An apprenticeship is a job with training.
Through an apprenticeship, an apprentice will gain the technical knowledge, practical experience and wider skills and behaviours that they need for their immediate job and future career.
The apprentice gains this through formal off-the-job training and the opportunity to practise these new skills in a real work environment (on-the-job training).
The job must have a productive purpose and you must provide the apprentice with the appropriate support and supervision to carry out their job role and their apprenticeship. This includes the opportunity to embed and consolidate the knowledge, skills and behaviours gained through apprenticeship off-the-job training into the workplace.
An apprenticeship includes a practical period of work and training that lasts for a minimum duration of 12 months. This includes where the content, duration and price has been adjusted to recognise prior learning. For example, to satisfy this requirement, an apprentice who starts their training on 1 August 2020 must still be receiving training on 31 July 2021. The apprentice must be involved in active learning throughout an apprenticeship.
The standard specification or assessment plan may require this practical period of training to be longer to support the delivery of the full apprenticeship content. The end-point assessment can only be taken after the minimum duration has been met. You must confirm this as part of the gateway checks.
The minimum duration of each apprenticeship is based on the apprentice working at least 30 hours a week, including any off-the-job training they undertake. Please note: Working fewer than 30 hours a week, or being on a zero-hours contract must not be a barrier to successfully completing an apprenticeship.
You have access to a free tool to help you recruit new apprentices into your business please refer to the following links for more information:
You and EDLounge (your training provider) must conduct an initial assessment screening to include Maths and English Initial and diagnostic assessments, in line with the proposed apprenticeship agreement.
Your initial assessment must show that:
The approved apprenticeship agreement must set out:
The practical period start date set out in the apprenticeship agreement must match the practical period start date in the commitment statement and the start date in the Individual Learner Record (ILR).
Every apprentice must be paid a lawful wage for the time they are in work and in off-the-job training.
You must meet the cost of the apprentice’s wages. Where you are using the apprenticeship minimum wage you must only do so from the start of the apprenticeship programme and not before.
You can find further information on apprentice wages here: National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates - GOV.UK
Off-the-job training is a statutory requirement for an apprenticeship. It is training which is received by the apprentice, during the apprentice’s normal working hours, for the purpose of achieving the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the approved apprenticeship referenced in the apprenticeship agreement. By normal working hours we mean the hours for which the apprentice would normally be paid, excluding overtime.
Off-the-job training must deliver new skills that are directly relevant to the apprenticeship. It can include the following:
Off-the-job training does not include:
It is up to you to decide how the off-the-job training is delivered. It can include training that is delivered at the apprentice’s normal place of work. It can also include regular day release, block release and special training days/workshops. The number of planned off-the-job training hours, for the full apprenticeship, must be documented on the apprenticeship agreement and the commitment statement. These must be separate documents.
Since 1 August 2019 planned off-the-job training hours must also be documented on the individualised learner record. You or the provider must not change this figure once submitted.
From 1 August 2020, actual off-the-job training hours should be documented on the ILR at the end of the practical period.
Evidence must be available to support the delivery of the planned off-the-job training that is set out in the apprentice’s commitment statement.
If planned off-the-job training is unable to take place as scheduled, you must ensure this is re-arranged so that the full complement of training set out in the commitment statement can still be delivered. All off-the-job training must take place during normal working hours.
In the world of apprenticeship standards, the gateway is the door between the two core stages of the apprenticeship. At the gateway, the employer (often in consultation with the apprenticeship provider) unlocks the door because they believe the apprentice is competent in their job and ready and able to prove it.
The Gateway ensures that all apprentices have completed the mandatory aspects of the occupational standard and any work that underpins specified assessment methods and that employers believe an apprentice is occupationally competent at the point they enter the gateway.
Employers have an important role in assessing competency and they have a key responsibility at the gateway in signing off the apprentice as ready to undertake End Point Assessment known as EPA. it is not seen however as appropriate for employers to be directly involved in EPA assessment methods because their independence is compromised.
The EPA takes place with an independent End Point Assessment Organisation (EAPO) when all the on-programme training has been completed and after the gateway has been passed. It should only start once the employer is confident that the apprentice is occupationally competent, that is, they are deemed to be working at or above the level set out in the occupational standard and ready to undertake an EPA. The employer may seek input from the apprentice’s training provider(s) in making this decision, but the decision must ultimately rest with the employer.
The EPA plan must set out any gateway requirements to be completed or achieved before an apprentice can undertake an EPA. This section of your EPA plan must cover:
Before the apprenticeship practical period starts and before the apprenticeship agreement is signed, you as the employer and the apprentice must have contributed to and signed a copy of the commitment statement (often known as the individual learning plan). This must set out how all parties (you as the employer and as the main provider) and the apprentice will support the achievement of the apprenticeship.
The commitment statement and apprenticeship agreement must be separate documents.
The commitment statement must be kept up to date with any material changes (e.g. as a result of changes agreed at a progress review).
All parties must keep a current signed and dated version of the commitment statement. You must keep your version (and previous versions) in the evidence pack with the apprenticeship agreement.
EDLounge looks forward to working with you and the apprentice to successfully achieve all our combined objectives.