Apprenticeships Explained

Apprenticeships attract new talent, as well as equipping existing staff with new skills

‘An apprenticeship is a substantial job, with sustained training leading to the achievement of an Apprenticeship Standard and the development of transferable skills.’

Delivering increased productivity and vibrancy into any business, apprenticeship programmes demonstrate company commitment to development and learning – and are viewed positively by stakeholders and customers.

Apprenticeship programmes are available from Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) right through to Masters Level (Level 7) – encompassing training to be a junior team member through to Masters programmes for Managers.

An apprenticeship comprises on the job training and off the job training (mentoring, work shadowing or study).  English and Maths are included if the apprentice does not hold a Level 2/GCSE Grade C qualification. End point assessment is a new feature of apprenticeship training.

One of the key apprenticeship reforms will be the removal of barriers to apprenticeships by age or by previous qualification.  This means that apprenticeship training can be used to up skill existing staff, of all ages.  In addition, as long as the apprenticeship offers materially different training to previous qualifications, then this option is open to graduates, as well as non-graduates.

Employers are exempt from payment of National Insurance contributions (NICS) for apprentices under 25.  Training costs are drawn from Levy Payments or, co-funded, for non-levy paying employers.

An Apprenticeship lasts between 12 months and 6 years depending on the level of study. Some employers manage the entire programme in-house.  Others work with external training organisations.  The right choice of training provider and programmes for delivery is vital – employers can and should influence the content and delivery of the programme.

Progression opportunities, potentially right up to degree level, and remuneration in line with sector pay, are key to attracting the right candidates.

Vacancies can be advertised free on and additional sources of advertising are frequently used by employers and training providers to ensure that their vacancies achieve maximum exposure.

Apprenticeships are:

  • Available at all levels

    Employees can access a wide range of apprenticeships at all levels from Intermediate level 2 to Masters Degree at Level 7.

  • Available for All Employees:

    Apprenticeship training is available for employees of any age, whether they are a new or existing employee, and whether they are on full or part time contract.

“We recognise the valuable contribution that a sustained Apprenticeship programme makes in ensuring our business has the necessary skills and capacity to thrive now and in the future.

Our experience is that apprentices coming into the business very soon contribute and add value to the business, whilst also furthering their studies and other professional development programmes – a real win win relationship.”

– Jeff Welsby, Warwickshire County Council

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