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  • Is an Apprenticeship full time education?

    Essentially no – An Apprenticeship is work based learning set within the context of full time employment. An applicant is eligible for an Apprenticeship at any age post GCSE. An Apprenticeship could be undertaken as an alternative to A levels, T Levels, or Higher Education. An applicant who has already achieved Further or Higher Education, and/or is already in employment can also undertake an Apprenticeship, so long as there are new knowledge/skills/behaviours to be gained that will enable them to become role competent.

  • What makes someone eligible for an Apprenticeship?

    To be entitled to undertake an Apprenticeship, the applicant needs to have the right to live and work in the UK for the duration of their Apprenticeship term. Also the applicant must have been a resident for the three years preceding the course start date. To undertake an Apprenticeship, an applicant need to be at least 16 years old or over, live in England, and not be enrolled in another form of full-time education. You cannot be enrolled on more than 1 Apprenticeship at the same time. There is no maximum age for undertaking an Apprenticeship. An Apprentice can be a new hire into a business or an existing employee undertaking substantive new learning as a means of upskilling or re-skilling as part of their professional development.

  • What is ‘Off The Job Training’?

    Off-the-job training is defined as learning which is undertaken outside of day-to-day work duties and leads towards the achievement of the Apprenticeship. This training takes place within the Apprentice’s normal (contracted) working hours. The off-the-job training must be directly relevant to the Apprenticeship. The minimum off the job training for a full-time Apprentice is an average of 6 hours per week. The off-the-job training provides the time to focus and develop the required skills, knowledge and behaviours to achieve the Apprenticeship. There are lots of activities that can contribute to off-the-job training. The key thing to remember is that it must be relevant to the Apprenticeship. An Apprentice is mandated to get time for training and study related to their role (amounting to at least 6 hours of their contracted working hours). The employer is required to support their Apprentice by giving them both the time and the opportunities to complete their 6+ hours per week. ‘Off-the-job’ training can be flexible and doesn’t have to mean 1 day out of the workplace every week – it is an average of the 6+ hours per week of the Apprentice’s overall programme. Training can take place: • at the Apprentice’s place of work • at a college or university or with a training provider • online (Apprenticeship training must not be delivered solely by self-directed distance learning) - or it could be a combination of these options. All planned off-the-job training activity (not just shadowing/mentoring) must be agreed in advance of delivery. Some off-the-job training (or English/Maths training where applicable) must take place in every calendar month of the practical period of the Apprenticeship term.

  • How is an Apprenticeship assessed?

    Apprenticeships are essentially non-exam based qualifications, but achieved through End-Point Assessment (EPA) designed to verify vocational competence. EPA is conducted in the final 3 months of an Apprenticeship and is an impartial assessment of whether your apprentice has developed the skills, knowledge and behaviours outlined in the Apprenticeship Standard. Assessments are designed by employers in the sector and are conducted by independent bodies known as end-point assessment organisations (EPAOs). They will typically consist of the submission of a summative portfolio of work based evidence, a project, a presentation based on the project, and a professional discussion. Your chosen training provider selects an EPAO in advance of the Apprenticeship, unless you as the employer wish to do so, to ensure that your Apprentice fully understands the assessment criteria from the beginning and how they will be achieve the required criteria. As well as successfully completing the EPA, your apprentice may need to complete, and pass, several additional requirements before completion of the apprenticeship. This might include English and maths qualifications, depending on their prior qualifications. Once all elements of the Apprenticeship are completed, the Apprentice will receive their Apprenticeship certificate.

  • How long is an Apprenticeship?

    An Apprenticeship term is legislated to be a minimum of 372 days. They are typically between 15 – 18 months at Level 3 and 21 – 24 months at Level 4. A full training plan and schedule will be discussed and agreed between the employer and training provider before the start of Apprenticeship programme delivery.

  • What qualifications are needed to take up an Apprenticeship?

    There are no mandatory qualifications required to enable enrolment onto an Apprenticeship. Employer preference may place emphasis on aptitude, transferable skills and ability to learn more than prior qualifications and existing technical skills. Some employers may also ask for GCSEs (A-C/9 -4) in English, Maths and possibly ICT, although the high likelihood is that the priority will be placed on demonstrable interest in IT. As part of the enrolment process individuals will take English and Maths Initial Assessments to determine that they are at least up to the capability level of GCSE Grades A – C (now Grades 9 – 4).

  • Can you do an Apprenticeship if you have a degree?

    Yes. Holding a Batchelors or Masters degree no longer automatically excludes an applicant from undertaking an Apprenticeship. Because each Apprenticeship is predominantly job role specific, so long as an applicant doesn’t already have significant existing knowledge and experience in the subject matter of the Apprenticeship they are applying for, then they will not be ruled out based on their prior academic learning undertaken in other subjects not related to their Apprenticeship. So anyone can undertake an Apprenticeship at a higher, equal, or lower level than a qualification they already hold, including a previous Apprenticeship, so long as an applicant will acquire substantive new skills and the content of the training is materially different from any prior training or previous Apprenticeship. All relevant prior learning will be considered in the application process when assessing learner eligibility to validate that the applicant will acquire substantive new learning from the Apprenticeship.

