Just in case you have not been acquainted with this new Institute, and the rather confusing acronym, we have reproduced below the Department of Innovation and Skills fact sheet that explains what it is about…

Institute for Apprenticeships: To deliver a genuinely world-class apprenticeship programme in the context of the apprenticeship levy, we will need a long-term governance arrangement which will support employers to uphold the high quality of apprenticeship standards and be able to respond to the changing needs of business. During the summer of 2015 we consulted with apprenticeship trailblazer employers and those working alongside them on the design of the future system.

The Chancellor announced the Governments’ intention to establish a new independent body – the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) – to support employer led reforms and regulate the quality of apprenticeships. This is in the context of the commitment to reach three million apprenticeship starts by 2020.

The measures will:

  • Establish a statutory body the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA).
  • Give the IfA powers to undertake quality and approval functions in relation to apprenticeship standards and assessment plans.
  • Give the IfA powers in relation to wider quality assurance functions, including making arrangements for assessing the quality of the end point assessment for each apprenticeship.
  • Give the IfA responsibility to advise Government of funding allocations per each apprenticeship standard.
  • Require the IfA to appoint a majority of employers to the Board, to ensure t hat it is an employer led body.
  • Ensure that the SoS may make recommendations to the IfA which it must have regard to when exercising its functions.

Aims and Impact: The measures will:

  • Ensure high quality standards and assessment plans, which will lead to high quality apprenticeships.
  • Maintain positive employer engagement in the apprenticeship development process and give it greater credibility by moving these functions away from Government to those with the necessary skills and experience.
  • Enable the IfA to carry out quality assurance functions to support standards and assessment plans. • Enable a stronger link between the development and content of standards and assessment plans and the allocation of funding.

So the next time you hear the expression IFA it may mean IfA. What this new Institute will mean for employers is far from clear. Will it just create a new raft of red tape? If yes, will this not discourage employers from taking on new apprentices? That after all, would seem to be the idea?

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