Being an apprentice
How apprenticeships work
On an apprenticeship, you're employed to do a real job whilst developing new skills, knowledge and behaviours, and studying for a formal qualification. By the end of your apprenticeship, you'll hopefully have gained the skills and knowledge needed to either succeed in your chosen career or progress onto the next apprenticeship level.
What you'll learn depends on the role that you're training for. However, apprentices in every role follow an approved study programme, which means you'll gain a nationally-recognised qualification at the end of your apprenticeship.
These qualifications can include:
- Functional skills - GCSE level qualifications in English, maths and IT.
- National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) - from Level 2 (comparable to five GCSEs) up to Level 5 (similar to a postgraduate degree).
- Technical certificates - such as BTEC, City and Guild Progression Award etc.
- Academic qualifications - including a Higher National Certificate (HNC), Higher National Diploma (HND), foundation degree or the equivalent of a full Bachelors degree.
You'll also be constantly developing Human Skills, which are highly valued by employers. These include communication, teamwork and problem solving.
There are four different levels of apprenticeship:
- Intermediate - equivalent to five good GCSE passes.
- Advanced - equivalent to two A-level passes.
- Higher - equivalent to the first stages of higher education, such as a foundation degree.
- Degree - comparable to a Bachelors or Masters degree.
The length of your apprenticeship will depend on a number of factors, such as the level of the apprenticeship, your chosen sector, employer requirements and your individual ability. That being said, apprenticeships will usually last between one and six years. Their length follows a basic framework:
- intermediate apprenticeships typically last between one year and 18 months
- Advanced apprenticeships are usually studied over two years
- Higher and degree apprenticeships take three-to-six years to complete.
There is no upper age limit on being an apprentice. As long as you're over 16 and have the right credentials, you'll be eligible to apply for your chosen apprenticeship.
As each type of apprenticeship offers a different-levelled qualification on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), their entry requirements will vary. Generally speaking, they are as follows:
- To apply for an intermediate apprenticeship, you'll just need to be over 16 years old and no longer in full-time education.
- For an advanced apprenticeship, you're likely to be asked for prior work experience and at least three A*-C or 9-4 grade GCSEs or equivalent - such as an intermediate apprenticeship qualification.
- As higher apprenticeships are the equivalent of a foundation degree, HNC or first year of a Bachelors, you'll usually need at least five A*-C or 9-4 grade GCSEs, as well as some Level 3
qualifications in relevant subjects, to apply. Your Level 3 qualifications could be AS-levels, a BTEC National or a Level 3 NVQ.
Who is involved with my apprenticeship journey?
There are three main organisations involved in the delivery of an apprenticeship standard:
The Employer – responsible for creating and providing the job and issuing a contract of employment for the duration. They pay the apprentice’s wages and select the training provider who will support the off-the-job training.
Northcoders Tech Ed – is responsible for providing a minimum of 20% off-the-job training to the apprentice. This training must not form a qualification, unless mandated in the apprenticeship standard. They will respond to employer need and therefore develop occupationally current and relevant training.
The End Point Assessment Organisation – responsible for assessing the apprentice’s competence in line with the Assessment Plan. They must be independent to Northcoders Tech Ed and Employer. End Point Assessment Organisations are responsible for recruiting occupationally competent assessors as per the conditions outlined in the Assessment Plan and must meet agreed External Quality Assurance requirements.
20% Off the Job Training
One of the core elements of an apprenticeship programme is that all apprentices spend 20% of their learning time developing their skills through off-the-job training. Off-the-job training is learning which happens outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of an apprenticeship.
