Construction Industry Council Consultation on Technical Apprenticeships and Higher Apprenticeships. in England and Wales

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1 Construction Industry Council Consultation on Technical Apprenticeships and Higher Apprenticeships in England and Wales

2 Table of contents Executive Summary...4 The Aim...4 Background to the consultation...4 The different apprenticeship structures...5 Higher Apprenticeship Levels in England and Wales...6 Qualifications for Competence...6 The Survey Methodology...6 Sample...7 Key Findings...7 Next Steps...8 Online Survey Findings...9 Figure 1: Q 2. Where in the UK does your organisation operate?...9 Figure 2: Q.3 The size of your organisation...10 Figure 3: Q4 Does your organisation offer apprenticeships?...10 Figure 4: Q5 Do you tend to employ staff with the following qualifications...11 Figure 5: Q6 Would your organisation be interested in developing a Technical or Higher Apprenticeship?...12 Table 1 illustrates the technical occupational areas in which employers are interested in developing apprenticeships...13 Figure 6: Q7 Do you see a need for Level 3 Advanced Technical Apprenticeships in your organisation/sector?...14 Figure 7: Q8 Do you see a need for Higher Apprenticeships in your organisation?...15 Figure 8: Q9 What type of employee would you envisage undertaking a Level 3 Technical Apprenticeship?...17 Figure 9: Q10 What type of employee would you envisage undertaking a Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4 and above)?...18 Figure 10: Q11 Higher Level Apprenticeship frameworks may include a Foundation Degree as the sole competence and knowledge elements within their structure. Do you think that this model would enable the learner to develop occupational competence to the required industry level?...19 Figure 11: Q12 Would you prefer to use an NVQ Diploma rather than a Foundation Degree to assess occupational competence in the workplace?...21 Figure 12: Summary of responses to questions 11 and 12. Respondents were asked to indicate their preference for either the Foundation Degree or the NVQ as a means of assessing competence

3 Figure 13: Q13 Would you like HNC/HNDs to be the main learning qualification within a Higher Apprenticeship?...23 Figure 14: Q14 Would you like Foundation Degrees to be the main learning qualification within a Higher Apprenticeship?...24 Figure 15: Preference for using the HNC/D or Foundation Degree to deliver competence and learning. Combines the responses to questions 13 and In Q15 and Q16 respondents were asked for their views on the importance of Technical and Higher Apprenticeships providing pathways to professional membership...26 English Apprenticeship Frameworks...28 Figure 16: Q17. Which structure(s) would you wish to see in the Level 3 Advanced Technical Apprenticeship framework (you may select more than one option)...28 Figure 17: Q18. Which structure(s) would you wish to see in a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship framework (you may select more than one option)...29 Figure 18: Q19. Which structure(s) would you wish to see in a Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship framework (you may select more than one option)...30 Welsh Apprenticeship Framework...31 Figure 19: Q20. Which structure(s) would you wish to see in the Level 3 Apprenticeship framework? (you may select more than one option)...31 Figure 20: Q21. Which structure(s) would you wish to see in a Higher Apprenticeship framework (covers Levels 4 and above)? (you may select more than one option)...32 References...33 Appendix Advanced Technical Apprenticeship model (January 2010)...34 An operational view of the new proposed Technical Apprenticeship Model...38 Appendix 2 Careers Progression Maps for England and Wales...39 Appendix A list of respondents to the survey...41 List of employer types who responded to the survey

4 Executive Summary The Aim The Construction Industry Council (CIC), as a partner in ConstructionSkills, is seeking to develop a coherent strategy on Advanced Technical (Level 3) and Higher Apprenticeships (Levels 4/5) for the sector. Potentially there are several models that could be applied to deliver apprenticeships and various issues that need to be considered in more detail. It is important that key stakeholders in the sector influence the need for, and pattern of, any proposals for apprenticeships. This will ensure that we address the key skills gaps in the industry such as sustainable development, low carbon technologies and maintenance and repair. To achieve this aim CIC has conducted a consultation with industry stakeholders related to the professional community. This has covered the various issues and alternatives for Advanced Technical and Higher Apprenticeships within the sector. Background to the consultation The lack of tradition of adopting apprenticeships in the professional community coupled with the uncertainties about types of qualifications and apprenticeship structures and the need to ensure professional development pathways, all conspire to make this a more challenging situation. Nevertheless, Government policy continues to push the value of apprenticeships to industry. The more recent introduction of Higher Apprenticeships has added further stimulus to address the issue for the professional community. Under the new Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE) and Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for Wales (SASW) criteria, a number of different models can be adopted when developing Advanced Technical and Higher Apprenticeships that follow different patterns. In a recent online survey conducted by CIC (March 2011) 82% of respondents indicated that in light of the Government s review of Higher Education spending and the increase in tuition fees for students, they would support more work related or apprenticeship routes in order to help students reach professional/chartered status. According to the CBI Skills Survey, 26% of firms expect problems recruiting technicians in the next 3 years (Building for Growth: Business Priorities for Education and Skills 2011). Traditionally apprenticeships have been associated with crafts so there has been a low uptake of technician level apprenticeships within the industry. Technical and Higher level apprenticeships need a champion to stimulate awareness among professional employers. 4

