Trailblazer Standards for Apprenticeships.

Written on: 9 August 2016

Written by: Amanda McCombie



Apprenticeships equip the learner with the skills and tools needed for a successful career and are a genuine alternative to going to University. For employers, apprenticeships provide a highly efficient and effective means of developing the skills of their workforce.

The Richard review on apprenticeships highlighted key areas in which the apprenticeship framework could be improved. From these areas of improvement some key aims were defined, these are outlined by the as: [1]

  • Put employers in the driving seat. Apprenticeships will be based on standards designed by employers, making them more relevant and therefore more attractive to existing and new employers
  • Increase the quality of apprenticeships. An apprentice will need to demonstrate their competence through rigorous and holistic assessment. This will focus on the end of the apprenticeship to ensure that the apprentice is ready to progress.
  • Simplify the system. The new employer-designed standards will be short and easy to understand. They will describe the knowledge, skills, and behaviour that the individual needs to be fully competent in an occupation.

In the time following the establishment of these aims, the idea of a whole new take on apprenticeships was envisioned, and from this vision, the new Trailblazer standards were created.

What are the Trailblazer standards?  

A Trailblazer is made up of a group of employers who work together to design new apprenticeship standards for occupations within their sectors. Employers are now at the forefront of the development of Apprenticeships and learning aiming to produce people with workplace skills that are relevant to business and industry.

Each standard covers a specific job role and sets out the core skills, knowledge and behaviours an apprentice will need to be fully competent in their job role and meet the needs of employers in the sector.

An apprenticeship framework ordinarily involves a series of work related vocational and professional qualifications, with workplace and classroom based training. Frameworks will be phased out between now and 2020, as the apprenticeship system moves over to the employer-led apprenticeship standards.

Prior to the introduction of the apprenticeship levy and new apprenticeship funding system on 6th April 2017 employers have a choice of using the framework or standard delivery approach

For more information on trailblazers and how these changes will affect you and your business in recruiting an apprentice please click here! Alternatively, you can email us on or head over to our live chat where a member of the team will be happy to answer any of your questions!



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