As more and more employers capitalise on Higher and Degree Apprenticeships to train their staff, it is inevitable that many will also have questions and require support with the process.
As a university currently training 6,000 employees from over 1,000 organisations, with an Apprenticeships team of six experts who provide dedicated account management for employers, we are ideally placed to provide you with the support you need.
Our Apprenticeship team works closely with employers and apprentices throughout the whole process. We support businesses to understand and meet their apprenticeship and skills training needs, provide help with navigating the levy and the Apprenticeship Service, guidance for work-based learning and end point assessments, and apprentice recruitment. In the past year alone, we have engaged with over 2,000 employers about apprenticeships and one of the most common questions we get asked by those potentially interested in taking on an apprentice is how do you go about it and what does it actually involve?
In order to answer that question, I have laid out the process clearly below:
- Levy-paying employers calculate their levy funds for the relevant apprenticeship standard via the Apprenticeship Service. Non-levy payers will pay their 10% of the training cost direct to the training provider, and the training provider will invoice the Skills Funding Agency for the outstanding 90%.
- An employer decides to send staff on an apprenticeship programme, fully aware that an apprenticeship programme is much more than simply a qualification and requires employer commitment (see below). Apprentices can be new staff (LSBU can support you to find the right candidates) or existing staff, but must meet the entry requirements for the relevant standard and for the university.
- The employer decides which apprenticeship programme to send staff on (a list of all approved standards and those in development can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/apprenticeship-standards).
- The employer and apprentice register with the Apprenticeship Service and select a training provider for the apprentice to apply to (https://www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship).
- The apprentice applies via the training provider’s apprenticeship application form and, once accepted, the employer approves the application.
- The employer and apprentice sign contracts with the training provider.
- The apprenticeship commences and the training provider provides regular feedback to the employer.
- The employer continues to play a role, particularly with regard to the formal work-based learning and the end point assessment.
Naturally, if you decide that an apprenticeship is suitable for your business, then there are a number of requirements that you must meet. Importantly, apprenticeship funding must be used for training and learning activities only, which means that you are therefore responsible for funding the following:
- Payment of apprentices’ wages, including all time spent on off-the-job training (Min 20% of their contracted hours for the duration of the apprenticeship).
- Any training or optional modules chosen in addition to what is eligible for apprenticeship funding.
- Apprentices must not be asked to contribute financially to the direct cost of their apprenticeship or use a student loan to finance an apprenticeship (this includes where an apprentice leaves their programme early; employers must not claim training or assessment costs back from ex-apprentices).
- Any additional travel costs for an apprentice outside of travelling to and from their place of work. Employers are therefore required to fund travel costs to any other place required for the delivery of their apprenticeship.
- Company induction.
- Personal protective clothing and safety equipment required for apprentices to carry out their day-to-day work.
- Re-sits for qualifications or assessment required by the apprenticeship standard where no extra learning takes place before the re-sit.
- Employer’s own administration costs for supporting the apprenticeship.
- Time spent by managers supporting apprentices, mentoring or the time of other staff arranging training support.
- Specific services not related to the delivery and administration of the apprenticeship; this includes bespoke or additional training or assessment that is not a requirement of the standard.
- Where, for convenience, employers or HEI providers and their contracted providers wish the apprentice to live nearby whilst learning – for example, accommodation at a hotel for an apprentice chef.
The Apprenticeship evidence pack
To provide assurance and transparency, full details regarding the delivery of the apprenticeship will be formalised in an apprenticeship evidence pack. LSBU will hold and maintain an apprenticeship evidence pack for each apprentice, which is a collection of documents and information brought together to form a single point of reference relating to the training and end-point assessment taking place.
The evidence pack will consist of:
- An apprenticeship agreement with the employer and their apprentice
- Apprentice’s employment contract
- Written agreement (including payment schedule) with LSBU and the employer
- An individual commitment statement (apprentice, LSBU and the employer)
- Training plan