On 25 August, TQUK learned that two of the new apprenticeship standards, the Hospitality Team Member (HTM) standard and the Hospitality Supervisor (HS) standard, are currently under review by the government and the Trailblazer group that created them. The standards are currently under review and the government is seeking feedback from the industry in order to make its changes as appropriate as possible.

This is unwelcome news that many in the industry have found frustrating.

After having to familiarise themselves with the new apprenticeship standard reforms, it was hoped that, once the new standards were rolled out, the industry would have a concrete set of assessment standards to live and work by.

For the hospitality sector, that no longer seems to be the case.

PDFs of the standard factsheets and assessment plans were taken down and made unavailable on the government apprenticeship website and reposted after 11:00 AM on 25 August, 2017.

The amendments to the factsheets and assessment plans sent to TQUK by a well-known training provider in the hospitality industry seem fairly substantial, with changes ranging from minor amendments to wording to the inclusion of entirely new specialisms. As is expected with large overhauls of any system, once a replacement is decided on, there is endless second-guessing about the finished item.

Changes to the HTM standard include the inclusion of a new specialisms, including Licensed Retail, which centres around the service and sale of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. (It remains unclear how apprentices under the legal drinking age would be able to pursue this stream, but that should be put to one side for now.) Another new specialism is called Hospitality Outlet Team Member, which is targeted towards training apprentices for outlet-style retail operations, training the apprentice in stock control, display, brand maintenance and efficiency. A third specialism is Food Preparation, which trains the apprentice on preparing food for cooking and consumption. Changes to the wording of other specialisms are numerous.

There is also a requirement for apprentices to complete level 2 English & maths before taking proceding to end-point assessment.

Changes to the HS standard reflect changes to the HTM standard. New specialisms include streams such as Licensed Retail Supervisor and Barista Supervisor. If changes to the HTM standard are permanent, it appears there is an effort to standardise these changes across the different levels of apprenticeships and sync subject streams so they can be built on once the apprentice reaches the next stage of progression.

The assessment plan for HS has also changed. The On-Demand Test has been shortened from 2 hours to 75 minutes and the Business Project is now required to be completed within a 2 month assessment window.

These changes have rankled a few feathers. Many, including higher-ups at the training provider TQUK has been in contact with, have some serious problems with the timeframe for completion of the Business Project being within the window of the end-point assessment, likely around 8 weeks. They argue that this timeframe is too short. Completing all assessment components under these conditions would be very difficult for any apprentice. It is also unclear what the proposed business project is supposed to consist of.

Concerns were also raised about a new requirement for external quality assessors (EQAs are, basically, assessors assessing the assessors). If EQAs are to give feedback to the end-point assessors about the quality of their assessment practices, the end-point assessors will need more time to get, process and implement recommendations.

It must be stated that none of these changes are based on any experience of the apprenticeship. The number of registrations into Hospitality standards has been minimal and no one is in a position to have seen completions in any significant volume. It is strange that the government expects training providers and apprentice assessment organisations to respond on such short notice.

It is also unlikely that any of the feedback given will be implemented or taken seriously. By the end of the process, it is entirely possible that we will receive a reviewed apprenticeship standard dictated from on high that may further complicate and frustrate the people trying to provide the training and assessment.

It’s currently unknown why the review was conducted or why this review couldn’t have waited until a later time. Will there be other reviews on other standards? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Until that time, keep up to date on the latest news and our incisive commentary by returning to our blog and following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

See you out there!