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Q&As

Here are a range of questions and answers regarding Apprenticeships.

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General

How are Apprenticeships different to Modern Apprenticeships?

They are one and the same thing - Modern Apprenticeships were re-branded in 2004 to ‘Apprenticeships’.

Are learners who already have a level three qualification eligible?

Yes. Clearly you would want to look at the needs of the business as well as the individual’s needs to ensure that they were moving on from their previous qualification.

What do we do to find out more?

Contact your local National Apprenticeship Service team on 08000 150 600.

Which Apprenticeships are most in demand?

Some of the most popular Apprenticeships at present are: Engineering, Business Administration, Construction and Hospitality.

Is the International GCSE the same as a GCSE for the purpose of satisfying the requirements of English, Maths and ICT in an Apprenticeship Framework?

Yes, an International GSCE counts as an equivalent to a GCSE. A qualification that is not called a GCSE or International GCSE, however similar it appears to be, is not counted as an acceptable qualification. GCSEs from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are acceptable equivalents.

Can Apprenticeships be used for more mature employees where they are changing career?

Yes – and certainly the early feedback has been that this is one of the most successful aspects since we introduced Apprenticeships for 25 + last year.

The National Apprenticeship Service will support a specified number of Apprenticeship places for 25+ learners. Employers can, of course, fund 25+ Apprenticeship places in addition to those that we provide the funding for.

Is the achievement of GCSE Short Course English, Maths and ICT qualifications acceptable to satisfy the framework requirements for transferable skills?

Yes the achievement of the appropriate grades for GCSE Short Courses will be acceptable as having met the required transferable skills levels for certification purposes.

How does the National Apprenticeship Service support Apprenticeships?

The National Apprenticeship Service covers the training costs of all apprentices depending on their age.

 Age

 National Apprenticeship Service contribution

 16 - 18

 up to 100%

 19 - 24

 up to 50%

 25 +

 Contribution for specified places

We also support employers through the process of recruiting and training a candidate, including signposting them to providers and advising on the Apprenticeship frameworks available. The National Apprenticeship Service also manages Apprenticeship vacancies - a free online system that helps employers and learning providers with managing vacancies, and potential apprentices with their applications for Apprenticeship opportunities.

Apprenticeship vacancies - General

Do providers still use their own tracking system?

Apprenticeship vacancies gives providers a powerful tool to manage and track all vacancies and applications - this is a key benefit for providers. Providers can also have a direct link to their own websites to enable integration with provider’s current systems. However, in these circumstances we do ask providers, through the system, for feedback on learners who have clicked through to their own websites.

Will all qualifications be accredited?

All vacancies advertised on the service will involve the completion of nationally accredited Apprenticeship frameworks.

Can providers still do their own advertising for vacancies?

Yes. Apprenticeship vacancies is there to enhance and support existing methods used to advertise vacancies not to replace them. However there will be marketing and communications activity inviting potential apprentices to look for Apprenticeships on the website so we would advise all providers to use it. Use of the system will become a contractual requirement from the start of the 2010-11 year.

Access our online support guide for Apprenticeship vacancies

You can access our support service partner online support guide. This provides step by step help to get the most out of Apprenticeship vacancies.

Access the online support guide »

Will the vacancies posted have to be real jobs with training?

Yes – you cannot post vacancies that are not linked to a real post.

Who is Apprenticeship vacancies for?

It is free and available to anyone wanting to be an apprentice or for any employer or learning provider who want to advertise their vacancies.

What is Apprenticeship vacancies?

Apprenticeship vacancies is an online service whereby employers and learning providers can advertise and manage vacancies, and potential apprentices can search, apply and then manage their applications for Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships opportunities anywhere in England.

The system is an important part of our commitment to make services simpler and less bureaucratic to access. It is free and available on the Apprenticeships website at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.  

Can learners search for Apprenticeships by sector?

Yes

Apprenticeship Act

The Act refers to the introduction of an Apprenticeship Agreement. What will be the requirements for this?

The requirement for an Apprenticeship Agreement between an employer and an apprentice, under the ASCL Act 2009 sections 32-36, came into force on the 6 April 2012. An Apprenticeship Agreement is required at the commencement of the Apprenticeship for all new apprentices who start on or after that date.

The Apprenticeship Agreement must state that the apprentice will be undertaking an Apprenticeship in a particular skill, trade or occupation.

The Apprenticeship Agreement can be in the form of a written statement of particulars under the Employment Rights Act 1996; or a document in writing in the form of a contract of employment or a letter of engagement where the employer's duty under the 1996 Act is treated as met.

