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Why an Apprenticeship?

Employers can access apprenticeships to train both new and existing employees and government funding is available to support the training of apprentices.

There are a wide range of apprenticeships available and a number of skills pathways within each apprenticeship to choose from, to suit your business needs.

By choosing to engage with the apprenticeship programme, you can develop a ‘grow your own’ approach which will enable young people in particular to flourish and develop into valuable members of your business, and provide you with a skilled workforce and the managers and leaders of the future.

Economic benefit 

Employers use apprenticeships to attract new talent, re-skill existing staff and tackle skill shortages. Apprenticeships are available to businesses of all sizes and from all sectors. 

Hiring apprentices is a productive and effective way for businesses to grow their own talent by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. 83% of employers would recommend apprenticeships to others. The average apprenticeship completer increases business productivity by £214 per week, with these gains including increased profits, lower prices and better products. (

Improve your bottom line

Apprenticeships deliver real returns to your bottom line, helping to improve productivity and competitiveness. Training apprentices can also be more cost effective than hiring skilled staff, leading to lower training and recruitment costs.

Fill your skills gaps

Apprenticeships deliver skills designed around your business needs, providing the skilled workers you need for the future. They also help you develop the specialist skills you need to keep pace with the latest technology and working practices in your sector.

Motivate your workforce

Apprentices tend to be eager, motivated, flexible and loyal to the company that invested in them. Remember, an apprentice is with you because they want to be - they have made an active choice to learn on the job and to commit to a specific career.

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.

Apprenticeships have been designed by employers to meet employers’ needs for a particular sector 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.  

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 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 levels of Apprenticeship are available?

There are three levels of apprenticeships available for those aged 16 and over.

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.

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.

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.

We will advise you on the requirements for your particular sector.

How do I recruit an Apprentice?

There are some key elements to consider before you recruit an apprentice.

Firstly, ensure your business has a belief in apprenticeships and their worth and be prepared to invest your time in them.

Secondly, spend time looking at roles that might be suitable for apprentices. You may have existing roles that you could develop into apprenticeships for example, or a certain facet of the business that is growing and needs support in developing.

You can recruit an apprentice as you would normally recruit any new member of staff, via advertising and word of mouth. Or you can sign up an existing member of your workforce onto an apprenticeship programme with us.

Alternatively, you can get in touch with Herefordshire & Ludlow College, which may help you save time and resources in finding the right person. We have access to a wide range of schools in the area as well as a large number of students who are currently studying at college on a range of full-time and vocational courses. We also receive high volumes of applications each year from young people who are interested in securing an apprenticeship opportunity through the college. We can help you match the apprenticeship vacancy you have in mind with the right candidate.

You can also ask the college to advertise your apprenticeship vacancies by using the government’s ‘recruit an apprentice’ service (

All applicants, whether referred to the College by yourself or recruited on your behalf by the College, are interviewed by us to ensure that the apprentice is placed onto the right course and at the right level and that any prior experience or knowledge is taken into account.

As part of the interview with us, would-be apprentices are required to undertake initial assessment tests in English and maths. There is no 'pass' or 'fail' with these tests - the purpose is to highlight those apprentices who may need additional support for English or maths to help them achieve their qualifications.

Most school leavers at 16, 17 and 18 years will be ready and available to start with you from July each year.

The recruitment cycle for apprentices from the pool of college students starts as early as January each year for an August to September start. In some occupational areas, apprentices can be recruited to start all year round.

The final decision about who to take on as an apprentice rests with you, the employer.

Employer Testimonials

Stuart Laurie, Plumbing & Heating Engineer at Hereford Gas Services Ltd

"There have been 10-15 apprentices since I started here and we have always been successful in employing new ones each year. It’s really important to us to keep passing on our trade and it is good to see more apprentices being supported in the different industries. Our apprentices this year have been great; keen, motivated and with a good sense of humour. We are one of the larger independent companies in Hereford with a great showroom so we are lucky to be able to have apprentices each year."

Steve Strange, Production Director at Hereford Cask Ltd

"It is crucial to emphasise how important the combination of practical work and theoretical knowledge is on the path to becoming a skilled worker. Our one apprentice, Adam, has always worked with our company, so although he has fantastic knowledge it is very specific to Hereford Casks Ltd. Our other apprentice Alex completed a First Diploma in Welding and Fabrication at HLC’s Holme Lacy Campus prior to coming here so he has a much broader base of knowledge and this can only be beneficial to his development in real life industry. They now both attend college once a week."

David Thomas, Managing Director at G.P.Thomas & Son Ltd

"We have always had and will continue to have a commitment to training and our relationship with the College is central to this. We have found the College to be flexible and responsive and have always listened to us, adjusting training to our needs. I feel that they've acknowledged us as an important part of the whole equation."

View all Apprenticeships at HLC

Contact the Training Division on 0800 032 1986  or email