What is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a work-based programme that combines full-time work with an industry-designed degree. An apprenticeship offers the best of both worlds; relevant work experience, a salary and a recognised qualification. Learners work for an employer, however 20% of their time is dedicated to off-the-job training at university.
What is the difference between ‘on-the-job’ and ‘off-the-job’ training?
On-the-job training provides the learner with training in the workplace, specifically related to the job role.
Off-the-job training accounts for 20% of the learners working hours. It’s designed to help learners achieve the knowledge, skills and behaviour set out in the apprenticeship standard. Activities that count as off-the-job training include theoretical learning such as lectures, learning support, time writing assignments and practical training that learners would not usually do during the week such as shadowing.
Which apprenticeship levels are supported at the University of Hertfordshire?
The University supports higher apprenticeships in the form of foundation degrees, as well as degree apprenticeships that lead to a full bachelor’s degree or master's qualification.
Name Level Equivalent Education Level Higher 5, 6 and 7 Foundation degree and above Degree 6 and 7 Bachelor's or master's degrees
What is an apprenticeship standard?
An apprenticeship standard is a specification that determines the structure of an apprenticeship programme. They are created by employers in the sector to ensure the apprenticeship will equip learners with the practical skills and theoretical understanding required to succeed in their job role.
Apprenticeship standards outline the knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSB) required to carry out a certain job role.
What is the End Point Assessment (EPA)?
All apprenticeship standards must contain an EPA. It is designed to be an objective and impartial assessment of a learners knowledge, skills and behaviours. The learner will not be able to achieve the apprenticeship without passing the EPA. An independent organisation must be involved in the EPA of each learner so that all learners following the same standard are assessed consistently. Employers must choose who delivers their EPA. The register of end-point assessment organisations can help employers select an organisation to undertake them. The University will supply employers with a selection form to ensure that the EPA organisation of choice is confirmed.
What is the Apprenticeship Levy?
The Apprenticeship Levy was initiated by the UK government in April 2017, for all employers paying a wage bill of more than £3 million per year. Employers that meet this criteria are required to pay 0.5% of their payroll each month as a levy tax. This payment can be reinvested back into their work to fund apprenticeship training.
If an employer pays into the levy but their funds do not cover the full cost of the apprenticeship training, additional support is available. The government will pay 95% of the additional costs (up to the maximum of the relevant funding band), with the employer ‘co-investing’ 5%.
Is financial support available for employers that do not pay into the levy?
Yes. Employers with a payroll of less than £3 million per year will not pay the Apprenticeship Levy but can access government funding for apprenticeships, through a co-investment scheme.
Non-levy paying employers pay 5% towards the cost of apprenticeship training. This is paid direct to the higher education provider. The government will pay the remaining balance (95%), up to the funding band maximum. Non-levy paying employers can pay the difference from their own budget if the price of training is more than the funding band maximum.
Can employers that do not pay into the levy reserve apprenticeship funding?
Yes. Non-levy paying employers can reserve funding for up to ten apprenticeship starts via their Apprenticeship Service Account. This can be in advance of recruiting a new learner or when offering an apprenticeship to an existing employee. To reserve funding, employers will need to know:
- The apprenticeship standard the learner will be studying towards
- The month the apprenticeship training will start
Employers can only reserve funds from three months before an apprenticeship is planned to start. For example, if a learner is due to start in September, funding reservations can only be made in July, August and September. The funding reservation must be approved by the chosen training provider before the apprenticeship starts in order to release the funding.
You can view a video with a step-by-step guide on this process, and the latest guidance document on apprenticeship funding (including making funding reservations).
What is a levy transfer?
A levy transfer occurs when levy-paying employers transfer unused apprenticeship funds to other employers or apprenticeship training agencies. The transfer allowance percentage is currently set at 25%. The transfer allowance is calculated from the total amount of levy declared during the previous tax year, with the English percentage applied, plus the 10% government top-up payment. This allowance is recalculated every tax year and any unused allowance will not be carried forward.
Employers receiving transferred funds can use them to pay for training and assessment for apprenticeship standards, for new apprenticeship starts. A transfer must be agreed and put in place before a learner starts their apprenticeship.
Who can study for an apprenticeship?
To apply for an apprenticeship, we require a learner to:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a UK/EU/EEA/Swiss National resident for at least three years prior to starting the apprenticeship. Please note that from August 2021, EU/EEA/Swiss Nationals will no longer be eligible for Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) funding unless they are covered by the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement
- Have left full time education when the apprenticeship starts
- Have the right to work in the UK
- Have achieved GCSE Mathematics and English at Grade 4/C or equivalent
Each apprenticeship will also have specific academic entry requirements in terms of the subjects and grades required.
Learners must provide evidence of their eligibility to be an apprentice and meet the University’s entry criteria before they begin their programme. If any evidence is missing, the learner will not be able to start their apprenticeship.
What is an initial assessment?
Before an apprenticeship begins, the University must ascertain the individual’s prior learning to establish the ‘starting point’, or baseline, of the learner. This informs how much of the apprenticeship training content is required and checks that the apprenticeship is an appropriate training programme for the individual. A template will be shared by the University with the applicant for completion as part of the apprenticeship recruitment process.
Can existing employees access apprenticeships?
Yes. Apprenticeships can be used to upskill or retrain existing staff, as long as the apprenticeship is giving the employee new skills to progress in their chosen occupation.
Employers use apprenticeships to help fill key skills gap, boost employee motivation by investing in their development, and to improve retention.
What can a learner study at the University of Hertfordshire?
There is a wide choice of subjects available from nursing, occupational therapy, biomedical science and public service management to engineering, law, business and data analytics. Explore our full apprenticeship programme listing.
What support does the University of Hertfordshire provide for learners?
The University works very closely with employers to ensure that the learner receives:
- An induction programme when starting
- A detailed training plan (including on-the-job training)
- Regular progress reviews
- Opportunities to put into practice theoretical learning so that learners can achieve their qualifications and requirements of the apprenticeship
- Mentoring and general support throughout the apprenticeship
This will be all documented in a commitment statement that is part of the Apprenticeship Agreement, an individual learning plan that the provider, the employer and learner will all sign up to. This is a legal requirement for every apprentice. The University will provide the employer with a template.
What are my responsibilities as an employer?
- Offering a genuine job and an employment contract long enough for the learner to successfully complete their apprenticeship. This will be reflected in your contract with the learner, including the Apprenticeship Agreement.
- Actively supporting the apprentice in on and off-the-job training
- Granting the learner 20% of their time for off-the-job training
- Regularly review the apprentice’s learning and 20% off-the-job learning hours
- Ensuring learners have the same employment rights as all other employees, including paid holiday
- Paying the learners wages
- Attending the induction session and termly mandatory Tri-partite review meetings for an hour, to review and confirm progress
- Signing an Apprenticeship Training Services Agreement and Call-off Contract with the learning provider.
- Complete, along with the learner and learning provider, a Commitment Statement that sets out the planned content, support and plan of training for the duration of the apprenticeship
Where can I find information on the impact of COVID-19 on apprenticeships?
Visit our dedicated COVID-19 FAQ page for employers of apprentices which covers delivery of training, compliance and the end point assessment, furlough, breaks in learning and starting new apprenticeships. You can also read our COVID-19 FAQ page for apprentices.
To find out more about apprenticeships, read our employer handbook
- Read the accessible version