De Vere strikes deal with NAS to introduce ‘short’ Access to Apprenticeships

An organisation whose apprenticeship programmes were placed under review has launched a new delivery model.

The De Vere Academy of Hospitality has launched their new apprenticeship programme, which will last a minimum of 12 months – a measure set out by skills minister John Hayes on Monday.

The firm says all apprentices will be in full employment with the De Vere group or its partners, following the successful completion of a short Access to Apprenticeships phase to prepare candidates to commence their apprenticeship.

It follows consultation with the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), as previously reported by FE Week, to redesign the academy’s apprenticeship programme to fit new apprenticeship standards.

Simon Waugh, NAS chief executive, said: “We are confident that the new delivery model proposed by De Vere, which provides young people with a minimum of 12 months programme, meets the comprehensive quality standards for Apprenticeship announced today, as well as continuing to meet the specific needs of employers in the sector and young people wanting to work in hospitality.

“Working in partnership with De Vere we will help small employers to access the recently announced wage incentive and engage in the Apprenticeship programme.”

The new De Vere Apprenticeship programme will formally launch on February 1.

Kellie Rixon, managing director at De Vere Academy said: “At a time of increasing youth unemployment, the De Vere Academy now has an even more robust structure that will allow more and more young people to become stars in the UK catering, hospitality, and service sectors, and we look forward to continue working closely with all of our valued partners who support us in our joint initiative.

“We are grateful for this further collaboration, support, and development being undertaken with NAS and we look forward to the continued strength of our relationship.”

Update: Response from NAS to a series of questions from FE Week

What will the Access to Apprenticeship entail?

Access to Apprenticeships were launched in August 2011, they are designed to provide help and support for young people aged 16-24 who need that extra boost in moving into employment as an apprentice. It is recognised that there are young people who have all the ambition and passion demanded by an Apprenticeship, but who need an opportunity to demonstrate to employers their commitment to work and study to the standards required. Access to Apprenticeships will give them this chance. Further information:

The De Vere programme supports young people, the majority of whom would not otherwise be in education, employment and training into a career into the hospitality sector. The four week Access element of their overall Apprenticeship programme will provide the young people with foundation work skills to ensure they are ready for employment in the sector and to move on to an Apprenticeship programme.

What qualification will the learners receive after completing the phase?

Young people on Access to Apprenticeships do not receive a separate qualification.

Access to Apprenticeships can be up to a maximum of six months. Every participant will be a prospective apprentice from the start, and we expect to see everyone progressing into a full Apprenticeship, employed and paid, as quickly as possible.  The presumption is that most young people will only be on Access to Apprenticeships for 3 months – some might take less time, others more. There is an absolute maximum duration of 6 months.

What percentage of learners do you expect to progress onto the full apprenticeship programme?

The expectation is that the majority of young people who start on the Access pathway will progress onto paid employment with De Vere and other employers in the sector and that they will complete their Apprenticeship.

Do Access to Apprenticeships count towards apprenticeship figures?

A participant on Access to Apprenticeships will not be categorised or counted as an ‘apprentice’ but they will work towards the elements of an Apprenticeship framework for up to a maximum of 6 months before moving to a full Apprenticeship with a contract of employment. They will count as an apprentice at the end of the Access pathway once they move into paid/contracted employment.

The majority of the time on Access will be spent in the workplace, where young people can prove their employability and aptitude to prospective employers. It is known that practical ‘hands-on’ learning works best to unlock potential and motivation, and this model will help more young people develop and demonstrate the skills and knowledge employers look for in apprentices and valued members of staff. The number of hours spent on Access to Apprenticeship is expected to be the same as those on a full Apprenticeship (30 hours a week or more).

How are they funded?

There is no new money to deliver Access to Apprenticeships. The budgets allocated to Apprenticeship providers will be utilised to deliver the Access pathway. Access to Apprenticeships is delivered by providers who offer the full Apprenticeship programme.

Operational Delivery

Further operational delivery information on how providers will be able to deliver this pathway and record participants onto the Individualised Learner Record (ILR) are outlined
in the Apprenticeship Funding Requirements 2011/12 and the technical ILR reporting document below.

the Access to Apprenticeships ILR reporting technical document (PDF)

the Q&As document regarding Access to Apprenticeships (PDF)

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  1. So answer me this please someone. Why when De Vere were undertaking 16 week apprenticeship programmes they didn’t feel the need to have this ‘access to apprenticeships’ programme, but now they are being forced into a minimum of 12 months apprenticeship programme there learners have to do an ‘access to apprenticeship’ course? Is this not another way of wasting of public funds?

  2. George Layfield

    This is exactly the kind of development that I was concerned about when I tweeted that length does not equate to quality and Shane Chowen gave a bizarre response “of course it’s linked. Would you have confidence in a 10 week A level?” Since the debate was about apprenticeships I didn’t respond at the time but wished I had.

    If other people take Shane’s simplistic view that provided the length of the apprenticeship reaches a minimum level then everything must be OK then we continue to have a problem. Keep an eye on this FE Week, you’re doing a tremendous job.