Press release

Institute for Apprenticeships guidance published for consultation

Further details of how the Institute for Apprenticeships will operate is set out in draft strategic guidance.


Guidance from government to help ensure all apprenticeships are of the highest quality and deliver the skills that employers need have been set out by government today (4 January 2017), with further details of how the new Institute for Apprenticeships will operate.

From April 2017, the Institute for Apprenticeships will help ensure employers get the quality skills that they need from the apprenticeships system by acting as the ultimate decision maker on approving apprenticeship standards and assessment plans.

Further details of how the institute will operate have today been set out in draft strategic guidance.

Independent, and with employers at its heart, the Institute for Apprenticeships will be responsible for approving new apprenticeship standards and how apprentices will be assessed to ensure they respond to the needs of business and give learners the skills and experience they need to succeed.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Robert Halfon said:

We are building an apprenticeships nation which will give millions of people a ladder of opportunity to secure the job they want and deliver the skills our economy needs.

We know apprenticeships work - 90% of apprentices go on to secure a job and nobody understands the skills employers need better than employers themselves. That is why we are introducing the Institute for Apprenticeships.

With employers at its heart, it will be charged with approving standards to ensure they are the highest quality.

The strategic guidance, published for consultation today, sets out in draft advice from the government to help it take forward the programme of reform to raise the quality of apprenticeships, giving employers more control over their content and assessment.

Under the measures set out under the Technical and Further Education Bill, the Institute for Apprenticeships remit will also expand to encompass all technical education and will deliver reforms across both apprenticeships-based and college-based routes, ensuring a more consistent approach to high-quality technical and skills-based education.

This will build further on the government’s upcoming industrial strategy, revitalising the economy by delivering high skills, high wages, and an environment where businesses across the UK can thrive.

The guidance confirms the institute’s main functions:

  • to set quality criteria for the development of apprenticeship standards and assessment plans
  • to review, approve or reject them
  • to advise on the maximum level of government funding available for standards
  • to ensure arrangements are in place to quality assure all end point assessments

Alongside the Institute for Apprenticeships, groups of employers called ‘trailblazers’ are designing new apprenticeship standards that set out the exact skills, knowledge and behaviours needed. There are more than 1,400 employers involved in developing new apprenticeships with 260 apprenticeship standards already published.

These new apprenticeships are in a broad range of sectors from nuclear to fashion, banking and defence. We are committed to ensuring apprenticeships are a high-quality and prestigious path to a successful career. Through the apprenticeship levy, we will be investing £2.5 billion in apprenticeships; that is double what was spent on apprenticeships in 2010 to 2011. This will support our commitment for all people to get the best start in life.

Notes to editors

  1. Read the consultation

  2. The Institute for Apprenticeships will be responsible for setting quality criteria for the development of apprenticeship standards and assessment plans; reviewing, approving or rejecting them; determining the maximum level of government funding available for standards; and quality assuring some end point assessments.

  3. There have been 4,300 starts on new standards in occupations such as software developer and aerospace engineer.

  4. Before being approved for development, employers still have to demonstrate that all new proposed apprenticeships will meet a high-quality bar, leading to rigorous and substantial training of at least a year to achieve full competence and being at a sufficient level to generate the transferability that would enable the apprentice to undertake the role in a business of any size. Over the past year, 60% of new apprenticeship proposals have been rejected as a result of them not meeting these key quality criteria, ensuring that only high-quality, skilled apprenticeships are being developed.

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Published 4 January 2017