Whether an assessor, a leader or a governor, staff involved with apprenticeships now have a new route through which to skill up, writes David Russell

National Apprenticeship Week is always a fantastic boost for everyone who works in that field. The following week can feel a bit of a downer, though, like the morning after the night before.  

So I’m delighted to say that the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) is still standing after the party with serious new career development opportunities for staff who deliver apprenticeships. 

Many in the further education and training sector were deeply disappointed when the ETF’s highly valued “Future Apprenticeships” programme came to an end in 2018. And although we have kept offering support since then, it was at a much-reduced level.  

Contrast was often drawn between the Department for Education’s excellent investment in the ETF’s T Levels Professional Development programme, and the thinner support available for the much larger number of staff already delivering apprenticeships. 

So full credit to the DfE for setting this right with the announcement in the white paper of a new Apprenticeships Workforce Development (AWD) programme. 

Although currently smaller than the Future Apprenticeships programme was, the fact the AWD is named in the white paper gives good reason to believe it will grow in the future.  

The fully-funded programme – designed and delivered by the ETF to be lockdown compliant – is available through the ETF’s professional development platform (at pdp.etfoundation.co.uk).  

There are four strands with eight online courses to support teachers, trainers, assessors, and leaders involved in apprenticeship training and delivery. 

Assessor to Teacher

The Assessor to Teacher strand targets professionals who have worked within apprenticeships for some time but completed limited or no teacher training. The two courses, Understanding How We Learn and Developing How to Teach help participants explore the theory and process of how to plan inclusive teaching sessions.  

Effective Technical Teaching

The Effective Technical Teaching strand’s two courses, Enhancing Pedagogy and Professional Practice and Preparing for End Point Assessment Success, ensures all participants are aware of and understand what is needed for effective apprenticeship practice.  

This includes apprentice preparation for gateway and end-point assessment in terms of teaching methods and techniques, including higher technical teaching skills. 

Technical Curriculum Design

The Technical Curriculum Design strand is designed to improve the effectiveness of curriculum development and increase the use of practical approaches to scheduling of learning.  

The two courses in the strand, Effective Curriculum Design in Practice and Principles and Models of Curriculum Design, support staff and leaders to plan and deliver an effective curriculum that incorporates the needs of the learner and employers. 

Apprenticeships Leadership

The Apprenticeships Leadership strand ensures operational leaders, who manage the delivery of the apprenticeship offer within a provider, have the skills to implement effective recruitment processes, support strong information advice and guidance.  

The strand’s two courses, Developing Your Team and Effective Use of Resources, develop participants’ abilities in managing the subject area and employer relationships.  

Strategic Leadership and Governance

The final strand, Strategic Leadership and Governance, is being delivered in partnership with the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, alongside the Association of Colleges.  

Designed for leaders and governors at any type of apprenticeship provider, this strand is made up of three module-based, online interactive workshops delivered in spring. 

The AWD programme signals a new era of partnership between the ETF and AELP

AELP in particular have unparalleled experience in understanding the needs of apprenticeships providers, and have thought a great deal about design and delivery of leadership development for independent training providers.  

The modules are also facilitated by Anna Morrison, director of Amazing Apprenticeships, and Chris Lang, chief operating officer and director at professional services firm International Limited, with talks from other industry experts. 

The AWD programme signals a new era of partnership between the ETF and AELP, which can only get stronger.  

After an extremely tough year for the sector, collaboration for mutual benefit is the responsibility of everyone.