EXCLUSIVE: Institute for Apprenticeships appoints first director

EXCLUSIVE: Institute for Apprenticeships appoints first director

The first permanent employee of the Institute for Apprenticeships has finally been appointed, after ongoing delays and an absence of information about who would run the important new body. 

Anastasia (Ana) Osbourne, formerly employed in the Enterprise Directorate at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, was introduced as the IfA’s new ‘deputy director of approvals’, to an audience of over 100 delegates at a private Trailblazer Conference on January 24.

The conference, which was run by the Department for Education, took place in Birmingham and was attended by employers who have been designing apprenticeship standards.

The lucky audience witnessed both a welcome to the event and a presentation from Ms Osbourne in her new post, which is just one of six deputy director positions that will help to ensure the Institute fulfils its role of ‘policing’ apprenticeships.

Individuals appointed to the other five jobs will cover assessment and quality; corporate effectiveness; data; funding; and standards, creation and review.

According to the Department for Education’s deputy director job pack, the deputy director of approvals will carry out four main functions.

Ms Osbourne will be expected to “coordinate and support the operation of the approvals process for apprenticeship standards and technical education standards”.

She will also “work with route committees and others to ensure excellent quality assurance practice governs the approvals process including induction, standardisation, monitoring, review, risk assessment and feedback mechanisms”.

Finally, her position awards her responsibility for building “effective relationships with stakeholders” and working with “analysts and others to develop occupational maps”.

Delegates at the DfE conference were also informed that operational plan for the IfA would be published and its board members announced “before the end of the month”.

However, FE Week now understands that both of these announcements are expected tomorrow (January 27).

Check back with FE Week then for further details.

Shadow skills minister Gordon Marsden recently attacked the government’s creation of the IfA as “a complete shambles”, claiming in an exclusive FE Week expert piece that it was “in danger of becoming a huge scandal”.

He said: “Even though it will be charged with implementing a flagship policy, it has yet to advertise for a permanent chief and deputy chief executive, and we now have less than three months before it goes live.

“The muddle has been there from day one … What is paralysing the department?”

However, when challenged by FE Week on the reasons for delaying hires to the IfA, the DfE refused to admit that deadlines had been missed.

“The roles of permanent chief executive and deputy at the IfA will be publicly advertised in due course, following the appointment of the board members,” said a spokesperson.

“The current post-holders were appointed on an interim basis to drive forward the creation of the IfA ahead of its launch in April.”