FAQs: Degree and higher apprenticeships – What are Trailblazers, and how might I get involved?

Degree Apprenticeships Toolkit

We’ve pulled together a list of FAQs regarding degree and higher apprenticeships.

‘Trailblazer’ is the title given to the groups of employers, professional bodies and in some cases education and/or qualification providers set up to and tasked with developing the apprenticeship standards in different occupations.

These Trailblazers are required to be employer led and driven (requiring a minimum of 10 employers), but given the importance of these Trailblazer groups in developing the standards which define the allowable content of the HE component of degree apprenticeship programmes it is highly beneficial for HEI’s to be involved as members of these groups – to help guide and influence this aspect.

The Government list of standards in development is a good place to start, as this provides contact details of the leads of the trailblazer groups for each standard currently being developed

Alternatively, if no standard exists or has yet been approved for development, it may be possible to play a more influential behind the scenes role in prompting the formation of a new trailblazer group, for example by bringing together groups of companies from their own networks.  However bear in mind that ultimately these must be employer led and driven, and it is the employers that are required to drive these and commit to creating and funding the apprentice jobs to make these viable, before the education/training element becomes relevant

The standards are defined at quite a high level of granularity of job roles (generally more tightly defined than a traditional engineering degree course title) so even if one already exists in a related area, the possibility exists to create a complementary one  provided a like-minded group of employers can be found to lead a new Trailblazer group.  Departmental industrial advisory Boards etc. might be useful in this regard.


Any views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein are solely that of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, policies, or position of the Engineering Professors’ Council or the Toolkit sponsors and supporters.

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