Off-the-job training can be achieved in a number of ways and you may be surprised to learn of the simple activities which count towards the achievement of 20% learning time. We have listed just a few of the ways in which you can cover the 20% off the job element of the apprenticeship:
1. Attending skills development sessions within our training centres
2. Taking part in our virtual learning (online training sessions)
3. Participating in online forums relevant to their role and industry
4. Individual study time, whether this is to complete coursework or review modules
5. Being mentored by a senior colleague who is in a role that they aspire to
6. Delivering a mentoring session to another colleague
7. Completing a reflective account - this can be written, audio recorded or filmed
8. Shadowing a colleague’s role and writing a reflection and lessons learnt report
9. Group learning sessions - learning new skills and sharing ideas with colleagues
10. Researching tasks to gain new knowledge of the industry
11. Internal Learning & Development sessions that relate to their apprenticeship
12. Completing project work
13. Preparing for assessments
14. Role playing or simulating of workplace situations
15. Visits to other businesses or different business units to see how they work
16. Attending industry-related competitions
17. Attending industry shows (particularly where they might be able to watch
presentations or seminars)
18. Workplace 1:1 performance reviews
19. Training sessions e.g. Manual Handling
20. Attending webinars on key industry topics.
Our position and commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion
We believe that no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, you should be welcomed. We stand with #BlackLivesMatter, affirm all gender identities and sexualities and support people living with disabilities and neurodiversities.
A commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion is part of who we are, and we keep learning all the time. We understand our responsibility of ensuring that every apprentice is treated fairly and is encouraged to develop to their full potential in all aspects of their training. Northcoders Tech Ed in partnership with employers will ensure that apprentices do not, at any time during training, suffer any discrimination on the grounds of race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, sexual orientation or age.
Northcoders Tech Ed will discuss equality issues with Apprentices during progress reviews to monitor their understanding and experience during training. All Apprentices will be able to access a wide range of support provided by Northcoders Tech Ed, starting with induction, right through to great exit and progression activities.
We champion inclusion. It's part of our code.
At a time where technology will define what it means to be human, it’s crucial that we ensure that our future is built by people from all walks of life, and that people from all walks of life have the opportunity to be a part of it.
We aim to carve a path to a diverse, inclusive tech workforce where all are welcome, encouraged and supported to achieve success in this uniquely rewarding industry.
Equality – involves creating an environment in which everybody is treated fairly regardless of who they are, where they come from or what they believe. This does not mean treating people the same. First, it consists of valuing people as individuals and ensuring that nobody is discriminated against for any reason.
Diversity – People are different and these differences are valued. We believe history matters, and acknowledge that ideals of "equality, diversity and inclusion" are not yet properly reflected in the world. We encourage our people to learn and to do better every day. We try, wherever we can, to understand, value and respect every person.
Health and safety
Northcoders Tech Ed take Health and Safety seriously. We fully understand and support that health and safety in the workplace are essential, everyone has a right to be safe at work.
Employers can not put people in danger, so they need to ensure that they have effective and current mechanisms in place to ensure the health and safety and safe working practices of each employee.
It is our role as your training provider to ensure that each employer we work with has detailed safety guides and regulations, the mechanisms and systems in place to instruct their employees to minimise the risks and they also make all necessary arrangements for offering their employees effective protection.
In addition to this, all our learners will be supported to develop their understanding and skills concerning personal health and safety, health and safety in the workplace and safe working practices as part of their apprenticeship programme.
Information, advice and guidance
Northcoders Tech Ed is committed to the provision of an impartial Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) service to anyone wishing to access any of our training programmes and to those that are already in learning.
The purpose of IAG Service is to support enquirers considering training with Northcoders Tech Ed and to support learners in achieving their aspirations, including their study and career goals through Northcoders Tech Ed. In the delivery of IAG, we support enquirers and learners in making decisions about their study and career planning based on their individual needs, circumstances, interests, prior learning and career goals and aspirations.
We place an emphasis on opportunities for independent self-assessment and decision making by providing information and advice that is easy to access, clear, relevant and up to date. Our service is consistent with the agreed Northcoders Tech Ed approach to educational support and guidance and is delivered in accordance with the principles of the nationally recognised matrix quality standard (www.matrixstandard.com). Our overarching goal is simply to deliver an outstanding learner experience.
The service aims to deliver IAG to enquirers and learners who are registered on, or considering registering for, an apprenticeship with Northcoders Tech Ed.
Our objectives are to:
1. Empower enquirers and learners to achieve their study and career goals and to develop independence in their decision making.
