In its April 2021 report, the government acknowledged the “incredible challenges” posed by the uncertainty of Covid-19. Applauding apprenticeship providers and assessors, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) praised the flexibilities introduced in response to the pandemic, which have ensured that apprenticeships remain “a high value, high quality product”. This, according to the strategic guidance, is the agile approach needed to ensure that the Skills for Jobs requirements are met. During Covid, much of this agility has arisen from digital services, but as we move into 2022 this may change.
A Combined Response
As one of the most established learning methodologies, apprenticeships are traditionally a face-to-face experience. This is for multiple reasons. For instance, it combines practical advice with hands-on-learning, which provides both visual and kinetic educational experiences, accelerating the acquisition of skills. As such, employers, providers, and apprentices, are all keen to take the benefits of remote learning and blend them with the traditional face-to-face framework. 2022 is likely to see a move towards a hybrid digital/face to face approach to apprenticeships.
How Will Apprenticeships Be Different After The Pandemic?
New guidance has been issued regarding how and when apprentices can safely train in the workplace post-Covid. The guidance removes several of the high-risk contingency measures bought in during the pandemic, including:
- Confirming achievements by email rather than with certificates
- Allowing candidates to spend more than 50% of their time out of the country
- Permitting end-point assessment before FSQ achievement
Apprentices and employers will, therefore, be returning to a much more familiar training and assessment format, albeit with a continuing element of remote training.
In accordance with the Skills for Jobs whitepaper, as well as the findings of key summits such as COP26, apprenticeships are viewed as being central to the long-term economic future of the country. As such, financial incentives are being offered to encourage the development of skills. Any employer who has offered an apprenticeship from October 1st 2021 until 31st January 2022 can apply for a one-off £3,000 payment towards the costs of the apprenticeship.
Key Industries and Dates For The Diary
There are two clear areas of focus in the government’s agenda. The first is the need to stimulate economic recovery in key industries, especially in the legal sectors. Secondly, the commitment to creative problem solving in response to the global climate crisis demands innovation across STEM sectors, particularly engineering. As usual, these agendas will be discussed in detail in the upcoming National Apprenticeship Week, which is held from 7th – 13th February 2022. After the conference, Skilltech Solutions will be providing a bite-size takeaway with updates on any new developments, so watch this space!
The flexible and remote working conditions demanded by the pandemic have shown the resilience and value of apprenticeships. Now poised on the frontline of national recovery, the schemes are increasingly vital. To learn more about how to get involved, and about our tailored solutions for End Point Assessment organisations (EPAOs), please get in touch.
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