Degree apprenticeships Q&A
The recent debate about degree apprenticeships in optometry has highlighted a few misunderstandings, about the process of developing this proposal, the AOP’s involvement, and how degree apprenticeships work. We’ve published questions and answers to address some of those points.
Is the AOP supporting this proposal?
Given what we have heard from our members, the AOP will oppose the introduction of degree apprenticeships for optometry.
Has the AOP helped to develop this proposal?
The proposal, like all apprenticeship proposals in England, is being developed by a trailblazer group led by employers. The optometry trailblazer group also involves some universities and the GOC. The AOP is not a member of the trailblazer group, and our inclusion in the list of “employers involved in the development of the standard” in the proposal consultation is incorrect.
This consultation is the first time the trailblazer group has invited the AOP and other stakeholders to comment on a concrete proposal – and so this has been the first real opportunity we’ve had to consult our members.
What will happen after this consultation?
The consultation survey says that the trailblazer group will use the consultation responses to inform the next draft of the Standard, which will be submitted to the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education for their approval.
We understand that before any university can offer a new course based on the Standard, the GOC will also need to approve both the Standard itself, and any new university course of study based on the Standard.
After this consultation the AOP will engage with the trailblazer group, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, the GOC and other organisations as needed, to make the case for stopping this proposal.
Would a degree apprenticeship mean you can become an optometrist without academic study or qualifications?
Students who successfully complete a degree apprenticeship in any subject receive a degree from the relevant university. To obtain the degree, students have to complete an End Point Assessment (EPA). We understand that the universities working with the optometry trailblazer group are still developing their proposals for the EPA.
What would the entry requirements be?
The UCAS website says “apprenticeships are jobs and so employers are ultimately responsible for recruitment. Both employers and universities will need to be satisfied the applicant meets their respective requirements. It is likely that some employers and universities will therefore do recruitment jointly”. We understand that employers and universities would need to decide together what entry requirements apply to any degree apprenticeship course they might offer.