24 October 2018

CITB Apprenticeships and Standards

The skills landscape has seen significant reform over the past few years and at Build UK’s Member Skills Briefing on 17 October, Dawn Hillier, Head of Standards and Qualifications provided members with an update on CITB’s achievements.

Development

Recognising the key challenges of this landscape for the industry, as part of its Business Plan CITB and the Construction Leadership Council initiated an Apprenticeship Working Group, to focus industry resources on the development of Apprenticeship Standards where most needed. since the group was formed 59 Apprenticeship Standards have been approved, compared to 9 prior to the formation of the group. The Working Group has been able to:

  • Identify shifts in Government policy and update all standards it is involved with to reflect this, providing quick and consistent industry support
  • Support industry by obtaining realistic quotes from Training Providers, to improve the chances of obtaining the most appropriate funding band. The Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) has recently introduced new funding bands and will be reviewing the Apprenticeship Standards already approved to ensure the most appropriate rate has been awarded
  • Use the National Occupational Standards to underpin development and provide consistency of approach for employers across all four nations.

CITB is currently involved with 18 Apprenticeship employer groups either as lead developer or in a role providing guidance and support. CITB has helped the groups to overcome a number of challenges including agreeing the ‘level’ which Apprenticeship Standards sit at, to ensure that the potential candidates are able to complete both the Apprenticeship and maths and english requirements at the relevant level.

Delivery

Dawn recognised the next real challenge for apprenticeships is delivery, with reports that many mainstream training providers are unable to deliver due to the specialist nature of some construction apprenticeships. To develop robust delivery plans, CITB has introduced Apprenticeship Standard launch events to bring together employers, colleges, Training Providers, trade associations and potential End Point Assessment (EPA) organisations to build delivery capacity. Where there are still challenges after these launch events, CITB is able to support sectors to find suitable training provision. Dawn noted that there was an opportunity for industry to change its model and for Trade Associations to become End Point Assessment organisations. This will ensure each sector is able to draw on its own experience and expertise and ensure high standards are maintained particularly where non-specialist training providers are delivering training. This model will be less resource-intensive than traditional assessor models, as end point assessors would only be carrying out an end test.

To ensure employers aren’t adversely affected in sectors where delivery is an issue, Dawn confirmed that as the Issuing Authority for Construction Apprenticeship frameworks in England, CITB has the ability to maintain older framework apprenticeships, until 2020. She confirmed that CITB will not switch off framework apprenticeships until there is sufficient capacity in place to support the delivery of Apprenticeship Standards.  Beyond this, ESFA has recently confirmed that there will be no new starts on Apprenticeship frameworks from 01 August 2020.

To drive the quality of apprenticeships, CITB has been awarded External Quality Assurance (EQA) status by the Institute for Apprenticeships and will assure any Apprenticeship Standards where specifically requested to via the assessment plan. This role will sit with the team who have been responsible for the development of the standards, so that there is a consistent link throughout the lifecycle.

Training Standards and Grant

As part of its Business Plan commitment to deliver 1,200 industry-agreed Training Standards by 2020, CITB has published 78 on the Training Directory, with a  310 in the final stages of being signed off, and a total of 1,400 potential standards identified.

Members noted Training Providers were struggling to adapt to the new Training Directory and many were not registering the company’s Levy Registration Number which would automate grant payments. CITB had left a manual claim option in place to support employers who were in this situation, but acknowledged that to instigate real cultural change, a final cut off date for the processing of manual claims may need to be introduced.

The new approach to grant claiming has resulted in a similar number of employers claiming grant to previous years, however less grant has been claimed than expected for this time of year. There has been a significant fall in apprenticeship grants, in line with an approximate 30% reduction in apprenticeship delivery, but with more employers claiming VQ grants and up the Skills and Training fund.

To see Dawn’s presentation in full please click here.