You may have picked up that IOL are working in partnership with a group of employers to develop new apprenticeships for the outdoors. This involves identifying sufficiently generic job roles in outdoor learning provision and what we would need a competent person to be able to do in that role, as well as deciding how to assess they are competent. As the relatively recent call from Westminster to develop such ‘trailblazer apprenticeships’ coincides with the need for IOL’s professional accreditations to go through a review, the employer’s group and IOL have decided to ensure the two pieces of work inform each other. The employer’s group has recently received the go ahead from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to start work on the first of the apprenticeship levels.
It is important to recognise what term apprenticeship means at this time. It is essentially a learning journey that results in the competence to deliver a sufficiently different level of role. As such it can be applied to the training up of a senior instructor as much as for the initial development of the school leaver. This means that the process of developing multiple level apprenticeships for the outdoors provides important pointers during the planned review of the content of all levels of IOL professional standards and vice versa.
To be clear there is no plan to dumb down IOL’s professional standards or to remove the disciplines required to be accredited. This review announced in the recent Horizons 74 will lead to a closer relationship between the needs of employers and professional standards. It is seeking to ensure that much of what sits within the current professional standards influences the design and delivery of the new apprenticeships. If you are interested in either the review of the professional standards or the development of the apprenticeships over the coming months contact Neal Anderson (IOL Professional Standards Manager) or Mark Lavington (chair of the employer’s group)