  • What are Level 3 and Level 4 Apprenticeships equivalent to?

    There is an academic equivalency to A Levels (or T Levels) for a Level 3 Apprenticeship, and to a Cert. Ed. Diploma for Level 4. However an Apprenticeship is a competence based qualification, not purely academic. Therefore if you have achieved an A level in French or History for example, it would not automatically follow that you would begin an Apprenticeship at Level 4 (such as the Network Engineer Apprenticeship.) It very much depends on the duties and competencies that you are required to develop in the job role you are applying for.

  • What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

    The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in 2017 as the means by which larger employers would fund the procurement of Apprenticeship training services. A larger business is defined as a company with a UK annual wage bill of £3 million or more. Companies of this scale or larger are legislated to make a monthly ‘tax’ deposit into their Apprenticeship Levy account of 0.05% of their pay bill (via monthly declaration through PAYE alongside Income Tax and National Insurance). Each monthly deposit is valid for 24 months, then will expire and devolve into E.S.F.A. (Education & Skills Funding Agency) central funds. Your available Apprenticeship Levy funds cover apprenticeship training and assessment costs for your England based apprentices. Each business entity is given the first £15,000 as a Levy allowance. You also get a 10% monthly top up from the government. (Therefore every £1.00 deposited in your Levy account you get £1.10 to spend.) The level of funding that enters an employer’s account each month is therefore: • Monthly levy paid to HMRC; • Multiplied by proportion of the employer’s pay bill paid to workforce living in England; • Plus the 10% government top-up on this amount Apprenticeship Levy payments are drawn upon through the Apprenticeship Service, the online service introduced as part of the levy reforms to allow employers to choose and pay for Apprenticeship training more easily.

  • What if my company doesn’t pay The Apprenticeship Levy? How are Apprenticeships paid for in that instance?

    Where a larger company will support 100% of the Apprenticeship training and assessment cost from their Apprenticeship Levy funds, if you are a smaller company (i.e. less than £3m pay bill and therefore not a Levy payer) the training cost is 95% covered via the government (E.S.F.A.) with only a 5% employer contribution required. This is known as the ‘Co-Funding’ model or scheme. From 1 April 2022, employers that do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy are now able to reserve funding for unlimited Apprenticeship starts. These reservations give non-levy employers certainty that the government will pay for apprenticeship training while also managing the availability and affordability of Apprenticeship funding for all employers. In addition to the above, there is also the option of ‘Levy-transfer’ – a process whereby large employers transfer unused levy funds to non-levy payers. This means the non-levy business do not have to pay the 5% co-funding. Please contact us to understand more about this.

  • Does the government pay Apprenticeship wages?

    No. The costs of the Apprenticeship training and assessment are paid for through either the Apprenticeship Levy or predominantly (95%) through the Co-Funding model. The employer is responsible for paying an appropriate salary (as required with any other employee). An Apprenticeship is not a free labour scheme. Key questions for employers are around the value and return on investment gained by adding or upskilling resources through the Apprenticeship route when compared to other resourcing solutions, (e.g. graduates, or by outsourcing/contracting work as needed.) Retention statistics for Apprentices exceed those of graduates, so immediate and future skills needs should be considered. A reasonable salary cost for an early careers Apprentice newly hired into a first line role could typically be £18 – 22k with consideration of a higher salary based on regional variations and the starting experience/capability of the individual selected.

  • Are there any other financial incentives for utilsing Apprenticeships?

    Employers and training providers could get £1,000 each where the employer takes on an Apprentice who is aged 16 to 18 years old. (The same incentive applies if the selected Apprentice is aged 19 to 25 years old and has an education, health and care (EHC) plan or has been in the care of their local authority.) Employers do not need to take any action to enable this. The training provider confirms with the ESFA that an apprentice is eligible and claims payments. The first payment of £500 should be paid to the employer by the training provider 90 days after the apprenticeship training start date. The final payment of £500 should be paid to the employer by the training provider after 365 days of the apprenticeship training start date. (Training providers have 30 working days to make payment to employers.) The employer can spend this £1,000 incentive payment on any costs associated with supporting an apprentice in the workplace, for example, on uniforms, your apprentice’s travel or their salary.

  • Can you do an Apprenticeship at any age?

    Yes, since The Apprenticeships Reform Programme established in May 2015, Apprenticeships can now be applied to employees of any age. An Apprenticeship therefore enables career-starters, plus upskillers and reskillers.

  • Can an individual undertake more than one Apprenticeship?

    Yes. For example there are IT/Digital Apprenticeships available from Level 3 to Level 7, so it’s possible to progress up to Higher and Degree Apprenticeships when starting with a Level 3 or Level 4 Apprenticeship. The level of the Apprenticeship will be determined by the duties and competencies required in the job role according to the employer. They will discuss and agree with the Training Provider which is the most appropriate Apprenticeship Standard available to support the duties and competencies required to develop across the full term of the Apprenticeship.

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