Trailblazer Apprenticeships Update

The rolling out of new Hair and Beauty Apprenticeship Trailblazer Standards have suffered a setback with the government announcing, during National Apprenticeship Week in March, that it was rejecting the proposed qualification and assessment  method linked to the beauty apprenticeship standards.

Vitality Editor Eilidh MacRae tells us more...

This means the new Beauty Standards won’t be ready to be delivered in May when the new Hair Apprenticeship Standards, which was approved by the government in January, are due to be implemented.

Tina Rook, head of education at Saks Apprenticeships,one of the Steering Group Members behind developing the Hair and Beauty Standards, said:

 "We’re incrediblydisappointed that the qualification within these standards has been rejected, yet the same proposed 
qualification and assessment methods have been accepted for hair.’

Work on the new Trailblazer apprenticeship framework was started in 2013 when the government announced rigorous reform to  make apprenticeships more responsive to employers’ needs and to ensure they did, the government put employers in the driving seat of the reforms with the intention of both increasing the quality of apprenticeships and simplifying the apprenticeship  system.

In October last year the Hair and Beauty Steering Group was split into two groups, dividing the hair Apprenticeship Standards from Beauty and both the new apprenticeship frameworks were scheduled to be phased in from May. Although the Hair standards will be accepted by the government in January and will be implemented in May, the failure of the government to endorse the new Beauty standard leaves, for now, the existing apprenticeship framework in place for beauty therapist apprentices.

“We can only speculate about the repercussions of this qualification being rejected,” added Tina Rook.

The new standards differ from old style apprenticeshipsbecause they’ve been devised by the industry’s key employers specifically to meet the requirements for working in their own organisations and are designed to be highly relevant to employer demand as well as safeguarding an apprentice’s employability.

The new Beauty standard (submitted and rejectedby the government) included Beauty Therapy and Nail services and a newly introduced standard for Beauty and Make up Consultancy aimed at apprentices working in beauty retail.

Apprenticeship and skills minister, Robert Halfon said:

"We’ve put employers at the heart of apprenticeships because it is employers who know the skills, learning and experience their 
future workforce needs to succeed."

He added

"Our reforms to apprenticeships are all about quality, quality, and quality. We don’t just want three million apprenticeships by
 2020, we want three million quality apprenticeships."

The newly formed Institute for Apprenticeships is designed to ensure employers get the skills they need to succeed out of the apprenticeship system and facilitate employers finding the right apprentices for their businesses.

The government is also spearheading the Get In, Go Far flagship campaign to promote apprenticeships and highlighting the benefits apprentices can bring to a business.

In May, STEP funding arrangements for small businesses will be simplified so those who don’t pay the apprenticeship levy  (businesses with a wage bill under£3m) can access government money to fund 90 per cent of training and assessment costs for an  apprentice or, if the apprentice is 16 to 18 years old and the business has under 50 staff, 100 per cent of the costs.

There’s also a £1,000 Teen Grant for businesses who take on an apprentice aged 16 to 18 or a 19 to 25 year old who has been in care. 

There’s additional support too for businesses who take on apprentices with learning needs.

Employing an apprentice has consequently become much easier at a time when the rising cost of university tuition fees is seeing more young people opting for on the job learning through an apprenticeship. Small
businesses, in all sectors, are set to recruit over 202,000 new apprentices in the next 12 months.

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses said:

"Small firms understand that apprenticeships make good business sense. Having apprentices can be a real asset for many smaller businesses and are vital to the future of the UK Economy."

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