5 In the Fair Access to the Professions report Government recommended that Professional Institutions should strive to improve access to the professions. CIC recently developed a careers map to highlight the different progression routes for new entrants into the industry and existing construction professionals. The map covers craft, technical and professional careers (see Appendix 2). Each individual professional institution will have additional requirements that individual applicants need to satisfy in order to satisfy membership criteria. Institutions may also have entry routes for non standard applicants who may have industry experience but lack formal qualifications. For instance the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Associate Membership grade (AssocRICS UK) is open to non graduates working in the property sector. In recent years CIC have previously consulted stakeholders on the subject of Advanced Technical Apprenticeships. As a result, a model framework for Technical Apprenticeships has been identified (see Appendix 1). The model brings together the individual component parts of the apprenticeship into a single diploma qualification under the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). In 2010 a consortium of employers launched a civil engineering Advanced Technical Apprenticeship with the support of Transport for London (TfL) and Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). The apprenticeship model covers a range of civil engineering disciplines. Apprentices can work towards gaining TMICE membership grade and register with the Engineering Council as Engineering Technicians (EngTech). CIC, as a partner in ConstructionSkills, have also been closely involved in the University Vocational Awards Council (UVAC) Higher Apprenticeship working group. This group is currently developing a Higher Apprenticeship framework which is based on Foundation Degrees as the main competence and knowledge qualification. The different apprenticeship structures We are looking at two types of apprenticeship which have been recently given new criteria by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and by the Welsh Assembly. Advanced Technical (Levels 3) and Higher Apprenticeships (Levels 4 & 5) apply to England and Apprenticeship (Level 3) and Higher Apprenticeship (Levels 4 and above) apply to Wales. Advanced Technical Apprenticeships incorporate a National Vocational Qualification Diploma/Skills qualification at Level 3, Key or Functional Skills, a Technical Certificate (learning qualification e.g. National Certificate) at Level 3 and Employee Rights and Responsibilities (ERR). Higher Apprenticeships have recently been introduced and currently have a similar component structure to that described above for Advanced Technical Apprenticeships, but set at level 4 or 5 and using for example, NVQ Diplomas at Level 4 or 5 and a Higher National Certificate (HNC). Foundation Degrees (FDs) can also be used either as a learning component, or as a qualification that relates to both learning and competence. NVQ Diplomas are competence based qualifications which are based on national occupational standards (NOS). They describe the competencies required by an individual to carry out a particular job function relating to their job role to a specified industry benchmark. Foundation Degrees are knowledge based qualifications with a work based element. 5

6 Higher Apprenticeship Levels in England and Wales Under the new SASE criteria the Higher Apprenticeship frameworks are set at Levels 4 and 5. However, many of the industry s NVQ Diploma qualifications that would be relevant for Higher Apprenticeships are set at Level 6 on the QCF and therefore fall outside the apprenticeship framework criteria. In Wales under the SASW criteria the Higher Apprenticeship framework covers Levels 4, 5 and above so this issue does not arise. This issue has been raised by ConstructionSkills with Government regulators as it fails to recognise the needs of the industry. The feedback from BIS on this issue has stipulated that no further amendments to the SASE criteria are possible at this time. The current SASE criteria pose a barrier to apprenticeships gaining full professional membership as Level 6 qualifications are a minimum requirement. It was noted in the recent National Apprenticeship Service report (2011) that Level 6 is the minimum entry requirement for membership of many professional institutions. If we are to promote more uptake of Higher Level Apprenticeships we would need to see an amendment to the SASE criteria to include a Level 6 Higher Apprenticeship framework. Qualifications for Competence Under the SASE criteria, competence may be assessed in a Higher Level 4 framework by an NVQ Diploma. Within a Higher Level 5 framework competence can be assessed by an NVQ Diploma and/or a Foundation Degree (which can be used to deliver both the competence and knowledge elements of an apprenticeship). Under the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for Wales (SASW) criteria a NVQ diploma can be used to deliver competence within a Higher Level Apprenticeship framework (Levels 4, 5 and 6). The Survey Methodology We consulted with construction industry employers, professional institutions and education and training providers to establish whether Advanced Technical and Higher Apprenticeships are the best way to deliver the higher level skills required by the industry. Using an online questionnaire we gathered the views of the key stakeholders in the sector, in order to establish whether apprenticeships at different levels are required by industry and which preferred model(s) should be encouraged to allow for progression and meet the industry s needs. A bulk was sent to CIC members informing them that the survey was online. The survey was also made available to employers, practitioners and education providers through the CIC Cascade electronic newsletter and CIC Skills electronic newsletter which have 1,200 and 2800 members respectively. 6

