What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a paid job which gives the learner (an apprentice) practical work experience and the opportunity to train in a particular occupation, whilst gaining valuable skills and qualifications to enable them to become proficient in their chosen occupation.

Why consider an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship can be an important element of talent management and retention activity.

Benefits of having an apprentice include:

  • Recruiting for your future workforce needs
  • Taking advantage of the apprenticeship levy and other funding available
  • Ensure your future workforce have the right skills
  • Increase staff retention rates

What are apprenticeship standards?

Apprenticeship standards outline the knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) required to carry out a certain job role. They are employer-led, meaning that employers can specify exactly what’s required from an apprentice in each specific role.  Please visit the Institute for Apprenticeships website to view a list of current apprenticeship standards.

What kind of levels are there?

The different levels of apprenticeships are outlined below:

Intermediate: entry level with no experience:

Level 2

12-18 months

Equivalent to 5 GCSE A*-C or 9-4

Advanced: for those with some experience, looking to specialise

Level 3

18-48 months

Equivalent to 2 A-Levels

Higher (and degree): mainly suited for up-skilling existing employees

Levels 4, 5, 6 and 7

24 months+

Equivalent to Foundation degree and above

An apprenticeship can take between one to four years to complete. The duration will depend on factors such as the level of the programme and type of standard, as well as the apprentice’s ability and previous experience.

What support is available to the apprentice?

Here are some examples of ongoing support and guidance throughout the apprenticeship journey:

Expectations of the employer, work plans and details of the scheduled training must be clearly set out as part of the induction, and must also be documented as part of the Apprenticeship Agreement and Commitment Statement.

You will also meet with your apprentice regularly to discuss their work and development needs, as well as to set and review their key milestones and goals.

A departmental mentor and/or buddy (either another apprentice or former apprentice) should be assigned to support the apprentice through their apprenticeship.

Through the training provider, which provides the off-the-job training, apprentices will be assigned a development coach and pastoral care to help them thrive in their apprenticeship.

What employment contract do apprentices need?

All apprentices must have a contract of employment that is long enough for them to complete the apprenticeship programme and is a minimum of 12 months. Importantly, they must also be in a role that provides them with the opportunity to gain the skills, knowledge, and behaviours needed to complete their apprenticeship.

The Apprenticeship funding rules contain detailed information on employing apprentices. Essentially:

Apprentices are offered the same conditions as other employees

Spends 20% off-the-job training

They are entitled to the same holiday/annual leave as per organisational policy and any other benefits such as childcare or paid sick leave.

Who pays the apprentices wage?

The practice that employs the apprentice pays the wages of the apprentice and will need to do so even if the apprentice is on placement elsewhere.

How is an apprenticeship funded?


There are opportunities for you to request levy transfers from partner organisations to pay for the programmes

For more information on levy transfers please click here

How is an apprenticeship delivered?

As part of the programme, the apprentice must undertake a minimum of 20% off-the-job training.

The delivery of a programme will vary according to the apprenticeship standard and training provider. This will be agreed at the procurement phase and can be adapted to ensure that it is fit for yours and their needs. Typically delivered through tutors and skills coaches, and a blend of face-to-face and online support besides practical assessments and theoretical learning. Apprentices will have designated days or blocked time away from the office, for example.

Line managers will also play a pivotal part in supporting them to complete challenging work-related projects and tasks, as well as to take time out to learn and study.

What is the End Point Assessment?

The end-point assessment (EPA) enables apprentices to show that they are acquainted in the skills, knowledge, and behaviours expected at this level and type of apprenticeship they are working towards. Successfully passing the endpoint assessment will lead to the award of the Apprenticeship Standard.

As the manager, you will decide when the apprentice is ready to be assessed and through the training provider will liaise with the EPAO (End Point Assessment Organisation). Once the assessment has started, the apprentice will have a fixed period to complete the assessment. This is based on the apprenticeship standard they are working towards.

Checklist for Apprenticeships

To view the Checklist for Apprenticeships, please click here: https://primarycaredorset.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Checklist-for-Apprenticeships-1.docx

Other resources

Employer_Guide_February_2017.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)