Trailblazer Apprenticeships are coming - so what will they look like?
A Trailblazer apprenticeship is typically made up of two components: the ‘On-programme’ component, which is the learning, training and formative assessment delivered by the provider for the duration of the apprenticeship, and the ‘End-Point Assessment’, an assessment of the learning delivered at the end of the programme. Some Trailblazers will also have a ‘Gateway’ assessment, an assessment of skills and knowledge conducted partway through the programme which is used to confirm that an apprentice is ready to take their End-Point Assessment.
Each Trailblazer Apprenticeship has two key documents
- The Standard is a two-page document which outlines the occupational profile and skills, knowledge and behaviours required to perform in that role
- The Assessment Plan gives details about what will be included in the End-Point Assessment. It also describes any grading methodology used
This represents the bulk of the apprenticeship programme, and includes all of the learning, training and formative assessment that takes place prior to the End Point Assessment. As such, the On-programme component will be months or even years long, depending on the duration of the apprenticeship. It’s important to note that On-programme learning and assessment does not typically count towards achievement of a Trailblazer apprenticeship. The End Point Assessment is used to determine overall competency and achievement.
During the On-programme component, apprentices will carry out tasks and complete learning which allows them to master the skills, knowledge and behaviours summarised in the two-page Standard.
On-programme can include such things as:
- Workplace training and assessment
- Classroom-based learning and assessment
- Workbooks, logs and journals
- Achievement of qualifications
- Maths, English and ICT (as required by the Standard)
Gateway assessment is not used in all Trailblazer apprenticeships, but where it exists, it is used prior to the End Point Assessment to determine that an apprentice is ready to take their final test. Generally, the On-programme element must be completed, along with any component qualifications, before Gateway assessment is initiated. Gateway assessment, as with the On-programme component, cannot be carried out by the Independent Assessment Organisation.
For each Trailblazer, End Point Assessment (EPA) is designed by the employer group but carried out by an Independent Assessment Organisation, of which there may be several. The Skills Funding Agency currently approves organisations to offer EPA for each Trailblazer. These ‘Apprenticeship Assessment Organisations’ must be independent of the delivery and must have no vested interest in the success or failure of the apprentice.
The design of the EPA varies from Trailblazer to Trailblazer, as it is determined by the employer group and is designed to meet the requirements of the Standard. Details of what the End Point Assessment looks like can be found in each Trailblazer’s Assessment Plan.
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