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The 5 W’s of Occupational Standards

In January 2021, the government published the ‘Skills for Jobs: Lifelong Learning for Opportunity’ white paper stating that the future of the technical education system should be based on employer needs, and that a substantial majority of post-16 technical and higher technical education and training should be aligned to occupational standards.

Employer-led standards are now being created and in this blog we’ve tried to cover the key, 5 W’s’ of occupational standards.

What are occupational standards?

Occupational standards define the content of technical courses, qualifications, and apprenticeships.

Along with an end-point assessment plan (EPA) and funding band, the occupational standard is a component part of an apprenticeship.

However, occupational standards are also used in the development of T Levels, and underpin other Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education-approved technical qualifications. This means that occupational standards form the basis of an apprenticeship and a technical qualification (or both). 

They are essentially the framework of a role or position within an industry and act as a foundation for how an apprenticeship is built; effecting the assessment, units and more.

The occupational standard is based on a clear occupational profile, defined by employers, which describe the duties undertaken by employees in that specific occupation. They include the knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) which are applied in the workplace which are derived directly from the duties. 

Why are occupational standards useful?

As we previously mentioned, occupational standards are the foundation of an apprenticeship. They are written and designed to ensure that an apprenticeship is designed to prepare the apprentice to work within the chosen industry and role.

Without occupational standards an apprenticeship could result in the apprentice not having the knowledge or skills to complete tasks that are seen as basic in their chosen industry. 

When can you apply to create an occupational standard?

You can apply to create an occupational standard at any time.

An occupational standard can be developed by any employer that believes an occupation is suitable for the development of an occupational standard, so there are no time restrictions on when these can be created. 

Where can I find occupational standards?

You can find a list of occupational standards on the IFATE website. But what if you can’t find a standard that meets your needs?

Well, this can be an issue that we sometimes experience. As an End-point Assessment Organisation specialising in the creative industry’s we regularly speak with organisations who are really keen to take on apprentices but can’t find a standard that fits the job role they are looking to fill.

But what do you do in this case? You write your own standard.

Who can help you to create your own standard?

We can! As an EPAO we can work with employers and the IFATE to create standards and assessments that fill the demand for apprenticeships in certain roles. As we specialise in the creative industry, our contacts range far and wide and we’ve worked with many other organisations to create their perfect standards for their needs.

If you can’t find an occupational standard that suits your needs, contact our team. We can help you take the first step to ensure your apprenticeship journey is going to meet your needs.


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