Think Tank

Seren Skills Network hosted a think tank event exploring the need and impact of partial achievements’ within apprenticeship provision, asking – why are providers penalised and suffer a hit on QAR when a positive outcome of partial achievement can be recognised? And full achievement is of course the main objective, but should partial achievement for early leavers be rewarded? The diverse and vast apprenticeship providers Seren Skills Network works with throughout the entire apprenticeship provision life cycle have expressed concerns about the recently implemented ESFA Accountability Framework and apprenticeship Qualification Achievement Rates (QAR).

There was an overall consensus that the current QAR hybrid methodology is clearly no longer fit-for-purpose for Apprenticeships and needs to be revised. Providers informed that reputations are wrongly damaged, especially the apprenticeship brand in England, partial achievement is also not recognised for the learner and the world has changed dramatically, especially with recruitment and people leaving jobs.

Seren Skills Network wanted to contribute to the debate, with a range of stakeholders, in order to discuss and to provide a balanced, coherent and evidenced based response, representing the views of providers and employers. Seren Skills Network is uniquely placed within the sector, as it plays a key role in working within the Apprenticeship and Vocational Education and Training ( sector as advisors, influencers and subject matter experts working on the principle that organisations “don’t know what they don’t know”. More importantly, Seren Skills Network have been at the forefront of engaging with providers and employers to make sense and implement the correct Apprenticeship VET offer for businesses.

Mandy Crawford-Lee, Chief Executive at University Vocational Awards Council, Associate Editor of the journal, Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning, provided a keynote speech. The top table included of Mandy Crawford-Lee , David Marsh CEO of Babington, Brenda McLeish OBE CEO of Learning Curve Group, Nichola Hay MBE AELP Chair, Susanna Lawson, cofounder and of OneFile, and Sharon Blyfield OBE Head of Early Careers Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Limited.

The event was hailed as a success by participants and providers, with providers requesting further think tanks exploring other areas of need. A high-level report will be structured informing of the outcome/s of the event and will be an exploratory review of providers thoughts, recommendations and exhortations.