Resources / Apprenticeship FAQs

APPRENTICESHIP FAQs.

Interested in recruiting an apprentice? Just looking to find out more about skills? Browse our FAQs for employers and individuals below. Looking for more? Explore apprenticeship related news and content on our site.

Please note that ACE cannot provide individual advice to those interested in becoming an apprentice, more information is available in the answers below.

FAQ FOR EMPLOYERS:

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Apprenticeships are a tried and tested way to recruit new staff, retrain or up-skill existing staff. Also this can be done in your workplace, minimising disruption and maximising impact. We also find that hiring an apprentice is a great way of increasing loyalty as the learner has started their career with the practice and has more of a sense of duty to the employer who gave them their first start.

All new apprenticeship starts from 1 August 2020 are now standards. There are now over 800 apprenticeship standards that have been designed by employers to meet their skills needs. Find out which ones are right for your organisaton.

As an employer you can use the gov.uk website to advertise for an apprentice. Here’s how to register on the Apprenticeship service.

Apprenticeship Standards are a new type of employer developed apprenticeship that provides a more robust learning experience and ensures the apprentice develops the right competencies and skills needed to succeed in their given industry and job role.

An apprenticeship standard is a specification that makes up the structure of an apprenticeship programme, covering three main criteria: knowledge, skills and behaviours.

Find an apprenticeship standard or read the guidance on standards. 

Apprenticeships are available for school leavers, those who have been working for years or are seeking to start a new career. 

General entry requirements for apprenticeships include:

  • Being a UK/EU/EAA resident for at least three years prior to starting the course.
  • Having left full time education when the apprenticeship starts.
  • Being at least 16 years old.
  • Having the right to work in the UK.

There will be a minimum of GCSE or equivalent depending on the apprenticeship standard. In engineering there is a high level of Maths and Science, therefore all our level apprenticeship standards require a minimum of Grade 4 or C in GCSE Mathematics and English (or equivalent).

There are many business benefits to hiring an apprentice. 

  • Apprenticeships are an exciting option for both apprentice and employer.
  • You can employ apprentices at different levels, from school leavers and university graduates, to people who want to further their careers or change career direction completely.
  • You can hire someone new or upskill an existing employee.
  • As an employer, you can get funding from the government to help pay for apprenticeship training.
  • You can adapt their training according to the needs of your business.
  • Capture new talent.
  • They are motivated to learn new skills.
  • You can expand and upskill your workforce.
  • Apprentices offer positive return on investment.
  • Award winning talent and future leaders.

Find out more

An apprenticeship can range from a Level 2 Intermediate to a Level 3 Advanced, Level 6 Degree, and even Level 7 Masters apprenticeships. Once a full apprenticeship is completed, you can move through the different levels.

The length of your apprenticeship will depend on a number of factors, such as the level of the apprenticeship, your chosen sector, employer requirements and your individual ability and range between Level 2 and Level 7.

That being said, apprenticeships will usually last between one and six years. Their length follows a basic framework:

  • Intermediate apprenticeship - Level 2 typically last between one year and 18 months.
  • Advanced apprenticeship - Level 3 typically between two and three years.
  • Higher apprenticeship - Level 4 and Level 5 take one-to-three years to complete.
  • Degree apprenticeships – Level 6 and 7 take three-to-six years to complete.

Most apprenticeships start at Level 3 with a minimum requirement of 5 A-B GCSE's, with a mandatory in maths. Once a full apprenticeship is completed, they can progress through the different levels.

Within a business, the achievement of the competences should be integrated into their daily work. Support will be given to help the apprentices with evidence collection which will be assessed and signed off on a regular basis by company and provider staff.

The apprenticeship levy was introduced by the government in April 2017 and affects all businesses in England with a payroll over £3 million per year. Employers who are required to pay the apprenticeship levy must pay 0.5% of their annual total pay bill. Employers can draw down funds from the levy to spend on apprenticeship training.

Employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy are also eligible for apprenticeship funding through the government's co-investment scheme. The government will fund at least 95% of the training costs with addition incentives if certain criteria are met. Small employers will then pay just 5% of the cost of their apprenticeship training. More information for non-levy paying businesses.

Employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy share the cost of training and assessing their apprentices with the government. This is called ‘co-investment’. They pay 5% towards the cost of apprenticeship training. The government will pay the rest (95%) up to the funding band.

