The publication by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) of the Professional Standards for Teachers and Trainers in Education and Training, and the supporting guidance, provides the sector with an inspirational yet realistic framework to build on.

Traditionally work-based learning and apprenticeship providers have far fewer graduate employees than other education sectors.

Most of our professional staff are skilled craftsmen and women direct from the industry shop floor rather than graduates via an academic route.

Solid vocational experience in the sector in which a work-based learning assessor/trainer operates is essential. It is the ‘dual role,’ so clearly expressed in the ETF’s standards, of vocational experience coupled with teaching and assessing skills that provides the professionalism required of staff to undertake this role.

These standards give employers in work-based learning an ideal opportunity under the new apprenticeship trailblazer pilots to implement a higher apprenticeship programme for our trainers and assessors at levels four and five.

What a marvellous example of practicing what we preach.

The ETF’s Professional Standards could form the standard for an apprenticeship in this sector for trainers and assessors

We advocate apprenticeships for the various sectors we operate in as the best route to train and develop their workforce so we should celebrate the fact that we develop our own staff through the apprenticeship route.

Again it will build empathy with the trainer-assessor’s learners to know their learner either has undertaken or is currently undertaking their own apprenticeship.

Promoting work-based learning (WBL) trainers and assessors into management roles presents its own problems for the sector, especially if they have no previous management experience.

I have learned to my cost over the years that a good trainer assessor does not necessarily make a good manager. The skillset required is completely different.

The management role in work-based learning is complex and demanding as with the rest of the sector. While the overriding skill has to be one of leadership, numerous other facets go to make up the job role. Again there is a case for employers in the sector to produce a trailblazer management apprenticeship framework for the WBL sector. While generalist management qualifications and apprenticeships are currently available, WBL training providers would need to devise specific modules for this sector.

The current skills minister’s approach to put employers in the forefront of apprenticeships and control of the content gives the WBL sector an ideal opportunity to take charge of the professional qualifications for WBL trainers, assessors and managers through our own advanced and higher level three, four and five apprenticeship programmes. The ETF’s Professional Standards for Teachers and Trainers in Education and Training could form the standard for an apprenticeship in this sector for trainers and assessors. The Institute of Leadership and Management’s management modules together with WBL specific modules form the basis for a WBL management apprenticeship.

Employers from the sector, possibly facilitated by the Association of Employment and Learning Providers could come together to initially persuade the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills of the need for our WBL apprenticeships to be included in the trailblazer pilots, and then to produce the standards and frameworks for the pilot.

Are we brave enough to practice what we preach?

John Hyde is the chairman of Hit Training