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Manager's guide to staff apprenticeships

Find out how recruit an apprentice to your department or develop your existing staff using an apprenticeship programme.

Apprenticeships can help people develop the skills and knowledge they need to build a rewarding career and are a great way to attract and develop future talent. By building those skills and knowledge within our staff, apprenticeships can also help us to develop as an organisation.

Apprenticeships are a great way to upskill members of your team. You may also wish to consider a newly recruited apprentice when recruiting for an existing or newly formed role.

Throughout an apprenticeship programme, staff will have access to comprehensive training and support. They will also be assigned a course mentor to offer additional help and resources to improve their skills and complete the study successfully. As well as building skills and knowledge, employees will gain a nationally recognised and professional qualification.

As a University, we are hugely supportive of apprentice programmes and will encourage and support employees throughout their course.

What an apprenticeship is

An apprenticeship is a paid job with training and is available to new or existing staff.

Alongside on-the-job training, apprentices spend at least six hours per week of their working hours on off-the-job learning with their training provider. Completion of an apprenticeship leads to a nationally recognised qualification.

  • For a newly recruited apprentice, a contact of employment is offered for the duration of the apprenticeship
  • For existing members of staff, their current employment contact remains in place and no changes are required
  • As the employer, the University will meet the cost of the apprentice’s wages. The cost of the apprentice’s wages is covered by departmental budgets
  • The training costs of the apprenticeship are covered by the Apprenticeship Levy
  • The apprentices job role must provide them with the opportunity to gain the necessary skills and a knowledge and behaviours required to complete their apprenticeship successfully
  • Managers must agree to allow the apprentice a minimum of six hours per week of their working hours for off-the-job training

Apprenticeship levy

The apprenticeship levy came into effect in April 2017 to support the Government’s commitment to 3 million new apprentices by 2020. The levy applies to employers in England, who have an annual pay bill above £3m. The levy is charged at a rate of 0.5% of an employer’s pay bill.

The levy is collected by HM Revenue and Customs monthly based on Pay as You Earn (PAYE). It can then be accessed by employers through an online Digital Service Account (DAS) to pay for apprenticeship training, which is limited up to certain maximum funding bands. The government automatically adds 10% to the funds in the DAS.

If they have not been used within 24 months after they appear in the DAS, levy funds will expire and be transferred back to government funds.

Workforce Development are responsible for the administration of DAS. Levy funds can be access for apprenticeship training only. Levy funds cannot be used to cover wages or recruitment costs.

All apprenticeship standards are placed in one of 15 funding bands ranging from £1,500 to £27,000, which is the maximum amount of levy funds that can be used for the off the job training and assessment for each apprenticeship.

The funding band takes into account the length, level and nature of training for each apprenticeship standard.

A training provider may charge a price in excess of the funding band, in which case the department would need to pay the difference between the funding band maximum and the total negotiated price. In most cases it is unlikely that this will happen.

A full list of funding bands can be found at Apprenticeship Funding Bands.

Apprenticeship standards

Before recruiting an apprentice, you will need to identify a suitable apprenticeship standard.

Apprenticeship standards have been developed across many areas from Customer Service to Pharmacology and from Level 2 (pre GCSE equivalent) to Level 7 (Masters degree equivalent). They outline what an apprentice will do during their apprenticeship and the skills they will need to perform the job role they’re training for.

A full list of apprenticeship standards is available at Apprenticeship search/Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

Training providers

An approved training provider is required to deliver the training for the apprenticeship. A training provider will help you to ensure a suitable apprenticeship programme is selected, both in terms of meeting the needs of the job role, the apprentice, and the University.

The role of the training provider is to:

  • work in partnership with you to develop and deliver an apprenticeship programme that meets your needs
  • tell you the level of government funding available for the apprenticeship programme
  • administer some elements of the funding
  • discuss timescales for the training and develop training plans to fit your and the apprentice’s needs
  • help you advertise your vacancy
  • provide training to the apprentice
  • provide ongoing assessment, support and advice throughout the training period to you and your apprentice
  • work with you to select an independent organisation to deliver the end-point assessment for the apprenticeship. This is an assessment of the knowledge, skills and behaviours which your apprentice has learnt throughout an apprenticeship standard

Some of our existing training providers are:

  • Wiltshire College
  • Bath College
  • Babington Business College
  • The Open University
  • Smart Training and Recruitment
  • Creative Sport and Leisure
  • Farepoint Training Organisation
  • The OCM Group
  • Corndel
  • Always Consult
  • Nationwide Energy Training Services

If our existing training providers are unable to meet your needs, we can help you to find a suitable provider.

When in discussions with training providers you will need to cover the following:

  • apprenticeship standard or framework
  • price of apprenticeship − what is included
  • eligibility of apprentice including impact of previous qualifications and experience
  • role profile of apprenticeship post – to ensure that the apprentice will have the opportunity to develop the necessary skills in the workplace. You will need to write a role profile for a new apprentice or review the existing role profile for new employees
  • duration of apprenticeship
  • entry requirements
  • proposed start date
  • structure and content of programme, including agreement of project topics to ensure they are relevant
  • training delivery methods
  • names, background and relevant experience of tutors
  • arrangements for six hours per week off-the-job learning
  • quality assurance of training
  • support for apprentices, including specific learning needs
  • identification and arrangement of end point assessment
  • frequency of contact with department or line manager
  • dealing with problems or issues

Eligibility criteria

To use funds in the employer’s apprenticeship service account or government-employer co-investment, the individual must meet the required criteria.

An apprentice must be aged 16 years or over and a current or new employee at the University. They must have the right to work in the UK and have been a resident in the UK for three years or more.

The apprentice must not hold a qualification in the same topic area higher than the level of the apprenticeship. An individual can undertake an apprenticeship at the same level as, or at a lower level than, a qualification they already hold, if the apprenticeship will allow the individual to acquire substantive new skills and you can evidence that the content of the training is materially different from any prior qualification or a previous apprenticeship.

A functional skills qualification may need to be completed as part of the apprenticeship for those who do not hold a grade C or above in GCSE Maths and English (or equivalent).

Find out more about the eligibility criteria is available.

Apprenticeship funding form

Read and complete the apprenticeship funding form.

Apprenticeship Procedure

Please ensure you have read our Apprenticeship Procedure document which provides further guidance for line managers and staff when considering an apprenticeship.

Contact us

If you require further information about staff apprenticeships, please contact us.

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