Apprenticeship standards and frameworks

Apprenticeship standards and frameworks provide details of the skills, knowledge and behaviours apprentices need to acquire in order to qualify in their chosen field. Awarding organisations need to agree these standards and CITB, as the Sector Skills Council for construction, plays a role in co-ordinating this work.

The way these standards are organised and monitored varies across the UK. Details for each country can be found below.

Apprenticeships in England are changing

There are 2 key changes:

Frameworks to Standards

  • From 1 August 2020, all new apprentices will start their apprenticeship on the standards model, and the framework model will no longer be available.
  • If an apprentice has already started on a framework model they will continue their apprenticeship on that framework model.

Apprenticeship service

  • The Apprenticeship Service is available to all now, although optional for non levy-paying employers until 31 March 2021.
  • From 1 April 2021 all apprenticeships must be arranged through the Government’s Apprenticeship Service.

Employers in England still using apprenticeship frameworks should plan their move to standards and set up an Apprenticeship Service account online.

How they work

Apprenticeship standards in construction in England follow a pattern of vocational training meeting Gateway requirements (including English and Maths). This is then followed by practical and knowledge tests to complete the apprenticeship.

For information on apprenticeship standards in England (also called 'Trailblazers') please visit the Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA) website. The IFA gives details on how to develop standards, assessment plans and apprenticeships, and holds all the approved apprenticeship standards for England. Under each entry you can see the trade, the date the standard was approved, what level, the length of the qualification and the maximum amount of funding you can receive for training an apprentice at this level.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency has stated that all frameworks (where they have not already been closed by Issuing Authorities) will be withdrawn by them 2020 to 2021 academic year, as they expect that employers and providers will have completed the transition by this date.

See Withdrawal of apprenticeship frameworks guidance 

Training specifications to support apprenticeship standards

CITB works with employer development groups to develop training specifications which support the new standards in England. These documents provide the detail of the skills and knowledge that an apprentice must gain and demonstrate before their End-Point Assessment.

View and download these specifications

Further information about moving from frameworks to standards

The move in England from framework apprenticeships to the new standards-based apprenticeships affects how apprenticeships are assessed. The new apprenticeship standard focuses on assessing the apprentice at the end of their apprenticeship journey when they are expected to be most accomplished and able to demonstrate competence in performing the occupational role. This move towards the end-point assessment for final certification of competence moves the focus away from the framework approach of on-going assessment throughout the apprenticeship.

The Sector plan report shows all apprenticeship standard (trailblazer) activity for construction and the built environment. It includes:

  • a summary
  • a table of apprenticeships ready for delivery
  • current apprenticeships in development
  • future development activity.

Download the Sector plan report (PDF, 202KB)

Modern aprenticeships in Scotland

In Scotland, approved frameworks are based on the modern (level 2 and 3), technical (level 4) and professional (level 5) apprenticeships. These have been developed to help meet the skill priorities of the construction industry in Scotland by: 

  • continuing to provide qualifications required by employers to help their business grow
  • providing a flexible entry route to attract applicants from under-represented groups
  • including literacy, numeracy, problem solving and employability skills to develop the confidence of apprentices to take them throughout their working life which are incorporated within the framework
  • following Skills Development Scotland's guidance for Sector Skills Councils.

See a complete list of frameworks for modern apprenticeships at all levels on the Skills Development Scotland website.

Apprenticeship frameworks in Wales

There are frameworks for - foundation (level 2), apprenticeship (Level 3) and Higher (Level 4 and above) in:

  • Construction Building
  • Construction Civil Engineering
  • Construction Specialist
  • Construction Technical and Professional.

The apprenticeship at Foundation (Level 2), Apprenticeship (Level 3) and Higher (Level 4 and above) has been developed to help meet the skills priorities of the industry and for Wales.

Find information on apprenticeship frameworks that meet the national standards for Wales at Apprenticeship framework online

Apprenticeship frameworks in Northern Ireland

CITB Northern Ireland works with the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland to develop frameworks for apprenticeships in construction at Level 2, Level 3 and above.

See frameworks as published on the NI Direct Government website