A key shift in training

The new floorlayer apprenticeship standard is officially up-and-running and being delivered says Shaun Wadsworth.

AS stated above training providers have begun to deliver the new apprenticeship standard, but for context I feel it’s a good idea to recap on how we got here.

It all stems back to the implementation of the biggest reform of the apprenticeship system in England in recent years. In 2012 an independent report produced on the future of apprenticeships was published by Doug Richard (commonly referred to as the Richard Review).

Within the report were key recommendations identified to restructure the apprenticeship system currently in use:

Redefining apprenticeships: They should be targeted only at those who are new to a job or role that requires sustained and substantial training.

Focusing on the outcome of an apprenticeship - what the apprentice can do when they complete their training - and freeing up the process by which they get there. Trusted, independent assessment is key.
Recognised industry standards should form the basis of every apprenticeship.

All apprentices should reach a proficient level in English and maths before they can complete their apprenticeship.

Government funding must create the right incentives for apprenticeship training. The purchasing power for investing in apprenticeship training should lie with the employer.
Greater diversity and innovation in training - with employers and government safeguarding quality.

Over the past two years, an employer group made up of CFA and NICF members, chaired by Fita chairman Alan Gayle and supported by CITB, developed an apprenticeship standard to a point where it is now being run by several providers in 2019.

Much consideration was given to the CFA’s involvement in the development of a new apprenticeship standard, especially as the sector as a whole was, at the time, very happy with the existing apprenticeship framework and related funding support.

Understandably the CFA wanted to ensure support was offered to leading employers to help ensure the quality of the floorlayer apprenticeship was maintained to the highest levels with no dilution: The new floorlayer apprenticeship standard had to generate more apprenticeship starts in the sector year on year and guarantee that on completion of the qualification a CSCS card could also be obtained.

I’m happy to say this was achieved in full, with the apprenticeship being set with a typical duration period of 30-36 months, with clear guidelines on how competency will be achieved and a guarantee that on completion of the floorlayer apprenticeship standard, a skilled worker CSCS card could be gained as well.

The floorlayer apprenticeship standard relies on a summative assessment method (end-point assessment) but also makes the decision-making process on apprenticeship achievement independent by using an external assessor to deliver the decision-making section of the apprenticeship.

This end-point assessment (EPA) will incorporate three distinct assessment methods completed in the order stated:

  • Online multiple-choice knowledge test (KT)
  • Practical assessment (PA)
  • Professional discussion (PD)
  • The performance of the apprentice in EPA will determine the apprenticeship grade of fail, pass or distinction.

In December 2018 CITB hosted a focus implementation launch to ensure all training providers and end-point assessment organisations have a clear understanding of the requirement, and to ensure everyone works to a common procedure, ensuring no candidates are disadvantaged.

This launch was very well attended and was a great opportunity for all parties to meet, in addition to some key decisions being made.

Two important decisions were based around the overlap of both apprenticeship types. It was agreed at the meeting that no apprentice could be registered to the old framework past 31 July 2019.
Most training providers would begin staggered intakes of floorlayer apprentices on the new standard from January through to May 2019.

This is great commitment by the training providers to really embrace the new apprenticeship standard and reinforces the flooring industry’s commitment to being at the forefront of training at this level.

With such a large shift in the way that apprenticeships are delivered and assessed it’s paramount the CFA is ready to offer support, advice and guidance to the industry. Therefore, now that the new apprenticeship standard has been agreed and introduced to the sector it will become a main focus for me as training manager for the CFA to provide clear signposting on all matters of apprenticeships including;

  • How apprenticeships are funded
  • How the CITB levy and apprenticeship levy work together but aren’t the same thing
  • How to claim CITB grant for training
  • Guidance on end-point assessment
  • Where to advertise for apprentices
  • Increasing apprentices within the sector

Some of this signposting will follow set routes already established for other types of training but owing to the nature of the changes being introduced with apprenticeships, notifying the industry specifically of those changes is vital to ensure the correct information is given at the right time.

Here at the CFA the main vehicle for that information is the 2019 CFA Training Guide which was published in January of this year. It has a clear breakdown of all the matters raised above set out in an easy-to-read format.

The CFA is also going to be working hard to support the training providers tasked with delivering this floorlayer apprenticeship standard and the end-point assessment organisation tasked with testing for competency, and last but not least employers looking to employ apprentices.

Currently, we’re in a migration period which will prove challenging for all parties involved, including the training providers as they deliver the old framework apprenticeship and the new apprenticeship standard.
But as an industry working together to ensure we safeguard the skills and techniques needed to be competent floorlayers, this shift in training is key.

In the meantime, any questions regarding training and in particular the new floorlayer apprenticeship standard or for a copy of this year’s CFA Training Guide, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
M: 07554 015215
0115 9411126
Shaun Wadsworth is CFA training manager