From trailblazers to mainstream

20 August 2015 Daniel Sandford-Smith

A new think piece by Professor Ewart Keep poses important questions about future apprenticeship reforms.

In ‘From trailblazers to mainstream – some issues relating to future development of apprenticeship policy and delivery in England’, Professor Keep explores some of the issues that may arise during the transition from existing apprenticeship policy to the mainstreaming of new Trailblazer standards.

Trailblazers are groups of employers who, working with professional bodies, are developing new standards and assessment criteria for a reformed apprenticeship system. Once implemented the new standards should create apprenticeships that give participants broad transferable skills and full competency in an occupation. The paper argues that to see the full success of the new standards, in terms of quality and quantity, the reforms will require considerable amounts of political capital and attention.

To spark thinking of how the Trailblazer reforms might best be delivered, Professor Keep discusses funding systems, the levy, localism, and the ability of Private Training Providers to deliver the changes in the light of past policy. He ends his paper with 11 questions he believes need to be taken account of by policy makers to support an effective reform rollout.