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Response to Government consultation on the future of degree apprenticeships

Posted: 23rd July 2021

CIC has called on Government to work more directly with employers and the professions to ensure degree apprenticeships remain a demand led and valuable career route for a better skilled workforce in the construction and built environment sector.

Degree apprenticeships in construction and the built environment are critical to attracting, developing and retaining the skilled talent needed to improve efficiency, productivity, sustainability and building safety, whilst addressing the digital transformation this sector needs.

Following the launch of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE) consultation on the future of degree apprenticeships on 16 July, CIC’s Apprenticeship and Skills Reference Group (ASRG) has coordinated a response that positions the thoughts of key employers and the professions, in response to the proposed changes that the Government intends to implement from Spring 2022.

The statement also calls on evidence in CIC’s ‘Build back better’ report of October 2020, with further input from employers, trailblazer chairs, stakeholder and professional bodies in the construction and built environment sector, recommending that Government works with CIC, employers, providers, professional bodies and the Construction Leadership Council to:

  • Recognise the value of professional registration for apprentices, their employers and to the sector as a whole;
  • Ensure the competence of completing apprentices is assessed by the professions (where they are established to do so), using the trained experts already in place;
  • Build on the established and respected professional, regulatory and statutory body processes to open up the ‘aligned end point assessment’ model to this sector, thereby reducing the burden, duplication and cost of apprenticeship assessment for all;
  • Work with the sector to develop good practice guidance to ensure there is high quality delivery of apprenticeships, through good partnerships between employers and providers;
  • Join up and improve the apprenticeship system to be even more demand driven and responsive to employers, thereby supporting the development of new apprenticeships and review of others to tackle the key challenges the sector faces in terms of digital transformation and improving building safety, sustainability, productivity and innovation.

Aled Williams, who co-authored the paper and is CIC Champion on Higher Education and UCEM Director of Research, Innovation and Partnerships, commented: “Apprenticeships have been heralded by Government as an employer-led process, with significant and hugely important investment made by employers to develop and review the apprenticeships that will enhance the capability of their current and future workforce.”

IFATE’s review of degree apprenticeships must reflect, and be responsive to, the demands of employers who, with the professions, seek to assure themselves of the high-quality provision that apprentices must receive in order that the appropriate assessment and recognition of competence is achieved and valued by this sector. The desire to work collaboratively with Government is there, but Government must listen and act upon these recommendations.”

CIC Chief Executive, Graham Watts OBE, added: “CIC thanks the Apprenticeship and Skills Reference Group and everyone involved for pulling together this crucial statement. Professional recognition for these degree apprenticeships must remain and government should be looking at strengthening support for the alignment of End Point Assessment processes to reflect existing professional bodies methods, where this is not already the case.”

The full CIC Position Statement: IFATE Review of Degree Apprenticeships – Consultation can be downloaded here.