Justine Fosh, CEO of The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink (NSAFD) called for the Food and Drink Industry to mobilise and get involved in ensuring that the industry’s voice is heard in the new Institute for Apprenticeship ‘Routeways’- employer panels given powers to approve or reject new apprenticeships.
Talking on Tuesday 18th July following an industry meeting of employers ready to embark on developing new apprenticeship standards in packaging, she outlined the importance of engaging with the Institute for Apprenticeship which is taking over responsibility from the Department for Education for many aspects of developing and regulating the new skills system.
“The government has passed over its power to the new Institute for Apprenticeships, to approve apprenticeship standards through the creation of new ‘routeways’ – panels of employers who represent their occupations or professions. Some industries are lucky to have their own routeways but as is often the case with the food and drink manufacturing industry, our job roles have been split amongst at least 4 of the routeways; hospitality, engineering, science and logistics. As a result it is vital that representatives step forward from our industry to ensure that the unique requirements of the industry are properly represented.”
She continued, “Throughout the nearly 4 years of development of new apprenticeships we have witnessed considerable work undertaken by food and drink employers to design great apprenticeships which have been watered down, rejected, amended or delayed due to a lack of understanding of our industry by those in decision making circles within government. It is vital that we engage in and are represented at these decision making forums if we, the industry, are to have the solutions we need. The creation of the Institute and these routeways in particular is a great opportunity to address this by ensuring industry knowledge is at the heart of the system.”
The new Institute for Apprenticeships was created in April this year as an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Education and is an employer led ‘regulator’ of the apprenticeship system, ensuring that quality sits at the heart of the system. Employers involved in the ‘routeways’ are expected to be available up to 2 days per month to review apprenticeship submissions. These range from applications to develop new apprenticeships, to the detailed standards and assessment plans. The routeways in question are only applicable in England.