As of April 2019, levy-paying employers with unused apprenticeship levy funds may transfer up to 25% of their annual funds to any employer. Employers may transfer funds to as many employers as they wish to be used for the cost of training and assessment of apprentices. Find out more about transferring levy funds.

These qualifications allow apprentices to fulfil the requirements of the competence-based component of the apprenticeship standards, along with appropriate underpinning knowledge and the acquisition of professional attributes. They also meet the requirements for Technician and Degree level Membership of the relevant Institutions.

These qualifications have many advantages, including:

  • They conform to the requirements of the training agreement already in place with the professional institutions. Its format is therefore familiar to mentors within the company.
  • The competences are described in broad enough terms to allow for them to be achieved in a wide variety of occupations. This means that there can be a coherent delivery mechanism across the company.
  • They offer natural professional progression routes, for those that want to pursue them, (for example Incorporated and Chartered Engineer) with the appropriate formal education and training input.
    Their professional credentials mean that they are an attractive alternative to consider.

Degree apprenticeships offer the opportunity to work while studying for a fully funded degree.

Spending at least 20% of time working towards the degree through on-campus study days/block release, online learning such as webinars via virtual learning environment, work shadowing, mentoring and work-based projects. The benefit is seeing immediately the theory works in practice and progressing in the workplace at a technical level.

The Degree Apprenticeship was launched by the government in 2015 and can take between one year and six years.

  • The cost of training your apprentice is dependent on their age and whether or not your business pays the Apprenticeship Levy.
  • Apprentices are aged 16 or over and combine working with studying to gain skills and knowledge in a specific job.
  • Apprentices can be new or current employees.
  • You must pay the apprentice at least the minimum wage.

Many organisations also choose to pay their apprentices a salary higher than the National Minimum Wage to reflect their value to the business, although this is not a requirement.

It is important you have some steps in place before committing to an apprentice.

This summary checklist is a guide to the steps you must take to ensure you are meeting the apprenticeship funding rules.

 

Find out how to recruit an apprenticeship and what training provider near you can deliver your required apprenticeship standard along with more information on the apprenticeship service account, here.

It is a requirement that apprentices spend 20% of their working time undertaking off-the-job-training. This should be training that is completed outside of an apprentice's typical duties and helps them work towards achieving their apprenticeship. This includes attending teaching sessions both on campus and online, completing essays and assignments and practical training, such as shadowing and mentoring.

Find out more at gov.uk.

Your apprentice will spend at least 20% of their time working towards their apprenticeship through on-campus study days, online learning such as webinars via virtual learning environment, work shadowing, mentoring and work-based projects. The benefit is that they immediately see how theory works in practice.

To attract government funding a 20% minimum threshold has been set. This is the minimum amount of time that should be spent on occupational off-the-job training during an apprenticeship. This applies to apprenticeship standards at all levels.

The off-the-job training requirements for full time apprentices who start on or after 1 August 2022 have changed and are detailed as part of the apprenticeship funding rules. The wording in the updated rules supersedes the wording in the EPA plans of individual apprenticeships published prior to this change. The English and maths requirements have also changed for all level 2 apprentices, regardless of their start date. Please see the current apprenticeship funding rules for details. 

Find out more.

Professional Review is where you prove that you’ve developed all the skills, knowledge and experience needed to become professionally qualified with your chosen Professional Institution. 

The Review assesses that you have the right knowledge, skills and experience in the three main areas of competence: occupational, management and professionalism.

The Engineering Council is the UK regulatory body for the engineering profession and holds the national registers of Engineering Technicians (EngTech), Incorporated Engineers (IEng), Chartered Engineers (CEng) and Information and Communications Technology Technicians (ICTTech). The Society for the Environment is the UK regulatory body for the environment profession. The Society holds the national register of Registered Environmental Technicians (REnvTech), Registered Environmental Practitioners (REnvP) and Chartered Environmentalists (CEnv). 

This ensures that employers, government, and wider society – both in the UK and overseas – can have confidence in the knowledge, experience and commitment of professionally registered engineers and technicians.

It is best practice to mentor and support your apprentices through their apprenticeship. The apprenticeship standards is supported by the Employer and Training Provider to equally support the apprentices through the knowledge, skills and behaviours.

The appointed mentor who supports an apprentice in their place of work plays an indispensable role in the apprentice’s journey. Undertaking an apprenticeship is a significant commitment to skills development both on the part of the apprentice and their employer.

Most apprentice employers recognise that apprentices make a significant contribution in the workplace whilst forming an important aspect of succession planning.  For the apprentices themselves, having a member of staff within the organisation who is appointed to support their training progression – the workplace mentor – is invaluable.

