Trailblazers – the new Apprenticeship Standards

In November 2012, the government-commissioned the Richard Review of Apprenticeships which made a number of recommendations that would make Apprenticeships more rigorous and more responsive to employers’ needs, which the government subsequently accepted.

In October 2013, after consultation with employers, the government set out an Implementation Plan to replace the current Apprenticeship frameworks with employer-defined standards by putting employers in control and giving them a high degree of freedom to develop the standards and assessment approaches in a way that best meets the needs of their occupations and sectors.

Trailblazers are groups of employers coming together to develop an Apprenticeship Standard for a particular occupation. 11 new Standards have now been approved and more are currently in development. All new Apprentices starting in 2017/18 will undertake an Apprenticeship using these new employer-developed Apprenticeship Standards.


New definition of an Apprenticeship

An Apprenticeship is a job that requires substantial and sustained training, leading to the achievement of an Apprenticeship standard and the development of transferable skills.

This definition is underpinned by four principles of future Apprenticeships:

  1. An Apprenticeship is a job, in a skilled occupation.
  2. An Apprenticeship requires substantial and sustained training, lasting a minimum of 12 months and including off-the-job training.
  3. An Apprenticeship leads to full competency in an occupation, demonstrated by the achievement of an Apprenticeship standard that is defined by employers.
  4. An Apprenticeship develops transferable skills, including English and Maths, to progress careers.

In future, these principles will be used by employers, potential Apprentices, and education and training providers to determine when an Apprenticeship is, or is not, appropriate. Only programmes that adhere to these principles will be recognised as Apprenticeships and be eligible for government support.

There is one phase 2 Trailblazer currently in development for the Logistics Sector – for Maritime, and there are a number of phase 3 proposals under development for submission on 1st August 2014.

If you would like to get involved in Trailblazers please contact us at: [email protected]


Useful links:                                                       

Guidance for Phase 3 and funding information: –

List of additional Phase 1 standards:   –