Discover how apprenticeships work, steps for deciding whether or not an apprenticeship is right for your organisation and how they can be used to develop existing staff. 


The business case for apprenticeships

Apprentices can bring new ideas, creativity and vibrance to all kinds of employers, both large and small. They are also the perfect way to enhance your succession planning as apprentices can progress through the ranks to become the managers and directors of the future.

With the right approach of careful planning and effective coaching and mentoring, apprenticeships can be tailored directly to the needs of your organisation. Many employers experience skills gaps and find it hard to recruit. Recruiting and training apprentices enables you to develop people in a way that promotes the specific skills required, therefore investing in the future of your people and organisation as a whole.

Apprenticeships can boost productivity and competitiveness. A research study carried out for the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) found that, on average, each apprentice brings a gain in productivity of more than £10,000 per year for their employer, with figures for some sectors being even higher.

As well as boosting productivity, apprenticeships can also help companies to compete in the modern marketplace. In industry research, 77% of employers agreed that taking on apprentices helped to make their organisations more competitive. Another finding was that more than 8 out of 10 customers prefer to buy from companies which employ apprentices.

How are apprenticeships delivered?

Each apprenticeship will be delivered differently dependent on the subject area and model of delivery agreed with yourself and the training provider. However, you should expect a blended model of delivery to include online learning, face to face one to one sessions and structured training either online, via one to one coaching or workshops at a provider’s centre or at your own, subject to the numbers of learners you have enrolled.




Developing existing staff

It’s also possible to offer apprenticeships to your existing staff as a way to help them upskill, progress into a new role (i.e. management) and boost their productivity as well as maximise their impact and improve retention.

Apprenticeships for existing staff can be tailored to the needs of your organisation and balance learning in the job with off the job learning which can be structured around the needs of the workplace. Programmes are flexible and depending on the employer, groups or individual staff can be enrolled on the same programme and various point in the year or on a roll-on roll-off basis.

What does an apprenticeship consist of?

The content of an apprenticeship varies hugely because they are specific to the sector and job roles they are aligned to. However, the structure of an apprenticeship is generally the same. The structure and content of the apprenticeship is called a Standard.

Apprenticeship Standards are written by employer-led groups and include the specific Knowledge Skills and Behaviours needed to become competent for a specific occupation.

The standards are short and concise. Each apprenticeship standard fits on 2 sides of A4 and consists of:

Knowledge is the theory behind the practical application of the occupation. Having knowledge of how to do something does not necessarily mean that the individual can do it, even if they understand the steps and what should happen.

Skills are the practical application of knowledge needed to successfully undertake the duties that make up the occupation. They have to be learnt through on and/or off-the-job training or experience

Behaviours are mindsets, attitudes or approaches required for competence, generally across the entire occupation.

All apprenticeships require the apprentice to achieve functional skills in maths and English up to level 2. The individual may be exempt from this component of the apprenticeship programme if they can show certificates that match the exemption criteria (e.g. GCSE Grade 4-9, A-C or equivalent).

Some, but not all apprenticeships require the apprentice to achieve an accredited qualification as part of their overall achievement of the apprenticeship for example a certificate, diploma or other certificated course

All apprenticeship standards require the apprentice to achieve a final grade through End Point Assessment. The End Point Assessment is a synoptic assessment of the skills, behaviours and knowledge that have been learnt throughout the apprenticeship. Apprentices can attempt End Point Assessment once all other components (above) have been achieved and after the minimum length of stay required for their programme, which cannot be less than 372 days.

At the end of an apprenticeship, as an apprentice, they will go through a 'gateway' process where they are signed-off by their employer as ready for a final assessment of their knowledge and practical capabilities. The assessment will be graded (in most cases) and the Independent Assessment Organisation (IAO) and assessor must be independent of, and separate from, the training provided by the provider and employer.

End Point Assessment requirements vary dependent on the apprenticeship standard and can be a combination of:

Apprentice Showcase - enabling the apprentice to reflect and present examples of their development over the whole programme

Practical Observation - allowing the apprentice to evidence their skills, knowledge and behaviour from across the standard.

Professional Discussion - this is a structured discussion between the apprentice and an independent assessor to establish their understanding and application of knowledge, skills and behaviours

Knowledge and Behaviours Test – the apprentice will participate in a knowledge test that will cover the learning outcomes of their apprenticeship. This will consist of structured short answer and scenario-based questions and will be taken under exam conditions.

From this the apprentice can achieve their apprenticeship with a Pass, Merit or Distinction. The apprentice can also fail their End Point Assessment and will need to continue their studies until they and their employer are confident, through a re-take, that they can pass End Point Assessment.

Everyone benefits with apprenticeships

Businessman showing computer screen to coworkers in creative office
  • Increase employee retention74% of companies surveyed said that apprentices tended to be more loyal, than non-apprentices. 
  • Use funds that will otherwise be lost, only 14% of Levy funds have been used.  
  • Fill any skills gaps and allow the business to source future managers and leaders from within.
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  • Teams are more motivated - 92% of companies who invest in apprentices reported a significant increase in employee motivation. 
  • Enhance team productivity, 76% say that productivity has improved since getting an apprentice. 

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  • Upskill, (92%) of apprentices felt that their apprenticeship had had a positive impact on their career. 
  • An apprenticeship gives staff the opportunity to become more valuable to the company.  
  • Higher morale, teams have higher spirit and morale, as the organisation invested time and training in them. 

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  • 97% of apprentices said their ability to do the job had improved 
  • 92% of apprentices said that their career prospects had improved 
  • Earn while you learn. 

Book a free consultation

Meet our dedicated programme design team to:

  • Discuss the process of building a programme that suits your business needs and represents your business' identity
  • Review your apprenticeship training strategy and development plans
  • The opportunities that apprenticeships can bring to your business
  • Setting up an apprenticeship role and recruiting to your vacancy
  • How staff can undertake training through apprenticeships