Apprenticeship Standards

New Children, Young People and Families Apprenticeship Standards

Apprenticeship standards for different occupations are being developed in various sectors of industry. The workforce represented by the Children, Young People and Families employers group is a large and varied one. This resource is designed to provide all the information needed to support the development and implementation of standards for the children, young people and families workforce.

The Children, Young People and Families Trailblazer Group is leading this work, with support by ADCS and LGA

In 2013 the Government announced big reforms to the way apprenticeships are to be designed and implemented in England. The Government’s strategy is to ensure that all new apprenticeships are developed by employer groups representing their sector, in the drive to improve quality and ensure relevance. A group of employers covering a wide spectrum of children, young people and family work have come together and worked on a set of draft standards for:

  1. Children, Young People and Family Practitioner
  2. Children, Young People and Family Manager

In designing the standards the group have taken a core and options approach so that children’s residential care and children, young people and family work in the same standard can be combined.

The Children, Young People and Families Trailblazer Group have consulted the sector on these drafts and have submitted the standards to the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). Confirmation of whether the standards will be accepted is due in late 2015 / early 2016. For for more information on this view the latest update.


The government is introducing a radical new way of designing what goes into an apprenticeship for different occupations across all sectors of industry. Apprenticeship frameworks at present must follow a template of rules about what they contain, listing qualifications, entry requirements and so on. The new approach is to start with a blank page rather than a template; to focus on outcomes rather than processes (ie what all apprentices in a job role must be able to do at the end of their apprenticeship, rather than what qualifications they must complete along the way); to make sure these outcomes can be reliably assessed; and to ensure that the decisions about all these features are made by employers themselves.

What has been announced on 12th March 2015

Apprenticeship standards for occupations are now being developed in various sectors of industry. Behind each standard is a group of employers who know what the job role requires and who commit to leading the development of the new apprenticeship standard on behalf of, and with wider input from, employers in their sector as a whole.

Each employer group must apply for recognition as a ‘Trailblazer’ group by BIS (the Dept for Business, Innovation and Skills). On 12th March the Skills Minister, Nick Boles, announced the employer groups who are to be recognised as Trailblazers for the 4th round of development which begins in April 2015. A group of employers representing care and support services for Children, Young People and Families across England is one of the groups who have received this recognition, which means that these employers are now authorised to lead the development of new apprenticeship standards for occupations in this part of the workforce

Children, Young People and Families workforce

The workforce represented by the group is a large and varied one. It includes those working with the Troubled Families initiative; Family Support Workers; Residential Care Workers; Youth Support Workers; Pastoral Workers in Schools and Further Education; Parenting Workers; Transition Workers; Key Workers; Youth Offending Teams; and many others in statutory, private, voluntary and independent services.

The number of this workforce is difficult to determine but conservative estimates suggest that a minimum of 45,000 people are employed in this workforce through local authorities and very many more who work in private, voluntary and community services. For some workers within this large sector there are regulatory requirements in terms of qualification achievement (eg in residential services), while for others there is an urgent need to develop a more structured career framework in which apprenticeship standards will play a key role.

Many services in the sector face difficulties with recruitment and retention and the availability of high quality apprenticeships is recognised as an important mechanism to attract new people into these job roles and to build the complex skills they need.

Priority roles for development of apprenticeship standards

The overarching occupation for which apprenticeship standards are to be developed is Children, Young People and Families Practitioner. The many separate job roles listed above sit within this occupation. It is anticipated that there will be core elements for all the standards developed, and these will be supplemented with specialist skills, knowledge and behaviours for each distinct context.

These are the initial job roles for which development has now been approved:

Practitioners in Residential Childcare: providing support to children and young people in residential settings such as care homes, special schools, secure settings, ‘short break’ facilities, etc. These practitioners require a wide and sophisticated range of skills in communication, safeguarding, assessment, planning and relationship-building, among others.

Managers in Residential Childcare: managing residential services for children and young people as listed above. These practitioners require general management expertise alongside complex knowledge and skills to lead their teams in supporting children and young people who are vulnerable due to being in care or living with long-term medical conditions.

