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DfEE proposals to improve skills of work-based trainers


The Department for Education and Employment has published a consultation document which sets out proposals to improve the skill levels and qualifications of staff who deliver work-based learning.

The consultation document, "Raising Standards in Post-16 Learning. Building Practitioner Skills and Qualifications in Work-Based Learning" has been sent out to all 2,200 learning providers involved in delivering work-based learning in England.

According to the DfEE, skills gaps have been identified among work-based learning providers through research carried out for TECs and NTOs and research carried out by the HOST Consultancy group for ENTO.

The main areas the government says need improvement are as follows:

  • tasks related to the planning of provision, involving the co-ordination and design of programmes
  • skills needed in the direct interaction between providers and learners, including learner-centred support, and communication skills
  • occupational competence
  • relating learning contexts to individual needs

Eight primary activities which form a 'practitioner framework' have been identified in the document as being needed to underpin the skills required of a work-based trainer.

The Practitioner Framework

  • Manage the training and delivery process
  • Plan and develop integrated programmes of work-based training
  • Identify trainees’ abilities and needs in relation to programmes of work-based training
  • Provide appropriate work-based training opportunities
  • Support trainees and monitor progress against an agreed training plan
  • Assess trainees’ achievements on work-based programmes;
  • Monitor and evaluate effectiveness of work-based programmes
  • Develop and monitor professional competence
  • From the research, the DfEE concludes that about a quarter of the proposed framework is not covered in existing occupational standards and the qualifications based on them. The gaps mainly centre on planning, management, and on learner support. The Employment National Training Organisation is currently in the process of revising the occupational standards it is responsible for, which include those for Personnel and Training and Development, and the DfEE expects these new standards to fill the gaps in the current ones.

    The DfEE has said that training suppliers themselves will bear the primary responsibility for improving the quality of provision, but that many are already delivering high quality education and training and will see minimal change under the new arrangements. Although the Learning and Skills Council will be responsible for proposing strategies on raising standards nationally, The local LSCs will be responsible for assessing performance locally.

    The DfEE is asking for responses to the consultation document from anyone who has an interest by 28 July. Comments should be sent to Dave Cooper, Consultation Unit,
    DfEE, Level 2b, Castle View House, Runcorn, Cheshire. WA7 2GJ or by e-mail to

    Further information about the process of establishing the Learning and Skills Council, its local arms, and related subjects, can be found at and or the DfEE's website.


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