7 Sample There were 44 responses in total to the survey. A full list of responding organisations and employers occupational areas can be viewed in Appendix 3. The sample included 15 employers, 9 professional institutions and 20 responses from education and training providers. This is not a statistically sound sample, but it is representative of English and Welsh regions and a range of construction related occupational areas (See Figure 1). Comments from Professional Institutions are applicable across the UK. Whilst by no means a large scale study the results can be viewed as generally indicative of the views of the key stakeholders involved in the construction industry. Key Findings Support for Advanced Technical and Higher Apprenticeships All of the key stakeholder groups indicated that they are interested in developing both Advanced Technical and Higher Apprenticeships for a variety of professional, managerial and technical occupations. Recognition of Apprenticeships for Professional Membership Professional institutions are supportive of Advanced Technical and Higher Apprenticeships and view them as an important learning route for professional membership. A Level 3 Apprenticeship would be generally recognised as contributing towards Associate Membership whilst the Higher Apprenticeship would be recommended for Technical Membership. The entry point for professions such as architecture, landscape architecture and town planning is currently a degree Level 6 or post graduate Level 7 qualification. Therefore, not all the professions have a business requirement for apprenticeships at the moment. However, this may change as the introduction of higher university fees may impact on student applications. Employers and education and training providers surveyed in this sample indicated that a route to professional membership would be important for both Advanced Technical and Higher Level Apprenticeships. Profile of Employees Undertaking an Apprenticeship (Levels of Experience and Educational Attainment) All respondents to the survey indicated that the Level 3 Technical Apprenticeship and the Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4 and above) would be suitable for candidates across the full spectrum of experience and qualification attainment. However, some limited prior experience was preferred for Advanced Technical Apprenticeships and more experience for Higher Apprenticeships. Feedback on the Different Qualifications Used in Apprenticeship Frameworks It is apparent from the overall pattern of responses and some contradictory results, that there are differences of understanding within the sector about the respective levels, purposes and relationships between academic, vocational and professional qualifications. In different circumstances there was support for using NVQ Diplomas, Vocational Related Qualifications, National Certificates/Diplomas, Higher National Certificates/Diplomas and Foundation Degrees within the Technical and Higher Apprenticeship frameworks. 7

8 Qualifications for Technical Apprenticeships in England and Wales For Technical Apprenticeships the NVQ Diploma is recognised with no clear preference between Vocational Related Qualifications and NCs as the supporting learning qualification. Qualifications for Higher Apprenticeships in England and Wales Employers and F/HE respondents appear to support Foundation Degrees as a single qualification to cover the competence and learning requirements of a Higher Apprenticeship. However, this is contradicted and qualified in many instances as not being the complete answer. When the Foundation Degree is considered in relation to learning qualifications, there is a contradictory response from the employers, who join the professional body respondents in rejecting the Foundation Degree. Generally, employers and F/HE respondents seem divided on the respective merits of the HNC/HND and Foundation Degrees. For Level 4 Higher Apprenticeships, the NVQ Diploma appears a commonly acceptable qualification (albeit that there are none at this level in the sector), potentially supported by either a HNC/HND or to a lesser extent a Foundation Degree. For level 5 Higher Apprenticeships, the NVQ Diploma is again acceptable (noting again that relevant NVQ Diplomas in the sector are primarily at Level 6), supported by a VRQ, or HNC/HND or Foundation Degree. The professional bodies tend to prefer an NVQ Diploma supported by a HNC/HND. Next Steps Using our employer engagement networks CIC will build on the findings of this report to facilitate interest, awareness and understanding and encourage key stakeholders to be become involved in Advanced Technical and Higher Apprenticeship development. We need to work with the professional institutions to develop clear progression routes for apprentices to professional membership. Access to professional membership will help raise the status of apprenticeships and ensure that there are clearly signposted progression routes from the trades and crafts to higher level skills for technicians and for supervisors to become professional practitioners and managers. Representatives from Association of Building Engineers, Building Control Alliance and LABC have expressed a keen interest in developing a Technical Advanced Apprenticeship in Building Control. They have identified a business need for a Technical Apprenticeship to provide a training pathway for young people which will lead to a professional qualification. The current SASE criteria pose a barrier to developing Higher Apprenticeships as the framework only recognises Level 4 and 5 qualifications whilst many of the existing competence qualifications are set at Level 6 on the QCF. ConstructionSkills will continue to lobby the regulators to revise the SASE criteria in line with industry requirements. 8

9 Online Survey Findings Figure 1: Q 2. Where in the UK does your organisation operate? Employers - Where does your organisation operate? 10 7 Eng Scot Wales NI UK All the 15 employers answered question 2. Whilst this consultation is specifically focussing on employers in England and Wales, ten employers indicated that they operate on a UK wide basis with three also operating in Wales and seven operating in England. 9