Existing and new contracts of employment between the apprentice and the employer which meet the 1996 Act will also meet the Apprenticeship Agreement requirements provided they include a statement (which may be an annex) setting out the skill, trade or occupation linked to a relevant recognised English framework, issued by the appropriate Issuing Authority, for which the apprentice is being trained and is explicit.

Why does the off-the-job learning have to take place within the contracted hours?

The ASCL Act 2009 requires that all of the content of the Apprenticeship is delivered within the contracted hours and hence the apprentice is paid for the time to undertake the off-the-job learning.

Can an apprentice be a volunteer?

The same applies to volunteers as to those who are self employed. The commencement of the Act requires apprentices to be working under a contract of employment with an employer and hence paid a wage in line with the National Minimum Wage regulations.

Do all apprentices now have to be employed?

Yes they do. Part of the requirement of the Act is that all apprentices must we working under a contract of employment, unless they are part of the alternative completion conditions.

Can an apprentice be working under a ‘contract OF service’?

Yes. An individual employed under a contract of service is some one who is employed and is an “employee” for payroll purposes, an “employee” for employment rights purposes, and a “worker” for other employment rights purposes.

Can an apprentice be working under a ‘contract FOR services’?

No. An individual who works under a ‘contract for services’, relates to a person who is self-employed and who provides services to clients. They are neither an employee nor a worker. There is no requirement for an employer to put such a person on the payroll; rather payment may be made on invoice. There is no entitlement to any of the employment rights available to employees and workers.

Can an apprentice be self-employed?
The commencement of the Apprenticeship Act in April 2011 requires all apprentices to be working under a contract of employment with an employer and hence paid a wage in line with the National Minimum Wage regulations. Therefore those who are self employed will therefore not be able to undertake an Apprenticeship unless the occupation/job has been designated as exempt under the ‘alternative completion condition’ regulations What occupations/job roles are exempt from employment in an Apprenticeship?'.
What occupations/job roles are exempt from employment in an Apprenticeship?

There are a limited number of skills, trades and occupations that will be exempt through alternative completion conditions. Those that have been identified as exempt i.e. employment through receipt of a wage is not the norm within the sector are:

 - Sports designated as Olympic/Paralympic and Commonwealth Games

 - Sea Fishing

 - Occupations within the Creative Sector (yet to be determined)

SASE Implementation

I want to start learners on a framework but it appears that the qualifications have expired - what should I do?

Contact the framework developer direct, contact details are in the framework document.

If the apprentice has already achieved one element of the framework i.e. functional skills, can the provider offset the GLH for the qualification against the GLH required for the framework?

Yes. If elements of the framework have already been achieved then the GLH requirement is reduced accordingly as the learner will have undertaken the GLH through a different route as part of their entitlement.

What does ‘off the job’ GLH mean?

In terms of an Apprenticeship, ‘off the job’ guided learning mean learning which encourages and enables the apprentice to develop the technical skills of the job and to develop their knowledge of theoretical concepts across a range of contexts and the wider market. This type of guided learning will be delivered away from he immediate pressures of the job. It may be delivered in the workplace, in a college or training provider premises.

What exactly are PLTS and how will it be evidenced in the Apprenticeship?

PLTS is an acronym for Personal Learning and Thinking Skills. This is a new requirement for inclusion in an Apprenticeship framework and covers 6 areas of independent enquiry, creative thinking, reflective learning, team working, self management and effective participation. All frameworks must clearly specify how the achievement of the 6 elements is to be evidenced by the apprentice. Each framework developer will set out their individual requirements for how PLTS is required to be evidenced. Examples of this may be through completion of a specific qualification or through completion of a workbook.

What will be the Audit requirements for providers in terms of GLH?

The GLH within an Apprenticeship is an entitlement for the learner as part of the Education Act. Therefore providers will need to ensure that the programme of learning they deliver includes the requirements of the GLH for the individual sector framework. They will be required to set out how the GLKH is to be delivered to the apprentice in the Learning Agreement. They will not be required to record individual hours. For certification purposes, the apprentice will be required to declare that they have completed the GLH requirement as set out in the individual sector framework.

What can be included in the on and off the training in relation to GLH?

Each SASE compliant framework will contain details of the breakdown of the GKH to be delivered for both and off the job learning. Examples of on the job include the competence qualification. Examples of off the learning include the knowledge based qualification, mentoring and induction.

What is the outcome if not all the GLH are achieved?

The apprentice is entitled to receive all of the GLH as set out in the framework. If the apprentice declares that not all of the GLH has been undertaken at the point of certification, then a completion certificate will not be issued.

