Legislative changes proposed to the Institute for Apprenticeships

The Institute for Apprenticeships is an independent employer-led body set up to secure the quality of apprenticeships. Although the statutory provisions by which the Institute will formally come into existence are not yet in force, the Technical and Further Education Bill (which passed its second reading on 14 November and is now pending consideration in the Public Bill Committee) proposes a number of changes to those provisions.

The amendments see the body changing its name to the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. As the name change suggests, the amendments are intended to extend the remit of the body to include technical education qualifications.

The role of the Institute

The Institute will identify occupations in relation to which it may be appropriate for people wishing to carry out those occupations to undertake apprenticeships or obtain qualifications. It will be entrusted with issuing standards for such occupations and determining outcomes which need to be achieved for those standards to be met. It will also develop apprenticeship assessment plans in accordance with which it will be assessed whether a person seeking to complete an apprenticeship has attained the required outcomes.

Before approving a standard or plan the Institute will make arrangements for third parties to examine them. The Institute is also required to make arrangements for evaluating the quality of assessments provided.

The TFE Bill does not propose any major changes to the above. The position remains very similar to that under the Enterprise Act 2016 (which contains the provisions which will create the Institute once they are brought into effect), with only minor amendments being proposed which are mainly intended to provide more detail on the process of developing standards and assessment plans.

Noteworthy changes being proposed

The TFE Bill does however propose the following significant changes:

  • The Institute will be empowered to approve technical education qualifications in respect of occupations for which standards are published. The institute will only approve such qualifications if it is satisfied that by obtaining such qualification a person demonstrates that they have attained the outcomes set out in the relevant standards. Such approval can be withdrawn.
  • The Institute can also require that in addition to a technical education qualification a person seeking to work in an occupation completes “additional steps” which can include obtaining another qualification.
  • The Secretary of State is empowered to give directions to the Institute in connection with the exercise of its functions in relation to technical education qualifications and additional steps. This is combined with the removal of the one instruction per year limit (contained in the Enterprise Act) on the Secretary of State’s general power to give a notice in writing to the Institute setting out matters to which the Institute must have regard when performing its functions. The Institute is statutorily bound to comply with any such directions.
  • When the Institute approves a technical education qualification, the rights or interests of a person in any copyright in the relevant course documentation (as determined by the Institute) are transferred to the Institute by operation of law at the time of approval. The Institute may then assign or grant a licence to such rights or interests to any person. This adds to the already-existing provision under the Enterprise Act which transfers rights in standards and assessment plans to the Institute, although unlike the new provision, the existing provision requires the Institute to make such standards and plans available to the public.

The Bill also provides for exchange of information relating to apprenticeships and other education or training between the Institute, Ofqual, Ofsted and the OfS.

It is expected that the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education will kick off in 2017. In the meantime a shadow Chief Operating Officer and a shadow Chief Executive Officer have been appointed to oversee preparations for the Institute’s formal launch.

 

Lauro Fava
Paralegal
T: 0121 631 5245
E: lauro.fava@shma.co.uk
W: www.shma.co.uk

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