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It is worth saying at this juncture that our considerations are getting ever more exciting. The clause sets out what must be included in the specification of apprenticeship standards for England. Subsection (1) provides that the specification must specify requirements in relation to the content of recognised English frameworks at level 2, known as apprenticeships, and level 3, known as advanced apprenticeships and that it may specify requirements in relation to the content of recognised English frameworks at other levels, for instance level 4, known as higher apprenticeships. The effect of subsection (2) is that the specification must require English frameworks to specify requirements for the issue of apprenticeship certificates, including levels of attainment required for the award of a certificate. It must also require each framework to identify the principal qualification in respect of that framework.
My question raises a matter in order to allow the Minister to put his response on the record. How does this differ from the existing arrangements? I am not clear how these matters are dealt with in law at the moment. Does this mark a significant change from existing practice? Before I speak of excitement too much, I remind the Committee of what Chesterton said about dull men and excitement.
The fundamental difference between these provisions and the position in law at the moment is that the provisions are not in law at the moment. It is fair to say that the specification of apprenticeship standards for England will have much in common with the existing apprenticeship blueprint. Obviously the SASE, as we all know by now, is currently out for consultation and one would not want to pre-empt that. But it is reasonable to say that there will be much common ground between the two documents. The difference is that this specification is being put on a statutory basis for the first time in 200 years: the current blueprint does not have statutory force.