2. Ensure that the delivery of IAG within Northcoders Tech Ed is responsive to changes and developments both internally and externally, including changes to our client and learner markets.
3. Support the improvement of learner completion and progression rates.
4. Work proactively and collaboratively internally to enhance the effective delivery of IAG.
5. Identify and work in partnership with external organisations to inform and enhance our service to learners.
Every 8-10 weeks your trainer or skills coach will conduct a progress review with yourself and your line manager. The aim of this meeting is to ensure that you are progressing with your qualification, undertaking development activities and achieving the agreed objectives. The date and timings of the review will be agreed in advance by your trainer/skills coach and it is important that all parties attend.
Prior to a review you will need to ensure that you have completed your Learner Self-Assessment Review record where you will reflect on developments that you have completed, targets you wish to meet in the future, your awareness regarding core areas of learning such as Health and Safety, Equality and Diversity and Safeguarding and Prevent.
At each review meeting, you will:
• Review progress against each element of your apprenticeship or against each milestone or target set.
• Review learning activities that have been undertaken since the last review.
• Plan support measures or further learning activities that can be undertaken to gain additional knowledge or skills.
• Discuss and agree SMART (specific, measurable, agreeable, realistic and timebound) objectives for the following 8 weeks.
• Review and update your SILP.
• Discuss any areas of concern or barriers to success and how these can be overcome.
• Discuss progress against the development of English and maths skills.
• Discuss 20% of the job expectations and achievement.
• Discuss core learning areas of Equality and Diversity, Safeguarding, Prevent and Health and
Northcoders Tech Ed has primary responsibility for the care, welfare and safety of the learners in our charge and are fully committed to safeguarding and promoting welfare. All of our learners, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse.
- What we will do if we think you are being harmed, or likely to be harmed.
- What you should do if you think someone else is being harmed.
- What we will do if we think you are about to harm someone else.
- What we will do to keep you and others safe.
- The prevention of all types of harm and is about keeping you safe.
To keep you safe, we will ensure that:
- All staff who have regular contact with learners have been vetted via the Disclosure and Barring Service.
- All staff are trained on how to deal with learners at risk.
- We have internal systems for dealing with learners at risk.
- There is a designated safeguarding lead who can help learners in a variety of situations.
- You can make use of any forums, including surveys, to report concerns.
Harm means; anything which is happening to you which is physically or emotionally hurtful, examples include bullying, sexual abuse, neglect, physical attack, or being forced to do something against your will. This could be at home, at work, in a training centre, with friends or colleagues.
Northcoders Tech Ed is committed to delivering the requirements of the Prevent Duty. Prevent is one of the elements of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy known as CONTEST.
Prevent is about safeguarding learners from radicalisation and extremism by taking measures to prevent extremism in work-based learning, and by promoting British Values. Prevent is about safeguarding you as a learner to keep you safe and within the law. The Prevent Duty is not about preventing you from having political and religious views and concerns but about supporting you to use those concerns or act on them in non-extremist ways.
What is the Prevent Duty?
Section 21 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a duty on certain bodies, listed in Schedule 3 to the Act, to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.
What is Extremism?
The government has defined extremism in the Prevent strategy as: “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs”. This also includes calls for the death of members of the British armed forces.
What are British Values?
British values are defined as “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs”; institutions are expected to encourage learners to respect other people with particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010.
How apprenticeships work
Why develop your people?
To develop your business you need to develop the skills of your workforce. Apprenticeships allow you to recruit people and train them specifically for the needs of your business as well as upskilling existing staff to help your business prosper. Northcoders TechEd become an extension to your business and together we design and deliver the programmes you need for the people who need it.
20% off-the-job training
One of the key elements of an apprenticeship requires employers to give all apprentices at least 20% of their total working hours for “off-the-job” learning. This is defined as “learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of an apprenticeship. This can include training that is delivered at the apprentice’s normal place of work but must not be delivered as part of their “normal working duties.”
This can include the following:
- The teaching of theory (for example, skills development sessions, masterclasses, role playing, simulation exercises, online learning, manufacturer training).
