Over the last few years apprenticeships have been going through a change which has given employers the opportunity to say what they want and to shape the vocational pathway, to ensure that apprenticeships are relevant to the skills and knowledge that are actually needed in the workplace.

Following the Doug Richard Review of apprenticeships in 2012 which called on the government to improve the quality of apprenticeships and make them more focused on the needs of employers, the government has placed a great deal of emphasis on apprenticeships.

Following recommendations from the Doug Richard Review and alongside the Governments intentions to put employers in the driving seat of apprenticeships, groups of employers (trailblazers) have been leading the way in carrying out the changes to apprenticeships. They have been working together to design apprenticeship standards and assessment approaches. It is a key feature that will lead to apprenticeships that are higher in quality and more relevant to industry.

The first trailblazer groups began in October 2013 to drive up the quality of apprenticeships and the intention is that all new apprenticeships to be developed against employer standards are rolled out by 2017/2018.

In addition, in 2015 the Government pledged to support 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 to help strengthen the economy and deliver the skills that employers need.

There is an opportunity for employers to define the skills, knowledge and behaviours that are required in the workforce, meaning that apprenticeships can more directly support your business to grow and prosper and it is important that apprenticeships and vocational qualifications meet the needs of employers if they are to fill skills gaps and be of a benefit to a company and there is still an opportunity for employers to have their say on apprenticeships in their industry, and to design their standards.

However, there is real concern, that unless employers in the security industry come together to discuss what they want and need, in order to shape the apprenticeships for the security industry then they will lose them.

Current trailblazers

There are over 140 trailblazer groups with around 350 new apprenticeship standards being developed but Skills for Security has only one trailblazer apprenticeships that is in development for the security industry and that is Providing Security Services-First line manager at Level 3.

The review of level 2 apprenticeships has not yet been considered and we need adequate employer representation and involvement in the development. The majority of businesses in the security industry are SME’s and unless employers get involved in designing the new standards there is a risk they will feel disenfranchised.

Skills for Security are looking to review the following frameworks which are due to expire by 2017/2018.

  • Locksmith Level 2
  • Security Systems Level 2 and 3
  • Providing Security Services Level 2

We need sufficient industry involvement to guarantee the development of the replacement standards and assessment criteria for these apprenticeships before the current standards expire. If employers do not come forward, those apprenticeships will cease.

Skills for Security are requesting that employers get in touch and come to a meeting so that we can review the apprenticeships and help submit an expression of interest for the development of replacement apprenticeships.

There is also still time for employers to develop new apprenticeships. If there are certain requirements that employers want in apprenticeships for their industry and if there is a group of employers who can come together to submit a case for a new apprenticeship for the Security industry please contacts Skills for Security who can give guidance on the process for new trailblazers.

Applications for apprenticeships need to meet some clear criteria to ensure that the occupation will provide apprentices with sufficient transferable skills and that the proposed employer group is representative of the sector.

The development of apprenticeship standards must meet certain requirements including knowledge, skills and behaviours and as the Skills body and developer of National Occupational Standards, Skills for Security can advise you and help you to develop a new framework.

The new apprenticeship levy

The apprenticeship Levy was announced at the summer 2015 budget and is due to be introduced in 2017 to increase the investment in training and apprenticeships.

The apprenticeship levy will boost investment in skills training and ensure larger companies play their part in investing in the future generation of apprenticeships. The levy is intended to help cement the government’s aim to build a world class apprenticeship system, and under the proposed approach employers who put in funds will have direct spending power over it.

The levy will be charged at a rate of 0.5% of an employer’s wage bill and employers will receive an allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy payment, which will only be paid on wage bills in excess of £3m. This in turn will help deliver the 3 million apprenticeships by 2020.

Fewer than two per cent of UK employers will pay the levy and all employers who do not pay the levy will still be able to access government support to deliver their apprenticeships.

By investing into the fund the aim is to incentivise more companies to train apprentices.

But once again if employers in the security industry do not step forward and help to set the assessment criteria for industry apprenticeships they are going to be paying into the levy but there will be no apprenticeship for them to be able to access any support from.

If you want to know about how you can get involved in reviewing industry apprenticeships or how you can develop a new one please contact Skills for Security and register your interest at apprenticeships@skillsforsecurity.org.uk or on 01905 744000