The Apprenticeship Levy seeks to boost the UK’s productivity by enhancing the relevant skills of the country’s workforce. In order to do this, the trailblazers (groups of employers) were developed to ensure that apprenticeships offer the relevant set of vocational qualifications and/or apprentices are equipped with the right skills, knowledge and behaviours.

In this guide, we’ll explore what standards are currently in development and show you what’s included in each one.

What is a trailblazer?

Trailblazers were introduced to improve the way apprenticeships are developed in order to better suit employer needs – the overall objective is to ensure that apprenticeships are employer-led.

The Institute for Apprenticeships define trailblazers as:

“Trailblazers are groups of employers that come together as the creators and early adopters of new apprenticeship standards. Focused on the specific knowledge, skills and behaviours for their sector, they work together, supported and guided by the Institute, to develop new programmes of learning that will directly impact their workforce.”

It’s important that employers lead the development of apprenticeship standards as they know what qualities are needed to make someone competent in their role, which will then meet their needs and the needs of their sector. 

Level 2 Accounts/Finance Assistant

Overview: The accounts/finance assistant is responsible for assisting the team of accountants with junior accounting duties. These duties can be very different, depending on the structure and size of the business. Responsibilities may include: bookkeeping activities, working with sales and purchase ledgers, ensuring payments are correct and in order, recording of cash and data entry. This role can be applied to any sector.

Entry requirements: Individual employers will determine their own entry requirements.

All accounts/finance assistants will demonstrate the following knowledge, skills and behaviours:
• Aware of elements of commercial law that may have an impact when working in accountancy, such as contracts, data protection or Anti Money Laundering
• Can explain the importance of upholding relevant codes of conduct
• Can explain different legal entities and organisational structures.
• Aware of the impact of technology on business and its accounting and finance functions.

Duration: The standard will take typically 12-14 months to complete.

Level 3 Learning and Development Practitioner

Overview: This role involves identifying learning and training needs. It may include designing / sourcing training and learning solutions, delivering and evaluating training, and working with area managers. It is heavily focused on the practical delivery of training. The practitioner should have expertise and competence in their specific field whether it be technical, vocational or behavioural. They will link the business objectives in their area with the learning.

Entry requirements: Whilst any entry requirements will be a matter for individual employers, typically an apprentice will have an area of technical, vocational or behavioural expertise in which the organisation needs others to acquire through training.

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this prior to taking the end - point assessment.

Duration: The length of this apprenticeship should typically be 18 - 24 months.

Level 3 Bid and Proposal Co-ordinator

Overview: The role of the bid and proposal co-ordinator is to support new business through the entire proposal process.

This will be from the initial interest and coordinating activities around quest of an opportunity, co-ordination of replies to pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQ), if applicable, and final tender proposal documentation submission. The role includes providing support to all associated functions to assist the quality and timely completion of proposal submissions. Duties may include: organising meetings, structuring and writing proposal content, coordinating relevant activities and document management.

Entry requirements: Individual employers will identify selection criteria in terms of previous qualifications, training or other criteria.

Duration: Typically, 24 months. Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the end-point assessment.

Level 5 Children, Young People & Families Manager

Overview: Within this role the candidate will ensure direction, alignment and commitment within their own practice, their team(s), their organisation and across partnerships to help children, young people and families aim to excel and achieve sustainable change.

Entry requirements: Undertake the disclosure and barring service process and provide the result. Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking their end- point assessment.

Duration: Typically 24- 30 months to complete.

Recently approved standard

Level 3 Teaching Assistant Standard

Overview: The teaching assistant standard has been designed for those wanting to work in primary, special and secondary education, across all age ranges. It will encompass special educational needs and emotional vulnerabilities.

Entry requirements: Whilst any entry requirements will be a matter for individual employers, typically an apprentice might be expected to have already achieved 5 GCSEs, including maths and English, grade C or above or 4/5 (new grading). Some employers will accept other relevant qualifications and experience, including a relevant level 2 qualification.

Duration: The standard will take around 18 months to complete.

Over to you

You can view the full extensive list of trailblazers in progress on the Institute for Apprenticeships website here. If you’re interested in joining an existing trailblazer group or looking to develop your own apprenticeship standard, take a look at the process for developing a standard here.

If you’ve got any questions about any of the standards above or simply want to find out more - don’t hesitate to reach out to us on Twitter, LinkedIn  or email.

And if you’re looking for further information about the Apprenticeship Levy, get in touch with our expert team today:  

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