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Apprenticeships Standards Uncovered

With the evolution from Apprenticeship Frameworks to Apprenticeship standards since April 2017, many of our clients and employers enquiring about Apprenticeships in general ask us what the difference is. Much has been written about Standards being ‘employer-led’, but what does that really mean? What are the benefits of Apprenticeship Standards for your organisation? We would like to break it down for you.

So.. a bit of background on Apprenticeship Standards if you are new to Apprenticeships

From April 2017, Apprenticeship Standards began to replace the Specifications for Apprenticeship Standards in England (SASE) Frameworks. This is a gradual process, with the old SASE Apprenticeship Frameworks being phased out as the new Standards are established. It is expected that all Frameworks will gradually be replaced with Standards by 2020.

What is an Apprenticeship Standard?

Like the SASE Frameworks, Standards begin with an assessment and comprise of both on and off-the-job training, ending with completion and certification. However, the new Apprenticeship Standards are tailored to each individual profession, instead of being multi-occupational.

Unlike SASE Frameworks, the new Apprenticeship Standards also include assessment and grading of behaviours, skills and knowledge through End-point assessment (EPA) in addition to on-programme assessment of progress throughout the learners' journey. The EPA requires an independent End-point assessment organisation to carry out the assessment.

Designed by employers for employers

By taking the lead on the design of the Apprenticeship Standard, employers ensure the skills, knowledge and behaviours Apprentices need to develop are directly related to their job roles, their careers and the success of the organisations they work for. Standards are created by employers for employers. Each standard is represented by a group of employers from the relevant sector who work together to design the Apprenticeship

It has been said that an individual can achieve an Apprenticeship framework without learning the skills, behaviours and knowledge they need to 'do their job' and has been a driver for the introduction of Apprenticeship Standards. 

Who are trailblazers?

There are approximately 240 trailblazer groups that have collectively developed close to 600 standards across all levels, of these, 276 standards have been approved for delivery. These employers play an invaluable role in ensuring the quality and standards of Apprenticeships in the UK and second to none, they are generally industry leaders and are helping to shape not only the way in which Apprenticeships are delivered but also the way skills will be learnt and developed.

Benefits of Apprenticeship Standards

Benefits of Paragon Skills Apprenticeship Standards

Your business, your Apprenticeships. Your Apprenticeships are enrolled on a Standard tailored to meet your unique business needs and wants. 

  • Your Apprenticeships are our business. We bespoke your Apprenticeships to integrate with current or future, internal plans.
  • Your Apprenticeships are our business. We customise our Apprenticeship programmes to integrate with your current or future internal plans. 
  • Our Apprenticeship Standards offer can reduce your internal training costs.
  • Our partnerships with City & Guilds (including ILM) enable us to embed recognised qualifications into your Apprenticeship Standard supported by high-quality learning resources.
  • Our Apprenticeship Standards feature continuing professional development and a personal development plan.
  • Our blended learning delivery model for all Apprenticeship Standards is designed to complement your working practices.
  • Our BUD learning system (ePortfolio) provides our clients with instant access to all the data they need to review the progress of their Apprentices.

What are the main differences?


Frameworks were designed by sector bodies relevant to the Apprenticeship. The new standards are more progressive and have been designed by groups of employers to ensure they include the skills, knowledge and behaviours required for an Apprentice to be able to do their job properly on completion. There is also the option for Employers to design their own standards and deliver the training at an in-house academy or as part of your CPD training plans.


Apprentices on the old frameworks were assessed throughout their qualification but had no final assessment process to ensure that Apprentices had taken on all the knowledge required to do their job role with confidence. The new standards include EPA (End-point assessment), prior to which is the Gateway stage where employers decide whether the Apprentice is ready for EPA. 


The old Apprenticeships were funded directly by the ESFA (Education and Skills Funding Agency). For large employers, the new standards will be funded by the Apprenticeship levy through the Apprenticeship service.

We hope that you found this information of use and should you have any further questions surrounding Apprenticeship Standards or the Apprenticeship Levy please contact us today. Call 0800 783 2545 or email: enquiries@pgon.co.uk.