgeable apprenticeship team a call on 023 9253 7000 to discuss your options.

Source: bcs.org


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