Got a question about how the new trailblazer standards will work? Take a look at some of our most frequently asked questions for more information and guidance.
Both the old higher apprenticeship frameworks and the new trailblazers provide an apprentice with the opportunity to study the ICAEW CFAB qualification and gain work experience with an employer.
The new trailblazer standards are designed by groups of employers, so that the knowledge, skills and behaviours apprentices develop over the course of their apprenticeship, reflect what employers are looking for in the workplace.
One of the key differences it that the trailblazer standards require apprentices to complete an end-point assessment. For ICAEW’s trailblazer in accountancy, the end-point assessment will comprise of a portfolio, reflective statement and role simulation.
Apprentices who are currently studying for the existing Level 4 Higher Apprenticeships will continue as normal – they will not need to transfer across to the new standards. Apprentices registered before 1 August 2017 will be funded as per the current funding rules for their duration of their programme.
The Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship in Assurance/Audit and Tax is still available in Wales. As the apprenticeship levy only applies to employers in England, apprenticeships in Wales continue to be funded under the Welsh Government Apprenticeship Programme. This funding pays for almost all of the apprenticeship costs. Funding arrangements are agreed locally with individual employers - some may be required to contribute towards the training costs - but this is organised on a case by case basis. For employers with staff in both England and Wales, if the apprentice works in Wales (regardless of where they live) for 51% or more of their time, Welsh Government funding applies.
Employers are still able to start students on the existing Level 4 Higher Apprenticeships. These will be gradually phased out in 2017 and fully replaced by the new Level 4 standard from September 2017.
The apprenticeship agreement gives details of what the employer agrees to do for the apprentice, including:
The Level 7 trailblazer is currently in development as the Assessment Plan is yet to be approved. We will provide more information about this in due course.
For more information about the content that will be assessed in the Level 7 standard, you can download the detail of the standard at gov.uk/sfa.
The Government guidance states that funding is only available to develop substantive new skills, so providing that the graduate hasn’t studied for a related degree, they should be eligible to start on the Level 4 trailblazer. If the apprentice is eligible for some credit for prior learning, the employer and training provider will need to agree a reduced price, to account for this.
The apprenticeship levy and funding rules have been adopted as regulation by the HMRC. Any changes to this regulation will have to be approved and announced by the government. There is no evidence that these will change in the near future.
There are no age restrictions for the apprenticeship funding. However, there are incentive payments for apprentices between the age of 16 – 18 years old.
The government will stop making payments if an apprentice has a break from learning. If a student leaves part-way through their apprenticeship, the employer must inform their training provider as soon as possible.
Employers must inform their training provider and seek advice from SFA about what action they should take. For more information, employers can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SFA rules stipulate that 80% of the funding will automatically be transferred to you in monthly instalments. If the apprentice does not pass the end-point assessment, then the employer will not receive the 20% completion payment.
Yes, employers will be able to use their levy to fund apprenticeships for new and existing employees.
The cost of the apprenticeship is agreed between the employer and the provider in advance. Once the price for delivery is negotiated, the provider and employer agree a payment schedule and written agreement. This acts as the contract for delivery between the two partners and should be a legal agreement.
Government funds can only be used to pay for the training, education and assessment of apprentices. This includes the following:
Funding can also be used for the apprentice to retake any qualifications required for the apprenticeship (such as GCSE’s or A-Levels), providing that additional learning takes place.
An employer will have to pay for anything that is not covered by the government funding. This includes the salary of the apprentice and any additional costs that come with recruitment and training of a member of staff within their organisation.
Yes, under the employer-provider route – this route is for levied employers who want to provide apprenticeship training to their own staff. These providers can also act as a subcontractor to a main provider, but they will not be eligible to deliver to non-levied employers.
Apprentices will need to work 30 hours a week or more, including any off-the-job training they undertake. This requirement has been set by the government so that apprentices can undertake sufficient, regular training and on-the-job activity and complete their apprenticeship successfully.
If the apprentice works fewer than 30 hours a week, or part-time for a temporary period, the employer must extend the minimum duration of the apprenticeship.
The apprentice will receive their ICAEW CFAB certificate as soon as they have completed the six modules. They will have to apply for this from ICAEW.
Apprentices will need to log their days’ work experience in the online training file, available to them on their ICAEW dashboard.
Yes. If they want to deliver their own apprenticeship training, they will need to meet the requirements of the new Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP). The registration process will assess the employer’s ability to deliver high quality apprenticeships, as well as their financial health and eligibility to receive funding.
The employer-provider route is for levied employers who want to provide apprenticeship training to their own staff. These providers can also act as a subcontractor to a main provider, but they will not be eligible to deliver to non-levied employers.
By choosing the employer-provider model, the employer will need to undergo a rigorous process to join the Register, as well as submit monthly reporting documents to the SFA.
There will be December, March and June sittings.