Apprenticeship based CPD and its place in a large Multi-Academy Trust.
This week we explore apprenticeship based CPD and its place in a large Multi-Academy Trust. The government’s apprenticeship reform programme, which was implemented in April 2017 to provide an accessible and diverse range of high-quality apprenticeship opportunities, has now cemented more than 700,000 participants nationally according to 2018/19 UK Parliament statistics. Despite a considerable increase in starts since the new funding system was introduced in May 2017, this number is still below initial numbers with 72,400 fewer people participating in an apprenticeship in 2018/19 than in 2017/18.
 Prior to the changes being introduced the majority of apprenticeship starts were on apprenticeship frameworks. For this type of apprenticeship, the government paid all the training costs for 16-18-year-olds, half the training costs for 19-23-year olds and up to half for apprentices aged 24 and over. Extra support was provided to apprentices living in the most deprived parts of the country or those in areas where training costs were higher. In the first three quarters of the 2019/20 academic year (August to April), there were 275,900 apprenticeship starts. This was a drop of 13% from the same period in 2018/19, with around 43,000 fewer starts.
As we move further into a new academic year, the CPD model for MATs begins to adapt and transform to meet and pass apprenticeship recruitment targets. Where some schools have found it difficult to meet targets, it has taken shifting avenues and adaptation to help build this new pathway as an accessible and diverse opportunity to new starters and existing staff within MATs and schools across the UK.
How is this happening?
Nationally, we have seen the rollout of Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeships work well in schools which aim to, much like the School Direct programme, offer a work-based route into teaching. In addition to working towards QTS, successful completion of this apprenticeship allows a widened pool of qualified, working teachers to step into or back into teaching.
As part of opening the educational workforce to apprenticeship opportunities, there has been an influx of leadership and support-based apprentice roles aimed at school support areas such as IT, HR and Finance. On a national level, there has been a lag for schools to make the target or to utilise levy fund provided. As a new and forward-thinking way to develop current CPD models within large MATs, apprenticeships are in part, the way forward.
Speaking to Head of Harris Federation Teaching School Alliance, Gene Payne, we covered off the motivations behind launching more accessible opportunities to develop within the Federation.
GP: “I think that amongst the most obvious reasons to bring apprenticeships into our CPD model is the thinking behind any CPD model. Through investing in our people, we increase, and extend into the future, the benefit from their expertise and leadership in schools in and around London. As a large MAT, we have a considerable apprenticeship levy fund we have to ensure we use as effectively as possible.”
Our Team Leader Level 3 Apprenticeship is designed to support our newest leaders. They develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours necessary to become an effective leader. In collaboration with The Opportunity Group (TOG), we have been able to specifically tailor the Team Leader Level 3 Apprenticeship to best fit the needs of new leaders within the education industry, benefitting from the on-the-job and off-the-job learning requirements of the apprenticeship standard.
Having introduced the Harris Diploma in Team Leadership Apprenticeship last year, the opportunities for development have increased considerably. Working with multiple providers to ensure a varied and dynamic range of opportunities, we currently have 232 participants across 23 academies training towards the diploma.
“The obvious added benefit is that we also now have 232 leaders across 23 academies that better understand apprenticeships when discussing careers with students in their academies.”
GP: “As part of our wider CPD model, we are committed to providing our people with opportunities that allow them to grow and develop with us. Teams and academies have used this opportunity to develop their own portfolio of CPD, upskilling their teams as well as themselves as mentors.
There are two important things going on in our strategy. Where there is an apprenticeship opportunity for external candidates/new recruits, teams in the Federation with the capacity to support an apprentice in their team have been doing well to manage and benefit from this.
But we also have the upskilling dimension to this. These are the people who are current employees that are using the apprenticeship route to upskill. We have IT and HR team members that are working towards Standards, and at academies, we have more young leaders benefitting from a wider degree of support within their environment. It is through developing our apprenticeship strategy and utilising the levy fund that we were able to develop a robust and sustainable CPD model within academies. Our academies are more actively engaged in developing new leaders now through this apprenticeship scheme and have established a sustainable way for their best leaders to develop their future leaders.
I think the third plus from this is that as employers of apprentices, managers and leaders benefit from supporting their apprentice through their pathway. Apprenticeship Standards are comprehensive, modern and tailored so they also develop their own knowledge as well as the skills to facilitate a work-based learning environment that is beneficial for the apprentice and the team they support.”
 Apprenticeship Statistics, Niamh Foley, House of Commons Library Briefing paper, Number 06113, 27 August 2020
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