TAC 2 / FAQs

FAQs

Interested in recruiting an apprentice? Just looking to find out more about skills? Browse our FAQs for employers and individuals below.  Find out where to get info, browse our latest reports and links to other organisations doing important work in this space. 

Please note that TAC cannot provide individual advice to those interested in becoming an apprentice, 

FAQ FOR EMPLOYERS:

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An apprenticeship is a vocational qualification which mixes formal education with a structured programme of work based learning to meet agreed standards of competency and knowledge. There are nearly 200 types of apprenticeship within a variety of industry sectors ranging from accountancy to veterinary nursing via floristry. Of course this also includes engineering.

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. Most engineering 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 move through the different levels.

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

An apprenticeship is fully funded for an apprentice and costs them nothing. If you are an employer paying more than £3 million a year in wages, you must pay the apprenticeship levy.

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.

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.

 

As part of an apprenticeship, the employee will attend college on a day release basis, some providers work with a 'block release' system. 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.

Typically, a level 3 course lasts for two years with the work based element continuing for up to a further year – a maximum of three years in all. A level 6 course will last up to five years.  

 

There is a list of training providers on the website who work with member companies to deliver and assess the various elements of the apprenticeship standards. Providers will be more than happy to help you with the process of advertising for, and recruiting, an apprentice. In England this is free if you advertise via the Government's Find an Apprentice website.  

If you are still looking for advice, please contact us as we'll be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

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. 

Trailblazers are groups of employers that work together to create new apprenticeship standards with the process managed by the Institute for Apprenticeships. They are usually made up of groups of about ten employers based all across the UK. Professional bodies and trade associations are part of trailblazer groups.

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

Apprenticeships are available if you are leaving school, 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).

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.

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 out more from gov.uk here and here.

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

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

The Engineering Council is the UK regulatory body for the engineering profession. They hold the national registers of over 222,000 Engineering Technicians (EngTech), Incorporated Engineers (IEng), Chartered Engineers (CEng) and Information and Communications Technology Technicians (ICTTech).

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:

STEM Equality and Diversity Toolkit

Royal Academy of Engineering 

Women into Science and Engineering (WISE)

Wise Apprenticeship toolkit

The apprenticeships are nationally recognised and available, so you do not need to be involved with TAC. However, being involved in either the regional or trailblazer groups are a great way for your company to have a say in the content, assessment and quality assurance of the TAC standards and future standards.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak recently announced the Kickstart Scheme, a new £2 billion funded incentive to encourage young people into the workplace. The scheme will fund new six month job placements for young people who are currently on universal credit and ‘at risk’ of long-term unemployment. The scheme usually requires a minimum of 30 applicants. However, TAC is acting as a facilitating body and as such can collectively make applications on ACE and EIC members’ behalf, no matter their size.

FAQ FOR CANDIDATES/APPRENTICES:

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An apprenticeship combines real employment, college learning and work experience to ensure that you have the right balance of technical and practical skills. As employees, apprentices earn a wage and work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills. Off the job, on day-release or block-release basis, apprentices receive training to work towards nationally recognised vocational and academic qualifications.

Find out more on apprentices at the gov.uk website.

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.

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.

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

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

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

The qualification will provide you with a structured programme to develop your engineering 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 letters after your name.  

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

Apprenticeships are available if you are leaving school, 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).

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 out more from gov.uk here and here.

As part of the apprenticeship you will attend college/university on a day release basis or block release and in some occasions distance learning. In the workplace, the achievement of the competences should be part and parcel of your daily work. Support will be given to help you with evidence collection which will be assessed and signed off on a regular basis by company and provider staff.

Typically, a level 3 course lasts for two years with the work-based element continuing for up to a further year – a maximum of three years in all. A Level 6 degree apprenticeships last between three and five years depending on the apprentice's experience and previous knowledge.

As an apprentice you will have no fees to pay. Your learning will be funded through the apprenticeship levy which your employer will contribute to. This included Degree level apprenticeships. So, you will have no need to apply for student finance and 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 live apprenticeship vacancies at gov.uk. For help with your application, please read the great guidance, How to write a winning apprenticeship application.

There are a number of different ways to find out about vacancies.  Many companies post apprenticeship vacancies on their website. They will appear on their websites usually between March and September. You can also register on the Find an Apprenticeship website where all providers will post vacancies on behalf of employers. 

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 cannot work directly with individuals. Many thanks for your understanding.

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.

The Engineering Council is the UK regulatory body for the engineering profession. They hold the national registers of over 222,000 Engineering Technicians (EngTech), Incorporated Engineers (IEng), Chartered Engineers (CEng) and Information and Communications Technology Technicians (ICTTech).

Read the latest reports, guidance and advice from TAC:

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USEFUL LINKS:

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CONTACT US 

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Kimberly Murphy

Kimberly Murphy

Apprenticeship and Skills Manager

Manages the TAC programme and relationships with employers and training providers.

phone07940 410 205
Dr. Caroline Sudworth

Dr. Caroline Sudworth

Consultant: Apprenticeship Standards

Caroline leads the trailblazer group activity and manages TAC's eight apprenticeship standards.