What is a trailblazer group?

The Apprenticeship Trailblazer groups were first conceived as part of the Apprenticeship reforms which subsequently led to the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy and are designed to focus on Employer ownership of the content and method of delivery of Apprenticeship programmes. They consist of groups of employers who want to develop Apprenticeship standards of different levels (2-7) that are specific to their sector and/or area of expertise.

They ensure that the current suite of Apprenticeship Standards are relevant, fit for purpose and that they shape the future of the skills, knowledge and behaviour of the workforce, offering an alternative and more inclusive route into a wide variety of professions.

Employers can either join an existing trailblazer group or create a new one in order to create a new standard.

Requirements to setting up a group:

Trailblazer groups must meet certain requirements. This video created by The Institute for Apprenticeships outlines those requirements: 

The trailblazer must be a group of employers recognised by the Institute and must reflect those who employ people in the occupation.

The Institute for Apprenticeships have set out the following guidelines, you must ensure when setting up a group:

  • there is no associated cost to joining
  • you are willing to working inclusively and collaboratively with other employers or trailblazer groups that are interested in developing an apprenticeship standard for the same or related professions
  • the chair must be selected by trailblazer group members and will work for an organisation which employs or intends to employ individuals in an occupation relevant to the proposed apprenticeship standard that your trailblazer group is developing
  • the chair cannot have any financial interest or be in a position such as director or an equivalent position in any organisation that may profit from the training or assessment of apprentices employed in occupations covered by any of the trailblazer group’s apprenticeship standards.

A trailblazer group made up of around 10-12 employers is sufficient to be representative, whilst ensuring the work of the group is manageable. You can keep other interested employers up-to-date with progress and seek their input and feedback via consultation.

You may wish to engage employer organisations to support the work of the group, such as sector or trade bodies, professional bodies, or industry training boards. They may be able to help you find other employers interested in developing the same apprenticeship standard through a call out to their members.

The Institute for Apprenticeships have an official 'How to' guide for trailblazers, which outlines the process of setting up a group but also steps to creating a new standard. 

Over to you

If you’re interested in finding out more about Apprenticeship Levy in general or have any questions about trailblazer groups - don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Levy team today via Twitter, LinkedIn or email

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