Post-Apprenticeship Recognition Scheme (PARS)

PARS is brought to you by AoA and CIFE. It recognises the unique educational route offered by apprenticeships and the core skills and attributes they promote.

Successful applicants will gain an award that reflects the skills, knowledge and behaviours that make apprentices such an asset to their organisations. For the first time, completed apprentices will be able to gain post-nominal letters to use after their name, so raising the societal and industrial cachet of apprenticeships. 

The scheme was announced at the House of Lords in November 2023 and a group of 16 trail-blazing past apprentices took part in a pilot, concluding at an event at Mansion House in London on 7 February 2024. This pilot group are the first in the UK to receive the PARS awards and the associated post-nominals. 

After a period of further development, PARS will be open for applications this summer. 

Apprentices on stage
10 of the first 16 apprentices to be awarded with PARS

Eligibility

Applicants must:

  • be UK-based qualified apprentices who have started and completed their apprenticeship within the last 5 years (since 2019)
  • have passed their EPA
  • have the support of their employer or an industry-linked sponsor
  • be registered with the Association of Apprentices

Application Process

The straightforward application process will seek evidence of the applicant’s organisational and societal contributions resulting from their successful apprenticeship completion and the associated impact. Evidence will be considered across a range of areas such as personal reflection and development, communication, adaptability and teamwork. 

The Importance of Professional Recognition

Research conducted with apprentices and employers suggested strong support for a professional recognition scheme. Award of post nominal designations may elevate the cachet of both the recipient and the apprenticeship route and maintains a continual link to the apprenticeship. Apprentices and employers alike believe that a scheme will: 

  • support increased retention, normalise full completion and help to improve achievement rates
  • contribute to raising parity of esteem
  • build awareness of the skills, behaviours and impact that qualified apprentices offer to businesses

What this scheme is, and what it is not

PARS is:

  • a one-off recognition of an apprentice’s achievement at a specific point in time
  • recognition of the unique mode of learning and working that is an apprenticeship
  • recognition for a qualified apprentice, their summative achievement and the impact that they have made as a result on their organisation and/or community.
  • complementary to industry specific or occupational professional recognition

PARS is not:

  • an accreditation with membership of a professional body
  • an accreditation ladder where one level leads to another
  • a qualification in its own right
  • an assessment of competence
  • a further validation of technical or occupational competency,

Our Next Steps

We will place apprentices front and centre of the scheme’s development spending the next few months establishing criteria and working directly with a pilot group of apprentices to design, shape and test the application  process to ensure it is simple, straight forward and accessible.

The full scheme will be launched in summer 2024.

Register your interest to find out more

Please email Fiona Burford, Member Services Director at fiona@associationofapprentices.org.uk.

Jan Richardson-Wilde

CEO, Occupational Awards Limited

Jan is the CEO of Occupational Awards Limited, a Director of the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink and an FE College Governor. She has over 35 years’ experience in the education sector in strategic and operational management of training programmes with colleges, private training providers, local authorities the voluntary sector and not for profit organisations. Jan has previously been a board member of the Learning and Skills Council, chair of the North Yorkshire Training Provider network and Vice-Chair of Yorkshire Coast College and a Governor of the Grimsby Institute for Further and Higher Education. She has extensive experience of education policy, apprenticeships, qualification, and curriculum development as well as business improvement.

Jan joined OAL in 2019, a leading non-profit industry-focused Awarding and End-Point Assessment Organisation, supporting a wide range of employers and of key stakeholders to succeed and surpass expectations. Jan is committed to continuous improvement and enthusiastic about improving the effectiveness, impact and quality of apprenticeships, education, and training in the UK and internationally. She has a wide range of experience of working in a collaborative context with employers and training providers to develop End Point Assessment, apprenticeships, and a wide range of vocational programmes.

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