10 Figure 2: Q.3 The size of your organisation Employers - Size of organisation 1 1 Micro (10 employees or less) 8 5 Small (50 employees or less) Medium 250 employees or less) Large (250 employees or more) All of the 15 employers answered this question. Figure 3: Q4 Does your organisation offer apprenticeships? Employer - Does your organisation offer apprenticeships? Yes Yes (but currently no vacancies No All of the 15 employers answered this question. Several employers indicated that they offered apprenticeships at Levels 2 and 3 with one indicating that they are looking at developing a Higher Apprenticeship in Engineering. In the comments section one employer mentioned that with regard to numbers of apprentices recruited they are offered as and when we have relevant need. However a further four indicated that they currently had no vacancies. The need for apprenticeships within an organisation is clearly driven by business need. 10

11 Figure 4: Q5 Do you tend to employ staff with the following qualifications Employers NVQ Diploma HNC/D Foundation Degree Other All of 15 employers answered this question. The category other includes undergraduate, postgraduate and professional qualifications. In the comments section respondents mentioned that the entry requirements for town planners, surveyors and engineering professions would be a degree or postgraduate level qualification. Figure 4 illustrates how a range of qualifications are required by the industry. 11

12 Figure 5: Q6 Would your organisation be interested in developing a Technical or Higher Apprenticeship? Yes No Employers Professional Institutions FE/HE Sector All fifteen employers responded to this question. Eleven employers indicated that they would be interested in developing a Technical Apprenticeship and eight were interested in the Higher Apprenticeship. The FE/HE sector indicated that they were interested in developing both the Technical and Higher Apprenticeships, which is obviously a potential business opportunity. The professional institutions are generally supportive of the development of both Technical and Higher Level Apprenticeships. It must be noted that not all the professions currently have a business requirement for an apprenticeship. The entry points for some professions is an undergraduate degree or higher. One Institute mentioned that this situation could change as they are concerned about the impact of higher fees for students and market driven methods of HE funding; we need to be open to discussion of the implications and how we will need to respond in the interests of the continuance of the profession. One employer mentioned in the comments section that an apprenticeship gave him a good technical education which combined with further study enabled him to progress onto chartered engineer status. 12

13 Table 1 illustrates the technical occupational areas in which employers are interested in developing apprenticeships Planning, Heritage and Sustainability Building Control, Building Surveying, Site Inspection Sustainability Services Building Services Engineering. Building surveying business administration management Business, IT, Management CAD Engineering apprenticeship (e.g. using Bentley Micro station or even AutoCAD) Civil engineering and building Quantity Surveying, Project Management and CDMC Surveying related areas Table 1 illustrates that the employers are interested in developing Technical and Higher Apprenticeships across a range of occupational areas in the construction and built environment sector. This closely mirrors the responses of the FE/HE sector. One academic mentioned in the comments section that we already deliver the new Advanced Technical apprenticeship framework (joint CAA/Edexcel framework) at level 3 and will have approximately 75 apprentices on this route by Sept Our initial enquiries relating to Higher Apprenticeships to include the new HCs in construction, civil eng, and BSEng have been positively received. The important thing for our clients has been the funding available (or not). One employer organisation indicated that they were currently developing apprenticeships with ConstructionSkills. Another employer has tried to develop a CAD Engineering apprenticeship but has faced difficulties as the area falls between an engineering and IT based apprenticeship framework. 13

14 Figure 6: Q7 Do you see a need for Level 3 Advanced Technical Apprenticeships in your organisation/sector? Yes No Employers Professional Institutions FE/HE Sector All respondents answered this question. All three groups recognise a need for a Level 3 Advanced Technical Apprenticeship within their organisation/sector to some degree. The employers appeared split on this question. However, one of these indicated that they are currently reviewing their provision and so maybe interested in the future. One respondent indicated no to this question because they already offer apprenticeships in Quantity Surveying, Project Management and CDMC. One employer indicated no because their employees tend to be professionally qualified. One employer indicated that ideally I would like to see courses where people could continue to progress with formal qualifications but with some ability to continue to work. I have a clear view that real benefit is gained by 'on the job' training. Two professional institutions answered no to this question because at present they are both degree entry professions. One professional institution mentioned that they would support the Level 3 apprenticeship but would recommend at least Level 4 for its Technician membership (assuming no practical experience). ICE mentioned that they have developed a Technical Apprenticeship with Edexcel and ConstructionSkills around Technician Membership. One professional institution mentioned that they recognise a Level 3 qualification as contributing towards Associate Membership. An NVQ Level 3 or Level 3 Diploma can reduce the required work experience to two years. In addition, candidates with such a qualification would be able to use work they completed during their apprenticeship as evidence towards gaining Associate Membership. One professional institution mentioned that an apprenticeship structure would need to accommodate the inter-disciplinary nature of their membership. 14