Mentoring guidance.

For apprenticeships to fulfil their full potential it is vital that employers keep up to date with diversity and inclusion standards which support businesses to grow and reflect the society they work in.

Find out more in the links below:

ACE's Building Inclusivity campaign.

STEM Equality and Diversity Toolkit.

Royal Academy of Engineering.

Women into Science and Engineering (WISE).

Wise Apprenticeship toolkit.

Trailblazer groups are usually made up of groups of employers based in England, alongside professional bodies, training providers and trade associations and work together to create new apprenticeship standards and end point assessment plans.

Employers are able join existing trailblazer groups or form a new one to produce a new standard if one does not currently exist.

End-Point Assessment is the final test for apprentices during their apprenticeship. It is designed to be an objective and impartial assessment of an apprentice’s knowledge, skills and behaviours. Activities are different for every apprenticeship, but they all follow the same overall structure.

Before the apprenticeship begins, an End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) will need to be chosen by the Employer to conduct the assessment of the apprentice. An EPAO is a third party organisation, separate from the Employer and Training Provider, that conducts the final assessment of the apprentice and determines the final grade.

The Employer makes the final decision about which EPAO is chosen. However, many Employers take guidance from Training Providers on which organisation is the best fit for them.

You can search the Register of End-Point Assessment Organisations for a full list of all registered EPAOs available in England.

Find out more here.

What else is there if an apprenticeship is not quite right for the business? Alternative options includes traineeships, T Levels, and the Kickstart Scheme.

See here for more information.

Since 2011, the Technical Apprenticeship Consortium (TAC) has been developing apprenticeship standards on behalf of the industry and was directly supported by some of the employers who benefitted from them. In 2020, TAC’s approach shifted to be financially supported by all of ACE’s members through their membership fees.

From January 2023, it returns to an independent subscription model which will support the activities of the group, and will ensure they can continue to support the apprenticeship needs of the sector. This includes facilitating trailblazers to support the 12 apprenticeship standards already developed by TAC to date.

As a result of these changes the "TAC hub" is no longer hosted on this site. 

Find out more in our news story.

FAQ FOR CANDIDATES/APPRENTICES:

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An apprenticeship is a real job where you learn, gain experience and get paid. You’re an employee with a contract of employment and holiday leave. By the end of an apprenticeship, you'll have the right skills and knowledge needed for your chosen career.

It can take between one and 6 years to complete an apprenticeship depending on which one you choose, what level it is and your previous experience. It’s funded from contributions made by the government and your employer.

Delivery can be off the job, on day-release or block-release basis, apprentices receive training to work towards nationally recognised vocational and academic qualifications.

Find out how to become an apprentice, what apprenticeships are available, which employers offer them and information about starting your apprenticeship here.

Apprenticeship Standards are a new type of employer developed apprenticeship that provides a more robust learning experience and ensures the apprentice develops the right competencies and skills needed to succeed in their given industry and job role.

An apprenticeship standard is a specification that makes up the structure of an apprenticeship programme, covering three main criteria: knowledge, skills and behaviours.

Find out more at the gov.uk website.

Apprenticeships are available for school leavers, those who have been working for years or are seeking to start a new career. 

General entry requirements for apprenticeships include:

  • Being a UK/EU/EAA resident for at least three years prior to starting the course.
  • Having left full time education when the apprenticeship starts.
  • Being at least 16 years old.
  • Having the right to work in the UK.

There will be a minimum of GCSE or equivalent depending on the apprenticeship standard. In engineering there is a high level of Maths and Science, therefore all our level apprenticeship standards require a minimum of Grade 4 or C in GCSE Mathematics and English (or equivalent).

An Apprenticeship is for 16+ employees with at least five GCSEs including Maths (at grade B), English and a Science subject (grade C or above) who are aspiring to take up highly skilled roles within a company. The Engineering Apprenticeship start at Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship and now you can complete a Level 6 (Degree Apprenticeship), even a level 7 masters Degree Apprenticeship in some sectors.

The length of your apprenticeship will depend on a number of factors, such as the level of the apprenticeship, your chosen sector, employer requirements and your individual ability and range between Level 2 and Level 7.

That being said, apprenticeships will usually last between one and six years. Their length follows a basic framework:

  • Intermediate apprenticeship – Level 2 typically last between one year and 18 months.
  • Advanced apprenticeship – Level 3 typically between two and three years.
  • Higher apprenticeship – Level 4 and Level 5 take one-to-three years to complete.
  • Degree apprenticeships – Level 6 and 7 take three-to-six years to complete.

