Advice Line

CSP assistant director Sally Gosling discusses plans to boost apprenticeships in England.

New arrangements for apprenticeships come into effect in England in April. The apprenticeships agenda is also rising in the other UK countries, if with less emphasis on new structures and targets.

The new approach to apprenticeships is strongly relevant to physiotherapy

In England, employers are expected to offer 3 million new apprenticeships by 2020. Organisations with more than 250 employees are due to ensure that 2.3 per cent of their workforce progresses through an apprenticeship. In addition, specific targets are being set for the public sector, including the NHS. Employers with annual pay bills of more than £3 million will pay a new apprenticeship levy, with all employers able to draw on the levy fund to offer apprenticeships.

Employers are expected to define the skills they need, the workforce they require to deliver these skills, and new routes to develop their staff. While apprenticeships must be employer-led (supported by education providers), they must define and adhere to nationally-agreed standards, signed off by government bodies. Apprenticeships are also intended to improve individuals’ access to work-based learning, increasing social mobility, skills transferability and opportunities for career development.

The new approach to apprenticeships is strongly relevant to physiotherapy. An employer-led expression of interest to develop a degree apprenticeship standard for physiotherapy was submitted through the Department for Education’s process last December. Ministerial approval was granted in January, and a ‘trailblazer group’ will be formed to develop the standard. Meanwhile, plans are afoot for an allied health professions (AHPs) support worker apprenticeship, and interest is growing in how master’s level apprenticeships can enable post-registration role development in physiotherapy and across the AHPs.

The CSP is seeking to influence developments and mitigate risks

The CSP is seeking to influence developments and mitigate risks. Asserting our role in setting and assuring high educational standards is essential to ensure that a future degree apprenticeship upholds graduate-level knowledge and skills and the depth and breadth of the profession’s practice. To safeguard this quality, we also need to ensure our education accreditation processes respond to changing needs.

Find out more

The CSP has responded to a proposal to develop an agreed standard for a degree-level apprenticeship physiotherapy scheme in England: read the news story(11 January 2017).

Sally Gosling, CSP assistant director

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