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Apprenticeships Overview

What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a paid job with an accompanying skills development programme which allows the apprentice to gain technical knowledge and real practical experience through a mix of learning in the workplace, formal ‘off-the-job’ training and the opportunity to practise and embed new skills in a real work context. So, not only will you gain valuable experience you will also be learning and studying and earning money at the same time. 

Apprenticeships have been designed by employers to meet employers’ needs for a particular sector or job role, and each apprenticeship defines the skills, knowledge, behaviours and formal qualifications that the apprentice needs to acquire in order to become competent in their chosen field, and to be awarded the status of fully qualified apprentice. 

Apprenticeships are nationally recognised as a fantastic pathway into the career of your choice and HLC now offers apprenticeships in almost all industries. 

To find out more you can get in touch with our Apprentice Support Team:

Call: 0800 032 1986

What types of apprenticeship are available?

Apprenticeships are changing.  The government has asked employers in each sector to review the content of apprenticeships for their industries and occupations, and these new, revised apprenticeships, are known as Apprenticeship Standards.  

What is in an Apprenticeship Standard?

Apprenticeship Standards replace existing Apprenticeship Frameworks.  The current list of Apprenticeship Standards available for each sector or job role can be found on the government website; 

Each Apprenticeship Standard defines the skills, knowledge and behaviours required for that particular job role or occupation, and each Standard is accompanied by an Assessment Plan, which details how the apprentice will assessed against the Standard.

Your employer will be required to release you from work in order to receive off-the-job training.  This could be the requirement to attend college in the form of a day release or block release, or it could be training that takes place at your place of work but away from the immediate requirements and pressures of your normal job role.  We will advise you and your employer about the off-the-job attendance requirements for your chosen apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship Standards can be quite different from each other.  For example, some specify the achievement of mandatory qualifications, whilst others do not require the achievement of formal qualifications.  We will advise you on the requirements for your particular apprenticeship.

However, all Standards will contain the following:

  1. Skills & Competencies
    The Standard will define the range of skills and competencies that the apprentice needs to practice and acquire in order to do the job to a specified standard.  These skills are largely acquired and practised in the workplace and the college will allocate an assessor, who has the relevant industry experience and background, to carry out formal or informal assessment of your skills and provide you with feedback.

  2. Knowledge & Understanding
    The Standard will define the knowledge and understanding that the apprentice will need to acquire and apply in order to carry out their role effectively and become occupationally competent.

  3. Behaviours
    The Standard will define the behaviours that the apprentice will need to demonstrate in order to become occupationally competent.  This may include behaviours such as good attendance and punctuality, good communication, problem solving or customer service skills etc.

  4. Maths and English
    Virtually all Standards require the apprentice to achieve qualifications in English and maths prior to the end of their apprenticeship, and this will normally be Functional Skills qualifications.

    Apprentices without prior qualifications in English and maths at Level 2 (e.g. GCSEs at grade C/grade 4 or above) will be required to study these subjects as part of their apprenticeship.

    English and maths Functional Skills are practical, applied literacy and numeracy qualifications, relevant to both young people and adult learners. They will help the apprentice to develop and apply important skills such as communication, analytical and presentational skills.

    Functional Skills are assessed by examination and normally require the apprentice to attend college on one or more three-day blocks throughout the year, depending on individual requirements.

  5. End Point Assessment
    Each Standard has a detailed Assessment Plan that sets out how the apprentice is going to be assessed against each of the above elements of their apprenticeship.

    Some Standards may require the achievement of formal and recognised qualifications as part of the Standard.  Other Standards may require the apprentice to pass formal skills and knowledge assessments at certain points in their apprenticeship before they can move on to the next stage, and these are known as Gateway Assessments.

    The range and type of assessment methods vary significantly between Standards, but all Standards will contain an End Point Assessment.  This is an assessment that takes place at the end of the apprenticeship and is designed to assess the apprentice against all elements of the apprenticeship; skills, knowledge and behaviours. The End Point Assessment is carried out by an independent End Point Assessment organisation, and it will typically be spread out over a number of days.

    The apprentice needs to pass the End Point Assessment in order to become a fully qualified apprentice.

Assessment Methods

The assessment methods employed to assess the apprentice throughout and / or at the end of their apprenticeship could be one or more of the following:

  • Portfolio/Log-Book
  • Written or online knowledge tests
  • Observations
  • Practical Test/Assessments
  • Presentations
  • Projects
  • Assignments
  • Interview/viva/professional discussion

What levels of apprenticeship are available?

There are three levels of apprenticeships available for those aged 16 and over and living, working or studying in England.

  • Intermediate Apprenticeships (equivalent to five good GCSE passes)
    Intermediate Apprenticeships involve the development and assessment of skills and knowledge at Level 2 (relevant to the occupational sector or job role), and as defined by the Standard. Achievement of an Intermediate Apprenticeship may allow progression onto an Advanced Apprenticeship.
    To start an Intermediate Apprenticeship, the applicant should ideally have 5 GCSEs (grade E/grade 2 or above).
  • Advanced Apprenticeships (equivalent to two A Level passes) Advanced apprenticeships involve the development and assessment of skills and knowledge at Level 3 (relevant to the occupational sector or job role), and as defined by the Standard. Achievement of an Advanced Apprenticeship may allow progression onto a Higher Apprenticeship.
    To start an Advanced Apprenticeship, the applicant should ideally have five good GCSEs (grade C/grade 4 or above) or have completed an Intermediate Apprenticeship.
  • Higher & Degree Apprenticeships
    Higher & Degree Apprenticeships involve the development and assessment of skills and knowledge at Level 4 or above (relevant to the occupational sector or job role), and as defined by the Standard. Higher Apprenticeships at Level 4 and 5 can allow progression on to university degrees, and Degree Apprenticeships are also now becoming widely available in most sectors.
    To start a Higher or Degree Apprenticeship, the applicant should ideally have a relevant Level 3 vocational qualification or three good A Levels or have completed a relevant Level 3 Apprenticeship.

How long is an apprenticeship?

The minimum length of an apprenticeship is 12 months, but some apprenticeships will be designed to last two, three or four years. This will depend on the Standard being followed, the level of apprenticeship, the specific occupational area/sector and the prior skill levels of the apprentice.

Once you start your apprenticeship you will be taken through an induction programme which will guide you through your training and the contents of your apprenticeship, including the studying of any formal qualifications. It is our aim to help and advise you throughout your apprenticeship. Our team will help to make the process as painless as possible.

What can I do after I complete my apprenticeship?

There are a number of routes that you can take after an apprenticeship. You can use the skills that you have developed to carry on in employment. You can also continue with the apprenticeship scheme to progress to the next level of apprenticeship, such as an Advanced Apprenticeship or a Higher or Degree Apprenticeship.