The body’s remit will be to regulate the quality of apprenticeships, including the new apprenticeship standards produced by employers. It is also tasked with ensuring that apprenticeships deliver relevant, up-to-date skills.
The IFA is expected to employ about 90 people and will be launched in April. It will have core functions set through legislation, which include:
- setting quality criteria for the development of apprenticeship standards and assessment plans,
- reviewing, approving or rejecting these,
- ensuring all end-point assessments are quality assured, including quality assuring some itself
- advising on the maximum level of Government funding available for standards.
Standards development and approval is currently managed by the Department for Education. The new early years standard at Level 3 remains unready for use as early years employers are locked in a dispute with the Government over the GCSE requirement for level 3.
Its other responsibilities include apprenticeship certification. The Skills Funding Agency has taken on responsibility for the certification of standards, but the institute will need to ‘assist in this oversight role, setting the parameters for the SFA to operate within’ according to the strategic guidance (see below).
The institute will also have a policing role over apprenticeship providers, ‘to discourage behaviour seeking to make a profit by delivering services that are not necessary and do not add value.’
The Public Accounts Committee has said it unclear whether the employer-led IFA will draw on the perspectives of other important stakeholders such as the trade unions.
The deadline for the consultation is January 31. Find the online survey here.