Most apprenticeships start at Level 3 with a minimum requirement of 5 A-B GCSE's, with a mandatory in maths. Once a full apprenticeship is completed, you can progress through the different levels.

You employer should support you to achieve the competences and should be integrated into your daily work. Support will be given to help apprentices with evidence collecting which will be assessed and signed off on a regular basis by your company and training provider staff.

You can do lots of different Apprenticeships in the engineering consultancy industry, for example Civil, Building Services, Environmental, Rail Design and Transport Planning.

The apprenticeships will provide you with a structured programme to develop your knowledge, skills and understanding. These apprenticeships are designed to meet the requirements for professional Membership with the relevant Institution. As such, should you be successful, you gain professional recognition and those all important letters after your name.  

They also offer natural progression routes, for those that want to pursue them, (for example to Incorporated and Chartered Engineer) with the appropriate formal education and training input. This means that you can pursue a career as a professional and earn while you learn.

With a degree apprenticeship you can achieve a full bachelor’s or master’s degree. And just like traditional degrees, an apprenticeship is a great route to a great career.

A degree level apprenticeship enables learners to be able to study during work-based learning schemes through university without the need to study full time at university also negating the expenditure and cost (debts) typically associated with studying at uni. You will also earn a salary during your degree apprenticeship and all other entitlements that full time employees receive.

The Degree Apprenticeship was launched by the government in 2015 and can take between one year to six years.

You will spend at least 20% of your time working towards your degree through on-campus study days, online learning such as webinars via virtual learning environment, work shadowing, mentoring and work-based projects.

 These options consist of either distance or blended learning as well as the option to take a period of full-time learning during your full time work, this is commonly none as block learning.

The benefit is that you immediately see how theory works in practice.

You will spend at least 20% of your time working towards your apprenticeship through on-campus study days, online learning such as webinars via virtual learning environment, work shadowing, mentoring and work-based projects. The benefit is that you immediately see how theory works in practice.

To attract government funding a 20% minimum threshold has been set. This is the minimum amount of time that should be spent on occupational off-the-job training during an apprenticeship. This applies to both apprenticeship frameworks and to apprenticeship standards at all levels.

Find our more here.

As an apprentice there are no fees for you to pay. Your learning will be funded by the government or through the apprenticeship levy which your employer will contribute to. This includes Degree level apprenticeships. So, you won't need to apply for student finance and will have no student debt when you graduate.

Applying for an apprenticeship is like applying for a job so you will have to go through an application process. This will usually involve a written application and then an interview where you will have to impress the employer.

Find more support and how to get started here.

The short answer is no!

Please do read all the advice and guidance on our site, but please note although we encourage employers to take on apprentices, we do not work directly with individuals. Many thanks for your understanding.

More support on finding an appropriate apprenticeship can be found here.

No, there’s no age limit as long as apprentices are over 16 years old. So, no matter what stage of your career, an apprenticeship could be a great way to build on your knowledge and develop your career.

Professional Review is where you prove that you’ve developed all the skills, knowledge and experience needed to become professionally qualified with your chosen Professional Institution. 

The Review assesses that you have the right knowledge, skills and experience in the three main areas of competence: occupational, management and professionalism.

The Engineering Council is the UK regulatory body for the engineering profession and holds the national registers of Engineering Technicians (EngTech), Incorporated Engineers (IEng), Chartered Engineers (CEng) and Information and Communications Technology Technicians (ICTTech). The Society for the Environment is the UK regulatory body for the environment profession. The Society holds the national register of Registered Environmental Technicians (REnvTech), Registered Environmental Practitioners (REnvP) and Chartered Environmentalists (CEnv). 

This ensures that employers, government, and wider society – both in the UK and overseas – can have confidence in the knowledge, experience and commitment of professionally registered engineers and technicians.

End-Point Assessment is the final test for an apprentice during their apprenticeship. It is designed to be an objective and impartial assessment of an apprentice’s knowledge, skills and behaviours. Activities are different for every apprenticeship, but they all follow the same overall structure. Your employer will need to support you throughout this process.

Find out more here.

CONTACT US 

Apprentice contact - memberListComponent
Dalvinder Bath

Dalvinder Bath

HR Manager

Dalvinder supports members with information and advice on all areas linked to people, skills and development.

phone07944 927 167