Apprenticeship Trailblazers

Everything you need to know about Trailblazers

The government has published a detailed description of what apprenticeships should look like in the future, setting out a new approach to the creation, delivery and assessment of apprenticeships.

Groups of employers and professional bodies from different sectors have been working together to design the new apprenticeships. These groups are led by employers and are being called ‘Trailblazers.’

The Trailblazer groups are working to the deadline of August 2017, by which time all existing apprenticeship frameworks will have to be redeveloped to meet these new standards.

Our new range of guides and resources found on the right of this page will help you to find out all you need to know in order to prepare for Trailblazers.

Existing Apprenticeship Frameworks

Currently apprenticeship frameworks aligned with the SASE* and owned by Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) are made up of the following components:

  • a knowledge/theory qualification
  • a skills/practical qualification
  • Functional Skills/English and Maths qualifications
  • Employee Rights and Responsibilities
  • Personal Learning and Thinking Skills.

Several reviews of the existing apprenticeship system were carried out which suggested that apprenticeships are too long, complicated, bureaucratic and are not responsive to the needs of employers.

The new Apprenticeships or ‘Trailblazers’

‘The Future of Apprenticeships in England,’ released by the government in October 2013, sets out a new vision for apprenticeships. The new Trailblazer approach aims to increase the quality of apprenticeships and simplify things for everyone involved. A key part of the reforms is also to make apprenticeships employer-led.

The new Trailblazer apprenticeships will consist of a set of standards and an assessment plan.

The standards outline the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to carry out a certain job role

The standards must:

  • fit on 2 sides of A4 (double sided)
  • describe a specific occupation or job role and the skills and knowledge required to work in the role
  • be recognised and supported by employers in the industry
  • be suitable for all organisations in the industry, whether multi-national corporations or SMEs
  • be stretching for a new learner and take at least 1 year to complete
  • specify the level of English and maths needed (minimum Level 1).

Qualifications can be included within trailblazer standards as long as they fit certain criteria. However qualifications are no longer a mandatory component of an apprenticeship.

The assessment plan outlines the formal external assessment required for the standard, which is a mandatory part of the new trailblazer apprenticeships.

The assessment plan should include evidence of:

  • mixed methods of assessment
  • grading (at least 2 grades)
  • an end-point or synoptic assessment that assesses all aspects of the standard.