Daniel Pedley, public affairs manager at the CII, talks about the latest initiative to help promote apprenticehips, Trailblazers

Daniel Pedley, CII

Over the past year a revolution has been taking place in apprenticeships across England.

Groups of employers and professional bodies have been given the chance to create future apprenticeship standards. Known as Trailblazers, these groups look to ensure that all new apprenticeships have employer need at their heart.

Insurance was an early adopter of the model and employers of all sizes have embraced trailblazers, taking the opportunity to have their say on what insurance apprenticeships should look like in the future.

So what exactly is a Trailblazer?

In short, it’s a collection of firms who come together to design new apprenticeships for their sector. Any firm with an interest can get involved, be they large or small.

The commitment on the part of the employers, in terms of time and resource, has been kept to a minimum to ensure that firms of all sizes are able to take part.

And employers aren’t left to fend for themselves. As part of this package of change, the role of professional bodies has also increased. Being organisations with expertise in assessment and standards, we are there to support employers in the development of the new standards and in particular the creation of a robust system of assessment.

The introduction of Trailblazers has provided our sector with the opportunity to shape the future of apprenticeships. This has been grasped by employers, in particular Aon as the lead.

As well as meeting employer need, this new breed of apprenticeship is underwritten by the CII – via professional standards, assessment and qualifications – thus providing further peace of mind for employers. Ultimately these apprenticeships will provide the apprentices with a strong grounding for their future career and the insurance sector with the future talent we are looking for.

These changes apply to England only. Separate mechanisms for developing new apprenticeships exist in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. However, a similar employer-led approach could be replicated across the UK.