Proposals for optometry degree apprenticeship put on hold

The trailblazer group behind the pathway acknowledged concerns raised around the submission of the proposals and said a “hiatus” would enable time for a review of feedback

Pixabay/Jason Gillman

Proposals for an optometry degree apprenticeship have been put on hold after “significant concerns” were raised by the profession around the submission of the plans.

The trailblazer group, which is seeking to develop an optometrist apprenticeship pathway, announced it had submitted an apprenticeship standard and end point assessment proposal to the Institute for Apprenticeship and Technical Education (IFATE) last month (November).

The proposals were submitted without consulting sector bodies and, reports suggest, without prior circulation and involvement of group members.

Sector bodies expressed concerns around the proposals, with AOP chief executive, Adam Sampson, highlighting that members “view the proposal as it stands with a serious lack of confidence.”

According to reports, the trailblazer group met this week to discuss the proposals for the apprenticeship standard and end point proposal, acknowledging the “significant concerns” raised by members of the profession.

The group agreed that further development and consultation would be needed before the concept could be progressed to IFATE, confirming a “hiatus” which would enable time for the group to reflect on the feedback received in response to news of the submission.

The existing proposal has been put on hold and the group has said it will develop and consult on a revised draft, involving members of the group and sector stakeholders.

The end-point assessment stage forms part of the IFATE process, which examines whether the proposed assessment methods would enable apprentices to demonstrate that they have achieved occupational competence.

The AOP has previously highlighted the concerns of members on the proposals for a degree apprenticeship, including in response to the trailblazer group consultation in 2019.