15 Figure 7: Q8 Do you see a need for Higher Apprenticeships in your organisation? Yes No Employers Professional Institutions FE/HE Sector All employers and FE/HE academics answered this question. Eight of the professional institutions answered this question. All three groups have indicated high levels of support for the Higher Apprenticeship. One professional institution indicated that they had no business need at present for a Higher Apprenticeship as they are a degree or postgraduate entry level profession. The majority of employers indicated that there was a need for a Higher Apprenticeship in their organisation or sector. A Higher Apprenticeship was viewed by one employer as providing a clear progression route to those with appropriate entry grades to middle/senior roles. One employer mentioned that it might fit in with our technician training schemes where year old school leavers (and older) go though NC to HNC/Foundation Degree. One employer mentioned that through employer sponsorship and day release he was able to complete his degree studies. He goes onto say that I have found that there is a really need for highly skilled employees in this industry. Academics substantially indicated that they would be supportive of Higher Apprenticeships in the sector. One academic mentioned there needs to be a clear progression from the trades and crafts to higher level skills for technicians and for supervisors to become managers. Would be very useful as a progression route from level 3 - and be consistent with the Apprenticeship model familiar to level 2 and level 3 candidates. One academic who answered no, mentioned that it was difficult to give a straightforward yes/no response, since we would be interested to partner with a suitable organisation that offers Higher Apprenticeships around delivery of any of our existing Foundation Degrees if appropriate. One professional institution mentioned that this type of qualification embraces underpinning knowledge and practical competence which reflects the Institution s professional qualification model. One professional institution mentioned that where the apprenticeship includes an NVQ Level 4 or Level 4 Diploma they would recognise the qualification as contributing towards Associate membership. This may enable candidates to apply directly to become an Associate without having to undergo assessment. 15

16 It was noted by one professional institution that once the economy is out of recession, they predict a huge demand for Higher Apprenticeships. However, the current bureaucracy associated with apprenticeship is baffling for employers and should be addressed. In the light of higher fees, another professional institution mentioned that employers would benefit by having their sponsor of employees on HNC/Ds and BSc recognised under the apprenticeship brand. One professional institution that answered yes to this question, mentioned that they are discussing alternative routes for entry, but no decisions have been made. They will continue to review the impact of higher fees on undergraduates. 16

17 Figure 8: Q9 What type of employee would you envisage undertaking a Level 3 Technical Apprenticeship? Employers Professional Institutions FE/HE Sector Experienced with no qualifications Considerable experience with qualifications (academic or vocational) Limited experience with qualifications (academic or vocational) Everyone answered this question. All respondents were able to select more than one option for this question. All three groups indicated that the apprenticeship would be suitable for all three categories. Figure 9 indicates a stronger preference for the limited experience with qualifications category for all 3 groups. It is interesting to note that six employers, five professional institutions and six academics ticked both the experienced with no qualifications and limited experience with qualifications. Professional Institutions envisaged all three groups benefiting from a Level 3 Apprenticeship programme with, all nine ticked the limited experience with qualifications category. One institution noted that it might be particularly suitable for young adults who have made the wrong A Level choices. The FE/HE academics mentioned that the apprenticeship would appeal to a broad range of candidates. It was also noted that for those with considerable experience with qualifications, funding for the apprenticeship would be a serious issue which would force us to select shorter and faster routes to qualification in most cases. 17

18 Figure 9: Q10 What type of employee would you envisage undertaking a Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4 and above)? Experienced with no qualifications Considerable experienced with qualifications (academic or vocational) Limited experience with qualifications (academic or vocational) Employers Professional Institutions FE/HE Sector Everyone answered this question. All respondents were able to select more than one option for this question. All three groups indicated that the apprenticeship would be suitable for all three categories. The category considerable experience with qualifications received the highest number of ticks from employers with eight employers indicating it as their only preference. One FE/HE academic summarised the entry requirements for a Level 4 qualification as a good set of GCSEs and considerable experience, or a Level 3 qualification. One professional institution noted that it is common for employees to have a degree in an unrelated subject and they need to retrain. One professional institution mentioned that the limited experience would probably make this difficult but should be appropriate for the other two. It would help if the experienced with no qualifications person had been through the Level 3 Apprenticeship first. One professional institution mentioned that undertaking more experience should provide the right foundation for employees to complete an apprenticeship that awards them with higher qualifications. One professional institution mentioned that experience is probably the key in order to be in the position to demonstrate competence. However, the qualifications aspect is less likely to be a barrier to the attainment of a Technical Apprenticeship. 18

