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Ensuring apprentices gain the right knowledge

PUBLISHED: 06:00 20 June 2018

New apprenticeship standards are on the way. Picture: submitted

New apprenticeship standards are on the way. Picture: submitted

Archant

What are Apprenticeship Standards?

Standards have been developed by a group of employers within the sector to ensure high quality and relevant skills are being taught by Colleges and are replacing traditional frameworks. From September 2018 Easton and Otley College will be delivering new standards for LBSE at level 2 and 3.

What’s Different?

After running Level 2 and Level 3 Agricultural Engineering Apprenticeship frameworks for several years, Easton and Otley College will be moving to the new standards this year and are looking forward to delivering them from a bespoke facility designed specifically for the sector.

Whilst the NVQ Level 2 Diploma is no longer a mandatory part of the apprenticeship standard, it will continue to be incorporated as a qualification by the College and will run alongside the apprenticeship to ensure the apprentice and employers gain more ‘value added’ from the course.

The new standards implement a series of practical assessments to enable apprentices to better demonstrate their competency in practically carrying out certain tasks whilst also evidencing their capability to develop and understand the learning theory behind them.

The format of the apprenticeship programme is the development of a portfolio of evidence through selected units which aims to build key knowledge, skills and behaviours through practical evidence and assessment methods for the duration of the programme. Pathways can be selected depending on individual roles and responsibilities and units cover a wide range of subjects including: - hydraulics, engines, electrics and welding.

The Level 3 programme gives access to specialised industry trainers, often from manufacturers and dealerships, to enhance the training in hydraulics and electronics in particular.

The noticeable change from a business perspective is the standards require more supportive involvement from the employer with the appointment of a ‘mentor’, which we feel gives added weight to this qualification.

Working closely with mentors, the college will train the apprentice in basic competencies through to advanced areas of practise to enable them to become knowledgeable in their chosen vocational sector.

We provide a free half day course in mentor training for all employers which is certified and is proving a real hit with our partners.

Another change requires apprentices to pass through a ‘Gateway’ where they need to successfully complete an End Point Assessment (EPA) which compares to taking a driving test after having lessons! The EPA evidences occupational competency through a series of practical assessments, interviews and portfolio assessment and is assessed by external assessment agencies to ensure all apprentices achieve a nationally recognised qualification.

It is ultimately the employer/mentor who makes the decision to enter the apprentice for their EPA which will be graded for the first time.

The benefits

It is envisaged the new standards will enhance the apprentice’s learning, and more importantly provide employers with the calibre of technician they require to bring their workforce up to current demanding standards, especially in the areas of electronics and GPS technologies.

Our programmes will allow you to develop and grow talent within your business providing skilled workers for the future.

To find out more about upskilling a current employee or recruiting a new apprentice please call us on 01603 731317 for an initial discussion or email connect@eastonotley.ac.uk.

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