Children, Young People and Family Worker: skilled in early intervention work and safeguarding and in recognising, assessing and working with the spectrum of needs that children, young people and families present. This includes support right through and including the interface with social workers at the point of referral for ‘child in need’ (Children and Families Act 1989 Section 17) and ‘child in need of protection’ (Children and Families Act 1989 Section 47). There will be specialist options with this pathway to cover the specialist skills required for working with children, working in early years and with younger children, with young people and the issues associated with adolescence, and working on a whole family approach.

Children, Young People and Family Work Supervisor: leading practice and supervising teams. These supervisors need to be able to build teams confident in their ability to deliver services on a multi-agency basis, who put the child at the centre of practice, manage resources and lead new approaches to working practices that deliver improved outcomes.

Timeframe for development and implementation

Development of standards falls into three phases:
It is anticipated that phase 1 will take April – October 2015; phase 2 October 2015 – February 2016; phase 3 March 2016 onwards. Note that these are initial estimates only and no implementation date can be specified at present. However the government intends that all apprenticeships must be delivered through the new-look standards from 2017 onwards.

  • 1. Developing concise apprenticeship standard itself (2 sides of A4 paper is the maximum allowed) stating the skills, knowledge and behaviour that apprentices must prove they can do at the end of the apprenticeship
  • 2. Developing a set of assessment principles designed to guarantee that all employers can have confidence that an apprentice really can do what it’s claimed they can do, even if the apprenticeship has been achieved with another employer.
  • 3. Supporting employers, learning providers and others involved in the process to understand the new standard and put systems in place to deliver the new apprenticeships.

During each of these phases the Trailblazer group will set up processes that enable employers across the sector to review proposals and feed into revisions and refinements.

The Trailblazer group

The Trailblazer group has been drawn together from employers in a wide range of services, from local authorities to private and voluntary sector organisations of all sizes. Four separate employer groups have come together to form an over-arching steering group that can oversee development of the standards and ensure a consistent and comprehensive approach.

Members of the core group are:

Organisation Lead representative Job Title
Appletree School Clair Davies (Chair) Principal
Suffolk County Council Fiona Denny Head of ACS and CYP Workforce Development
Lancashire County Council Pam Goulding Head of Learning and Development Service
Hants CC Cathi Hadley Assistant Director: Head of County Services
West Berks Council Rachael Wardell Corporate Director, Communities Directorate
Kirklees Council Diane Calverley Strategic Liaison Officer
Derbyshire County Council Claire Austin Integrated Workforce Development Team Manager
Harmony Services Mark Raw Managing Director
Meadows Care Sue Cryer Training & Development Manager
Acorn Homes Susan Southey Quality Assurance and Compliance Manager
Progressive Care Sharon Pressley Head of Operations
The group is also working with:
Early Intervention and Family Support Network Group Alan Dootson Chair
Early Years Trailblazer Group Chrissy Meleady Chair
Yorks and Humber Children’s Workforce Leads Group Ros Garrod-Mason Programme Support Manager

A much wider group of employers has also committed to supporting the development work. Anyone interested in being part of this work, as part of the development group or as a wider interested party, should contact Clair Davies (particularly for residential care aspects) or Ros Garrod-Mason at

Support from other agencies

The employer group has invited representatives from Skills for Care to provide support for the residential care aspect of the development work. The work also has the support of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) and the Local Government Association (LGA). Department for Education have an advisory role for the Residential Childcare standards. Department for Communities and Local Government and Department of Health are also aware of this trailblazer work and have indicated initial interest.

Apprenticeships in the meantime

The care sector as a whole already attracts and supports very significant numbers of apprentices using Apprenticeship Frameworks. The Apprenticeship Framework for the Children and Young People’s Workforce (England) is currently available for this part of the workforce and will continue to be open until the new apprenticeship standards are ready to be implemented. Detailed information is available here (search for children and young people, current frameworks) or

Tags assigned to this article:

Related Articles