19 Figure 10: Q11 Higher Level Apprenticeship frameworks may include a Foundation Degree as the sole competence and knowledge elements within their structure. Do you think that this model would enable the learner to develop occupational competence to the required industry level? Yes No 2 0 Employers Professional Institutions FE/HE Sector Fourteen employers, eight professional institutions and eighteen academic institutions answered this question. However, the accompanying comments would seem to contradict or qualify this by indicating that Foundation Degrees would only go part way to meeting the required industry levels. There is still a concern that worked based learning (WBL) and experience is required beyond the Foundation Degree. Employers and FE/HE academics indicated their preference for using a Foundation Degree as the sole competence and knowledge qualification in the Higher Apprenticeship framework. In the comments section some employers indicated that they would prefer on the job work experience for developing competence. One employer mentioned that Universities and Colleges historically find WBL a challenge to deliver effectively. The professional institutions were evenly split on this issue. However, the ability of a Foundation Degree to deliver competence is queried by two institutions. Another institution commented that the occupational competencies would need to match their required objectives for Technician Membership. Another professional institution commented that a Higher Apprenticeship would provide direct entry to Associate Membership but candidates would still be required to gain four years experience and complete modules (at a higher level than a Foundation Degree) from a relevant undergraduate or post-graduate degree in order to become a professional member (chartered). Where possible, employees could choose to top up their Foundation Degrees to gain an honours degree. In this case, Foundation Degrees may be of some benefit to employees achieving a Higher Level Apprenticeship. A number of academics commented that they were in favour of using the HNC/Ds as they are an established qualification route. One academic commented that they will continue with the BTEC HND as their employers prefer it and it feeds better into the planned BTEC Level 6 programmes. 19

20 One academic commented I don't believe this is what employers want - they want and like Foundation Degrees and the benefits of Fd's in providing the underpinning knowledge combined with the work place experiences. But they also require an NVQ or other competency based qualification. One commented that Foundation Degrees are knowledge qualifications not competence based. Another academic commented that If a university is awarding a Foundation Degree they will need to be assured that the ability to assess within the workplace is appropriately rigorous and robust. This raises issues that need to be adequately addressed when establishing the course. Another academic commented This is 'missing a trick' with Higher Apprenticeships in my view. The new HC qualifications from Edexcel plus the NVQ level 4 plus 2 key skills at level 3 is an ideal place to start with this as a one year Higher Apprenticeship. This can then be followed by the Foundation Degree or full degree as required by the employer and/or the individual. In my view, our industry has not picked up the relevance of Foundation Degrees to the extent that they would want them as part of an apprenticeship. A level 5 NVQ could also be considered as an alternative to managerial competence. 20

21 Figure 11: Q12 Would you prefer to use an NVQ Diploma rather than a Foundation Degree to assess occupational competence in the workplace? Yes No 2 0 Employers Professional Institutions FE/HE Sector Fourteen employers, eight professional institutions and seventeen FE/HE academics answered this question. Several employers indicated in the comments section that both routes should be available. One employer indicated that they were not aware of the difference between the two options. Three employers indicated their preference for using an NVQ to assess competence in the workplace rather than a Foundation Degree. One employer mentioned in the comments sections that the NVQ was based on agreed industry national occupational standards and focus 100% on competence and applied knowledge. Three professional institutions commented that they had no preference or priority to either system. Two of the professional institutions mentioned that they would prefer to use the NVQ to assess competence in the workplace. The FE/HE sector respondents indicated support for using both the Foundation Degree and the NVQ Diploma for assessing competence in the workplace. One professional institution commented that Apprenticeships provide access to the professions and opportunities to progress to becoming chartered. Where the apprenticeship includes an NVQ Level 3 or Level 3 Diploma they would recognise the qualification as contributing towards Associate Membership. Where Associate candidates have no qualification, they are required to complete four years work experience before going forward for assessment. An NVQ Level 3 or Level 3 Diploma can reduce the required work experience to two years. In addition, candidates with such a qualification would be able to use work they completed during their apprenticeship as evidence towards gaining Associate Membership. Apprenticeships are vital as they provide a foundation for gaining membership. One academic commented that they have invested heavily in employer-led programmes and believed that the NVQ route would be a step backwards. Another commented that there had been little employer uptake of Foundation Degrees in the construction sector. One academic commented that they would continue with the BTEC HND as their employers preferred it and it feeds better into the planned BTEC Level 6 programmes. 21

22 Figure 12: Summary of responses to questions 11 and 12. Respondents were asked to indicate their preference for either the Foundation Degree or the NVQ as a means of assessing competence Employers Professional Institutions FE/HE Sector 2 0 FD Yes FD No NVQ Yes NVQ No The FE/HE response indicates that they favour both the Foundation Degree and the NVQ as a means for assessing competence. The employers response indicates more support for the Foundation Degree over the NVQ. 22

