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May Digital Route Review Update

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Apprenticeship standards, Employers, Route Panel

Relationship Manager Overview

As we all continue to work through the difficult circumstances generated by the Covid-19 pandemic, progress from the digital route review trailblazer groups (TBG) has maintained pace with only a small amount of adjustment to timescales required.

The Institute is keen to support our groups through this difficult time and make sure that we can respond with flexibility while maintaining our business focus.  Employers are finding that funding quotes for new apprenticeship standards are proving especially hard to generate currently, due to the effects on the training provider landscape. The TBG chairs are working hard to provide quotes to inform funding decisions where they can.

It will not be possible to formally publish the revised standards until the quotes are in and funding bands have been allocated, but we do not want this to detract from the excellent progress that is being made by everyone involved in this route review process.

Three Level 4 apprenticeship standards and their end-point assessment plans were approved, subject to conditions, as of 27 April - software developer, data analyst, and network engineer. Fantastic progress is also being made, in spite of the Covid-19 crisis, with the other standards (see below). Everyone at the Institute would like to say a huge thank you to all of the employers who are continuing to dedicate so much of their precious time to improving the digital apprenticeships offer for future generations. You are truly incredible!

The TBGs have been telling me that they will continue as far as possible to deliver on this critical work, while accepting that this has required a move to different ways of engaging and for some groups a need to scale back progress against anticipated timelines.

As always, all the TBG Chairs are keen to hear from any employers who have an interest in the standards under review whether as past, current or future employers of apprentices. You will find contact email addresses below.

The TBG chairs remain especially keen to discuss approaches to transition to the new standards. They would like to hear the views of the key stakeholders in using and delivering the standards and how best to mitigate against any unnecessary upheaval whilst acknowledging that what is being launched is an improved product and so a timely launch is key. Some chairs have already had very useful discussions with key stakeholders and they are looking to hear as many views as possible on what the wider sector thinks.


Summary of activity and timeline for standards review up to 9 April 2020

  • Data Analyst Level 4: The standard has been approved and the EPA submitted to the Institute in April was approved with conditions at route panel on 27 April. Funding band quotes pending from employers, before final funding recommendations can be approved and the standard launched.


  •  Network Engineer Level 4: The draft standard has been approved with conditions and the TBG is working on addressing those conditions. The EPA was approved with conditions by the route panel on 27 April. Funding band pending quotes.


  • Unified Communications Trouble-shooter Level 4: This standard has been proposed for decommissioning in the coming weeks.


  • Cyber Security Technologist Level 4: The standard was approved with conditions and the EPA is currently being drafted with a planned submission date of 20 May. Funding band pending quotes


  • Cyber Intrusion Analyst Level 4: The standard has been proposed for decommissioning in the coming weeks.


  • Software Developer Technician Level 3: The standard has been drafted and is with the wider TBG for consultation and the EPA has been drafted. Both are planned to submit by 20 May. Funding band pending quotes


  •  Software Developer Level 4: The standard was submitted to the Institute in February and has been approved with conditions. The TBG is working to address those conditions currently. The EPA was approved with conditions at route panel on 27 April. Funding band pending quotes


  • Unified Communications Technician Level 3: A new TBG has been formed and has agreed to reformulate the standard as Digital Communications Technician within the Infrastructure Technician rewritten standard. This is to fulfil a need for this occupation highlighted by the TBG members. The TBG met for a virtual workshop on 23 April and again on 7 May. The TBG is keen for anyone interested in this standard to join. Please contact Simon Keyland, as the TBG chair, or myself to discuss joining the TBG. The standard content has been drafted for the Digital Communications Technician option and is pending final approval from the TBG along with the EPA approach. The TBG continues to expect to deliver the standard and EPA to the Institute by 20 May. Funding band pending quotes


  • Infrastructure Technician Level 3: The TBG has renamed the standard Information Communication Technician to better reflect the target occupation and job roles within it. The TBG has drafted a core and options model to accommodate Support Technician, Network Technician and Digital Communications Technician. The TBG has also considered the link to T-levels and pre-existing standards in this occupational route. The TBG proposes to submit revised standard to route panel by 20 May 2020 with the EPA. Funding band pending quotes


  • Software Tester Level 4: The TBG has submitted the revised standard and it was approved with conditions. The retention of the standard at level 4 has been agreed. The TBG is now working to address those conditions. The EPA is in draft and will be submitted by 20 May.


  • IS (Information Systems) Business Analyst Level 4: The standard was submitted in April and renamed as Business Analyst. The route panel approved the revised standard with conditions. The TBG has been affected by the impacts of Covid-19 on its ability to deliver the EPA by 20 May. They will now submit the EPA by 15 July, which is the next submission date.


  • Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Level 6: The TBG continues to expand to welcome and include further employers. The TBG has worked hard to clarify the duties and KSBs for the specialisms/options currently available and is finalising the draft standard to submit by 20 May.  Research is ongoing concerning the mandatory inclusion of a degree so that an evidence-based decision may be reached.  The group plan to submit the final EPA document by 15 July if circumstances permit.


TBG Chair Contacts:

Rebecca Plant at

  • Infrastructure Technician Level 3
  • Software Developer Technician L3
  • Data Analyst Level 4
  • Software Developer Level 4
  • Software Tester Level 4


Jonathan Goodall at

  • Network Engineer Level 4


Simon Keyland at

  • Unified Communications Trouble-shooter Level 4
  • Unified Communications Technician Level 3


Paul Thorlby at

  • Cyber Security Technologist Level 4
  • Cyber Intrusion Analyst L4 .


Christina Lovelock at

  • IS Business Analyst Level 4


Jenny Taylor at

  • Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Level 6


I want to repeat my heartfelt thank you to everyone involved in the review and rewriting of the digital standards. The trailblazer groups are indebted to the contributions of training providers and end point assessment organisations, as they work through the EPA content, and recognise how hard it is in the current crisis. The enthusiasm from all involved is truly inspirational and it is heartening to see everyone focused on the future when these standards will be launched and able to play their part in helping the UK economy by filling the digital skills gap for these occupations.

Best wishes and stay safe,


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