College sector sees ‘unique’ step of registering as Trailblazer assessor

Leicester College has branched out from simply delivering apprenticeships in a college sector first by taking the “unique” step of registering with the Skills Funding Agency as a Trailblazer apprenticeship assessor.

Leicester, which taught around 2,400 apprentices last academic year, can provide end-point assessment for level two property maintenance operative apprenticeships, developed by the property services employer Trailblazer group. It is among other assessors for the apprenticeship, including City & Guilds among others.

“It is important the college is proactive within the evolving landscape of apprenticeship training,” a spokesperson for the college, rated as good by Ofsted in 2011, told FE Week.

“In June 2015, when the opportunity to become an apprentice end-point organisation arose Leicester College successfully applied for inclusion on the register.”

She added: “Although it is unique for an FE college to be on this register, we are well placed through our extensive facilities and expert apprenticeship team to deliver this.

“As an end-point assessment organisation we can support employers and lead providers in the delivery of assessment as part of an apprenticeship programme. Our involvement also allows us to disseminate apprenticeship changes to our own teams, employers and apprentices.”

The college currently offers more than 60 different types of apprenticeships, for example in engineering, hospitality and catering, and fashion and textiles. It would not be allowed to assess its own apprentices.

And the register also lists the geographical areas in which such organisations can assess.

Employer provider BT was also listed by the SFA as an assessment organisation for level four network engineer and software developer apprenticeships, developed by the digital industries Trailblazer group which the company is a member of.

A spokesperson for BT, which received a grade one Ofsted rating in May 2012 in a report that praised its “outstanding” apprenticeships provision for more than 1,600 learners, said: “Following conversations with the SFA, it was decided that BT should consider applying for the register of apprentice assessment organisations, given our involvement and pedigree in this area”.

He said that BT had “no immediate plans for the use of the registration” which it applied for in June, but it would provide “future options” and “could allow us to reach out, support and offer assistance to the sector as a whole”.