23 Figure 13: Q13 Would you like HNC/HNDs to be the main learning qualification within a Higher Apprenticeship? Yes No 0 Employers Professional Institutions FE/HE Sector Fourteen employers, eight professional institutions and seventeen FE/HE academics answered this question. Nine employers indicated that they would not like HNC/Ds to be the main learning qualification within a Higher Apprenticeship. Two employers that answered no to this question, indicated that they really had no preference. Eleven FE/HE respondents indicated that they would support the HNC/D as the main learning qualification and six indicated no. The professional institutions showed slightly more support for the HNC/D. One institution commented that despite enthusiasm for the part-time HNC model they would support a range of academic qualifications in the apprenticeship framework. Several professional institutions supported the view that the HNC/Ds are a well known brand and recognised as a reliable learning benchmark. One commented that the brand is well known and has buy-in from the Ministers John Hayes and David Willetts. They will also enable progression to Level 6 and are likely to get degree awarding powers. One professional institution commented that HNC/Ds are recognised as contributing towards Associate Membership and with a further year of study provide an opportunity to gain a BSc degree. Two academics commented that the HNCs could provide pathways into the Foundation Degree and into Bachelors for those with a HND. One academic commented that the HNC/D is a tried and tested and well respected qualification within Construction and Engineering. Another commented that they would be continuing with the HND as their employers prefer it and it feeds better into the planned BTEC Level 6 programmes. One academic commented that both HNCs and HNDs provide an appropriately robust and industry orientated qualification. 23

24 Figure 14: Q14 Would you like Foundation Degrees to be the main learning qualification within a Higher Apprenticeship? Yes No Employers Professional Institutions FE/HE Sector Fourteen employers answered this question. Nine employers indicated that they would not like to see Foundation Degrees to be the main learning qualification within a Higher Apprenticeship. These findings correlate with the responses to question 13. However, this appears to be contradictory to the answers given in question 10. Foundation Degrees were perceived by one employer as being much more expensive than HNC/Ds. Another employer mentioned that in relation to Foundation Degrees they had concerns about the difficulties in establishing consistency and accreditation with professional organisations. Seven professional institutions indicated that they were not in favour of using the Foundation Degree as the main learning qualification. Two institutions commented that their preference would be for HNC/Ds but that they would also support Foundation Degrees. FE/HE sector respondents were divided on this issue. One academic mentioned that they provide pathways into Foundation Degrees for HNCs and into Bachelors for HNDs. One academic commented that the assessment strategy would need to be robust enough to capture the work based requirements. One academic commented that the FD offers a more enhanced opportunity to both the learner in gaining experience and to the establishment, as real life scenarios are used. One academic commented that by including both HNC/Ds and Foundation Degrees there would be maximum choice for both employers and individuals. Another academic commented that the Foundation Degree is not yet fully tried and tested, but HNC is same thing under a different name. 24

25 Figure 15: Preference for using the HNC/D or Foundation Degree to deliver competence and learning. Combines the responses to questions 13 and Employers Professional Institutions FE/HE Sector 2 0 HNC/D - Yes FDs -Yes HNC/Ds - No FDs - No In questions 13 and 14 respondents were asked to indicate their preference for using either the Foundation Degree or the HNC/D as the main learning qualification in an apprenticeship. Employers and F/HE respondents divided on this issue. Professional institutions were in favour of the Higher Nationals. 25

26 In Q15 and Q16 respondents were asked for their views on the importance of Technical and Higher Apprenticeships providing pathways to professional membership Employers Responses to Q15 and 16 Fourteen employers answered questions 15 and 16 The employers in this sample were in agreement that it would be important for both the Technical and Higher Level Apprenticeships to provide a progression route to an appropriate level of professional membership. One employer is quoted as saying that it's really good to see the professional institutions tied into this structure and gives some consistency with our career progression structure as a company that involves a lot of professional engineers. One employer is quoted as saying by attributing a professional qualification to the apprenticeship scheme, this provides the qualification with the status it requires and added incentive to ensure the student passes. One employer mentioned that Level 4 and above candidates would be move suitable for professional qualifications. Personally I've only felt ready for my professional development in my late 20's where I have then chosen to work very hard and become professionally qualified. Responses to Q15 and 16 by Professional Institutions Seven professional institutions answered questions 15 and 16. The professional institutions understandably indicated strong support for pathways to professional membership through the Apprenticeships route. One professional institution commented that their Technical Membership criteria would be mapped to the Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship and would allow exemptions to the professional qualification. The Level 3 apprenticeship route would be viewed as an important for progression the Level 4 is recommended. One professional institution commented that it is valuable, but it needs careful management, especially for non-traditional/interdisciplinary professions (which is where conservation; sustainability; regeneration etc all sit) as these tend to need to accommodate different 'balances' between main/traditional skills sets. There will also need to be ethical and related assessments specific to the body that may well sit outside the apprenticeship route. One professional institution commented that professionalism is important for the maintenance of standards within the industry. The code of conduct and CPD requirements linked to professional qualifications, and the ability to progress through to higher grades encourages apprentices to think about developing their career rather than 'banking' their qualification and standing still. One professional institution commented that it is essential to offer such routes as a means of getting progression through professional bodies at a time when HE fees may be prohibitive. Potentially a means of widening participation. One professional institution commented that it is important to recognise apprenticeships as routes to gaining professional qualifications. If competencies are achieved and standards maintained, there is no reason why apprenticeships should not provide access, directly or partially, to professional qualifications. 26

