Preparing your training organisation for the implementation of the Apprenticeship reforms.

With a month to go the introduction of the levy and other changes to the funding of apprenticeships as well as the ongoing transition from frameworks to standards, it is a good time to review your organisation's state of preparedness so that you can take advantage of the opportunities provided by these changes. At the same time it is critical that if you already provide apprenticeships, whether frameworks or standards, it is 'business as usual', and that the quality of their experience and outcomes is maintained. So what are the key areas that training providers should have reviewed and be in the process of checking to make sure they are in a good position to make the most of the reforms? It is critical that your organisation has a clear vision and strategy for apprenticeships, and that this understood and supported not only by your leaders and managers, but also by everyone in your organisation that impacts on the quality of apprenticeships. I know that in some training providers, including colleges, this has also meant the establishment of an apprenticeship board or working party to make sure that there is a coherent plan to implement the changes effectively. This needs to be communicated not only internally but also externally to employers, trainees, parents and other stakeholders. The strategy must take account of a realistic appraisal of the opportunities and threats posed by the reforms, and how your organisation's capabilities can respond to these. Key decisions should be made about which apprenticeships, at what levels and at what scale you will offer, and the resources you will need to invest in to provide high quality returns for employers and apprentices. The process of applying for the RoATP and the first procurement of provision for non- levy paying employers has provided us with an opportunity to establish our state of preparedness, and so have some of the checklists and training materials used to support the process. The development of your organisation' apprenticeship strategy needs a thorough review of your existing provision, if you are already an apprenticeship provider, in terms of the numbers of apprentices, the range of frameworks and standards offered, the range and types of employers, and most importantly the quality and viability of your offer. It is important to model your existing offer once the new funding rates are introduced for new starts after 1st May, and to make necessary changes to the offer, especially when standards become available. This may provide the opportunity to either reduce or increase the range and scale of apprenticeships to better meet the needs of the market, as well as improve your earnings from appr