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Posted on 26/01/2018 in Apprenticeship Sector News Stories

NOCN Submission: Select Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy: Quality of Apprenticeships and Training Inquiry

NOCN Submission: Select Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy:  Quality of Apprenticeships and Training Inquiry

NOCN responds to Select Committee Inquiry into Apprenticeship Quality

Friday 5 January 2018

As the UK’s leading End-Point Assessment Organisation approved to carry out end-point assessment on the largest number of Apprenticeship Standards, NOCN has responded to the UK Government Select Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy on the Quality of Apprenticeships and Training Inquiry with a detailed submission, available to download here.

In summary, the objective of the Government’s policy is to improve the quality of apprenticeships by fundamental reform to improve skills and productivity. NOCN completely supports this policy and the key reforms and believes excellent work has been carried out by employers in building the new apprenticeship standards and assessment plans, improving quality and increasing productivity.

Apprenticeship quality is clearly vital. An apprenticeship should qualify an apprentice to do their job efficiently and effectively to reach a level of productivity at the best of international standards. The success of the UK World Skills Team clearly illustrates that our apprentices have the skills to compete at this high level. So, the potential is there, however, there are a number of major concerns in the way the reforms and their implementation have been managed, which are holding back progress and which are in danger of preventing the policy from meeting its objectives.

The Select Committee’s inquiry identified five areas of investigation:

  • The quality of current provision, how this varies by sector, level and region, and the impact of this on learner outcomes.
  • The effectiveness of the quality monitoring system, in particular the role and capacity of Ofsted.
  • The role of the Education and Skills Funding Agency in ensuring value for money, and the impact of different funding models.
  • Quality and oversight of training provided by subcontractors.
  • Quality of training received by the socially disadvantaged, and barriers to them undertaking this training.

In line with these areas, the main factors NOCN has identified as holding back success, are summarised as follows:

  • Lack of a coherent overall Skills Strategy to improve national productivity
  • Divided responsibilities between ESFA, IFA, Ofqual, Ofsted and QA organisations
  • Lack of clarity and consistency over EQA
  • Lack of a complete QA system from start to finish
  • Major omissions from the design of the new apprenticeship system
  • Insufficient detail to guarantee quality and robust assessment
  • Lack of understanding and inappropriate assessment plans
  • Lack of consistency between Apprenticeship Standards and Assessment Plans
  • Scale of increased and complex administrative burden
  • Inadequate compliance for GDPR and unclear Data Sharing arrangements
  • Insufficient progress on the rate of development for the new standards
  • Reduction in the numbers of adults undertaking apprenticeships
  • Social mobility – unclear career pathways and professional development opportunities
  • Currency and portability – within the UK and internationally

>> NOCN’s full submission is available to download here as a PDF, where these issues are expanded upon in more detail.

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