27 Responses to Q15 and 16 by FE/HE respondents The FE/HE respondents indicated strong support for links to professional membership for Apprenticeships. One academic commented that all Apprenticeships should lead to Professional Institution status and another mentioned that Professional Body status was crucial to the process. One academic commented that routes for progression have to be open to allow employees to progress from craft routes to higher education. One academic commented that industry relates to Professional Qualifications as an indicator to clients of their competent workforce. Several academics indicated that they believed that a Level 4 qualification would be more appropriate in terms of professional membership. One academic commented that the Level 3 professional qualifications are not vital however progression is vital as experience grows. Being able to access professional accreditation will support and encourage progression to level 4. Level 4 should be accepted as a professional level as long as standards are maintained and can not be awarded to trade based qualifications at non supervisory level. One academic commented that if the Level 4 is structured in the correct manner then the professional qualifications can identify the competency based elements measured in the Higher Apprenticeship. 27

28 English Apprenticeship Frameworks Figure 16: Q17. Which structure(s) would you wish to see in the Level 3 Advanced Technical Apprenticeship framework (you may select more than one option) NVQ Diploma + VRQ NVQ Diploma + NC/ND 2 0 Employers Professional Institutions FE/HE Sector Fourteen employers answered question 17. Seven professional institutions answered question 17. Seventeen FE/HE institutions answered question 17. Respondents were able to tick more than one option. Both employers and professional institutions indicated that they are supportive of both structures within the Level 3 Advanced Technical Apprenticeship framework. FE/HE institutions indicated a slight preference for the NVQ+VRQ structure whilst seven preferred the NVQ+HNC/D. In the comments section one academic mentioned that there had been too many changes over the years has confused employers and the use of the old fashioned OND HND would ease the transition. One academic commented that a Level 3 apprentice should have vocational expertise. One academic commented that the question was irrelevant as the framework already exists as jointly awarded by Edexcel and CAA. 28

29 Figure 17: Q18. Which structure(s) would you wish to see in a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship framework (you may select more than one option) Employers Professional Institutions FE/HE Sector 0 NVQ Diploma + VRQ Single competence & knowledge lifi ti NVQ Diploma + HNC/HND NVQ Diploma + Foundation Degree Fourteen employers answered question 17. Seven professional institutions answered question 17. Seventeen FE/HE institutions answered question 17. Responders were allowed to choose more than one preference. The data in figure 17 indicates that, whilst there is support for all the different structures within the Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship framework, the NVQ Diploma is more commonly acceptable with either an HNC/HND or Foundation Degree. Two professional institutions ticked all the options with one mentioning that they had no clear preference. 29

30 Figure 18: Q19. Which structure(s) would you wish to see in a Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship framework (you may select more than one option) Employers Professional Institutions FE/HE Sector 2 0 NVQ Diploma + Vocationally Related Qualification Single competence & knowledge qualification NVQ Diploma + HNC/HND NVQ Diploma + Foundation Degree Foundation Degree covering both competence and knowledge Fourteen employers answered question 17. Seven professional institutions answered question 17. Eighteen FE/HE institutions answered question 17. Responders were allowed to choose more than one preference. The data in figure 18 indicates that there is again support for a range of different structures within the Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship framework. NVQ Diplomas still feature highly with divided views between HNC/HND and Foundation Degrees. One employer commented that Higher Apprenticeships should go beyond Level 5 and the ideal structure would be a Level 7 NVQ Diploma + VRQ. Overall the professional institutions showed strong support for the NVQ+HNC/D structure all at least two mentioned that they had no overall preference. One professional institution commented that these qualifications are recognised by as being directly relevant to the required levels for chartered membership. Interestingly, only two academic institutions supported the NVQ+VRQ structure compared to ten employers. The singles competence and knowledge qualification was the least favoured option (see also question 11). One academic commented that each of these options would deliver a qualified output, but we would prefer to focus the academic learning around an appropriate FD with substantial workbased learning. In a similar vein, another academic commented that Level 5 should be an extension of knowledge and not competence based. One academic commented that I think it would be too difficult to have an Fd covering both competence and knowledge, learners should be encouraged to use the underpinning knowledge an FD provides to cover the UPK in the NVQ where appropriate. This should be mapped for standard NVQs using the Fdf/ConstructionSkills Construction Operations Management Foundation Degree framework. One training organisation commented that Foundation Degree covering competence and knowledge is not viable as Colleges teachers are not well placed to assess it. 30

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