What will happen to people currently on an Apprenticeship which does not comply with SASE?

Existing Apprenticeship frameworks will be deemed as recognised frameworks under the ASCL Act. That means apprentices may continue to complete these frameworks and will be eligible for the award of a certificate on completion.

How do I know if my framework replaces an existing framework or if it is new?
To find out if a framework is brand new or if it replaces an existing framework, please view the framework implementation planner.
Can I start learners on existing frameworks until a replacement SASE framework is available?
Yes. The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) has been working with Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) and Awarding Organisations to ensure that where possible, all frameworks are available until the new SASE framework is funded and available on the LAD. Please ensure that you check the LAD to confirm that your qualifications are available for Apprenticeship funding. If you have any concerns about frameworks that are currently unavailable please contact david.martin@apprenticeships.gov.uk.
What exactly is ERR and how will it be evidenced in an Apprenticeship?

ERR is an acronym for 'Employer Rights and Responsibilities'. All frameworks are required to include the 9 national outcomes in relation to ERR. Every apprentice is required to demonstrate that they know and understand areas such as the range of employer and employee statutory rights and responsibilities under employment law, health and safety and equality and diversity procedures and documentation for their organisation. Each framework developer is required to set out their individual requirements for how ERR is required to be evidenced. Examples of this may be through completion of a specific qualification or through completion of a workbook.

What is the difference between a framework developer and a framework issuer?

Anyone can be a framework developer e.g. employer, training provider, awarding organisation. The role of the framework developer is design the framework content based on the requirements of SASE and the additional non-statutory requirements that support the SASE. Additionally, they will have to make sure they have undertaken a quality assurance process to make sure the framework is fit for purpose. The role of the Issuing Authority is to review all frameworks submitted to them to ensure they meet the SASE requirements and that they have demonstrated that they have undertaken a quality assurance process. Issuing Authorities in England are designated by the Secretary of State to issue frameworks for a particular sector or sectors.

What evidence will be required to prove that providers ’deliver the requirements of the GLH’?

Providers will be required to set out how the GLH is to be delivered to the apprentice as part of their Learning Agreement. There will be no requirement for recording individual hours for on-and-off-the-job GLH. The apprentice when applying for their certificate will sign a declaration stating that the GLH has been delivered to them as set out in the Learning Agreement.

Will the providers be required to cover the minimum number of GLH as specified in the SASE or the number of GLH that have been specified by the Sector Skills Councils in relation to each framework?

The provider will be required to deliver the GLH as set out in the individual sector framework. The SASE sets out the minimum quality requirements for an Apprenticeship in terms of GLH and credit values. Each framework developer is required to ensure that their framework meets at least the minimum criteria but they can, according to the sector and needs of employers, set the GLH and credit requirements higher than the minimum. The framework developer is also required to set out how they expect the GLH to be met along with the credit values of the qualifications to be undertaken.

How will rates be set for SASE frameworks?

SASE frameworks that replaced Blueprint frameworks are funded at the same rate. If the framework is new and doesn’t replace an existing framework a new rate based on activity costs will be calculated by the SFA and will be applied from the date of implementation.

The SASE refers to ‘GCSE English’ does this also mean the GCSE in English Literature applies in this context?

Under SASE the reference to 'GCSE English' relates to 'GCSE English Language' only.

The SASE includes a new requirement of Guided Learning Hours (GLH). What does GLH mean?

The Education Act introduces an entitlement for young people to receive 280 hours of guided learning each year. Whilst this primarily applies to young people it will also apply to all learners undertaking an Apprenticeship.

What does ‘on the job’ GLH mean?

In terms of an Apprenticeship, ‘on the job’ guided learning means learning which encourages and enables the apprentice to demonstrate practical job-related skills and to practise and apply these skills in the context of the job. This type of learning will be delivered in the workplace and through practical experience of doing the job.

Will additional employer requirements still be included in frameworks?

Framework developers may still include additional employer requirements in their issued frameworks for the purpose of informing both the employer and the apprentice of additional learning that may be undertaken in order to support employment in the sector. However, they will not be mandatory for an apprentice to complete in order to achieve their completion certificate.

The 30% off the job GLH, can this still be delivered in the workplace but not at the workstation?

Yes. As long as the off-the-job learning is undertaken away from the immediate workplace e.g. in a different room.

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Frameworks

Apprenticeship Frameworks Online (AFO) is the online library for Apprenticeship frameworks.

View the latest frameworks »

SASE changes

The Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE) sets out the minimum requirements to be included in a recognised English Apprenticeship framework.

Find out more about SASE »

SASE implementation »

Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 »