Information for Employers - The Training

What training does an Apprentice receive?

An Apprenticeship involves a combination of on-the-job and off-the-job training. On the job training is provided by the employer and covers things like product or service knowledge, company culture – the things that a company would do for any employee. Off-the-job training is delivered by a registered training provider contract from the Education & Skills Funding Agency either directly or via an approved subcontractor.  That training has traditionally taken the form of an Apprenticeship framework, which is the term used to describe the training and qualifications that an Apprentice must complete in order to complete their Apprenticeship.

What is a ‘standard’?

The government is gradually replacing frameworks with new standards, which are designed to be simpler and better meet the needs of employer. Standards show what an Apprentice will be doing and the skills required of them, by job role. Standards are developed by employer groups known as ‘trailblazers’ and are being published ss they are developed and approved.

See www.gov.uk/government/collections/apprenticeship-standards to find out which standards are available now and which are currently in development.

How do Apprenticeship levels compare to other qualifications?

There are three types of Apprenticeship qualifications available and their equivalence levels are as follows:

  • Intermediate - Level 2 (5 good GCSE passes)
  • Advanced - Level 3 (2 good A Level passes)
  • Higher - Level 4-7 (Certificate of Higher Education through to Masters Degree)

Higher Apprenticeships enable learners to study to degree level These include Degree Apprenticeships, which involve a degree as an integral part of the Apprenticeship, co-designed by employers to make sure it is relevant for the skills industry is looking for.  

How much time does an Apprentice spend in 'off-the-job' training?

There is a requirement for Apprentices to spend at least 20% of their time in 'off-the-job' training to ensure that they have sufficient learning opportunities alongside the learning that takes place while they are doing their job. For example, this could be a day a week spent at a college or with a training provider, or time spent doing assignments, work related visits or shadowing a colleague. See www.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeships-off-the-job-training for details of what type of learning qualifies as 'off-the-job' training.

What is a training provider?

Training providers will usually either be a further education college or an independent training organisation. A small number of very large employers hold contracts to deliver training themselves so for the vast majority of businesses, training will be via a college or independent training organisation.

How do I find out where my nearest training provider is?

Your training provider does not necessarily need to be ‘near’ to you. Depending on the type of Apprenticeship and because training can be delivered in a number of ways, geographic location generally is not a barrier. 

How do I find a training provider?

  1. Search online for training providers NB you will need to indicate if you pay the Apprenticeship Levy, since training can vary 
  2. Call us on 0345 2411 196 – we can search for training providers on your behalf.

Then what?

Finalise your job description and make sure any training provider has a copy of that before you meet with them so they can get to work right away with planning a suitable training programme.

How do I choose my training provider?

Most important thing is to ensure you have real choice, as far as possible. Think of a training provider as a ‘supplier’ and make sure and get the best match for your business. This will include;

  1. Searching widely to make sure you have a good number of potential providers lined up.
  2. Interview providers and ask for references from satisfied employers.
  3. Checking that the provider has understood your business requirements and that the training plan they have proposed has clearly been tailored appropriately.
  4. Don’t be rushed into agreeing anything.
  5. Clarifying whether you are expected to make any £ contribution to the training and/or ‘set-up’ costs and establishing what those are.  Compare with other providers.

The Apprentice will be your employee and a training provider requires your business to draw funding. This effectively gives you purchase power – use it wisely!

How do I pay for training?

If you're an employer with a wage bill of more than £3 million a year, you will have been paying the Apprenticeship Levy from April 2017. You can use your 'Levy pot' to pay for Apprentice training and assessment. If you aren't paying the Levy, the government will 'co-invest' with you to pay for Apprenticeship training. See our Apprenticeship Levy page for full details.

Can I change my training provider part way through the Apprenticeship?

Yes, but hopefully you shouldn’t need to, particularly if you’ve put in the work beforehand to get the right provider.

If I started someone on one type of Apprenticeship but wanted to switch them to a different one part-way through, can I do it?

Yes, it can be done but it’s probably not ideal. By spending time thinking about the needs of the business and the requirements of the job beforehand, you should avoid the need for this.

It all looks and sounds like a lot of work!

Not every qualification within the framework or standard has to be completed and the exact programme of learning should be agreed between the training provider and the employer, though choice may be restricted by the breadth of the Apprentice’s job role and/or the training offered by the learning provider. The main thing to consider is that training should be relevant to the job and to the business and the more so it is, the easier it should be to evidence knowledge, competency etc.