The aim is to have a new apprenticeship framework in place by September, to co-incide with the introduction of the new EYE qualifications.
The early years sector is one of the first Trailblazer projects to get underway, following the review of apprenticeships carried out in 2012 by Doug Richard.
Chaired by Tops Day Nurseries managing director Cheryl Hadland, the early years Trailblazer Leadership Group contains representatives from a wide range of early years employers, from the largest national chains to single nurseries, as well as several influential membership organisations. The group also includes those with expertise in the world of vocational training.
As a starting point for developing the apprenticeship standard, the group has concentrated on the Level 3 EYE qualification and on listing the skills and knowledge that it thinks apprentices should have in addition to the qualification itself.
In doing so, it says it has tried to balance the need to produce ‘well rounded, capable practitioners’ against the danger of making the standard so difficult to achieve that people prefer to achieve an EYE qualification outside an apprenticeship. As a result the additional requirements have been slimmed down.
The consultation seeks opinion on whether a minimum Grade C in GCSE in maths and English should be achieved by the end of the apprenticeship, or required on entry.
It also aims to sharpen the focus on ICT skills, to include a good working knowledge of the skills required to support young children and carry out administrative tasks, but not necessarily knowledge of spreadsheet design and mail merges, as is currently the case.
Ms Hadland said, ‘Now we want to know what the sector thinks. Once we have feedback on the content of the apprenticeship standard, we will move on to assessment, bearing in mind that apprentices will, in any event, be extensively tested as part of the EYE qualification.’
At a later date the group plans to develop standards for an intermediate apprenticeship providing an access route to the EYE qualification as well as a higher apprenticeship for senior practitioners who already hold a full and relevant EYE, and want to progress to degree and ultimately Early Years Teacher Status.
The consultation closes on 22 May and can be found here