- Practical training
- Time spent writing assessments and assignments
- Learning support
- Shadowing and mentoring
- Industry visits and attendance at exhibitions
- Online blended learning
OFF-THE-JOB TRAINING DOES NOT INCLUDE:
- English and maths (up to level 2)
- Progress reviews or on-programme assessment required for an apprenticeship standard (i.e. skills coach meetings)
- Training which takes place outside the apprentice’s paid working hours
DOING THE MATHS – HOW TO CALCULATE THE 20%
When calculating the 20% off-the-job, we take the following approach:
- Work out the total working hours for the apprentice. (This should exclude annual leave entitlement and bank holidays.)
- Calculate 20% of the total working hours across the planned duration of the programme:
Each of our programmes have a different number of face-to-face training days. We subtract these from the total to give a suggested number of hours of workplace off-the-job study each week.
The remainder will be completed in the workplace, but away from immediate pressures of the day job.
Your employer journey
Our partnership with employers can be distilled into three distinct elements within an Employer Journey as illustrated below:
Step 1 – Initial Engagement
Our Partnerships Team will liaise closely with you to determine the most appropriate training solution for individual employees, teams, departments and the whole organisation. This process will also be used to shape the unique apprenticeship provision that reflects and builds upon organisational values, behaviours and characteristics, ensuring that the provision is right for you as an employer and also provides an effective return on investment.
The above could involve the development and completion of an organisation needs analysis and or a training needs analysis.
During this element of the Employer Journey, you will be assigned a Partnership Account Manager.
Step 2 – Onboarding
As apprenticeships are Government Funding training and skills programmes all training providers and employers are required to complete an onboarding toolkit. Northcoders TechEd is responsible for issuing and completing the toolkit with you. Your Partnership Account Manager will work closely with you to ensure that all elements of the toolkit (documentation) are completed including:
- Apprenticeship Contract/Service Level Agreement
- Apprenticeship Agreement
- Apprenticeship Contract
- Employer Induction
- Introduction to the Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS)
Step 3 – On programme
Throughout the duration of the apprenticeship programme, you will receive regular communication from your Partnership Account Manager, including:
- Apprentice Progress Review Reports
- Quarterly Partnerships Contract Meetings
- Employer Feedback Surveys
- Completion of Tripartite Reviews
At Northcoders TechEd, we are dedicated to ensuring all employees and apprentices are safe and free from harm. Safeguarding is an all-encompassing term used to describe many aspects of keeping our apprentices and their skills trainers safe and includes:
- health, safety and wellbeing
- protection of adults at risk
- bullying, harassment and discrimination, including racial abuse
- abuse and neglect
- safety from sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation and forced marriage
- alcohol, drug and substance misuse
- E-safety, including all aspects of electronic communication
- financial exploitation
- protecting people from radicalisation and extremism
- the security and safety of the Training Centres or places of learning
Northcoders TechEd will work with employers and apprentices to promote a safe environment for everyone, whether they are based at a training provider training centre, on a visit or in the workplace. You will be provided with a full safeguarding procedure upon completion of apprenticeship inductions. Please contact Northcoders TechEd if you have any questions or concerns.
As part of our commitment to the partnership between Northcoders TechEd and yourselves, this section is provided to make sure that you have the information you need about the Prevent
What do you as an employer need to know?
According to the government and security services, the UK is ‘highly likely’ to suffer a terrorist attack. The current threat level is ‘severe’. Media reports of young people leaving their studies to become involved in terrorism, either here in Britain or overseas, have led to increased concerns about radicalisation and extremism in the further education and training sector.
The Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 has introduced the Prevent Duty for various bodies including all FE training providers, adult education providers and independent learning providers with ESFA funding or with over 250 learners enrolled. Employers cannot simply view this duty as a list of conditions to comply with and just adopt a ‘tick-box’ approach. This goes against the spirit of the government’s guidance which seeks to promote meaningful ways to reduce the specific risks of radicalisation and extremism for learners and the local community.
Prevent is the Government’s strategy to stop people becoming involved in violent extremism, or supporting terrorism, in all its forms. Prevent works within the non-criminal space, using early engagement to encourage individuals and communities to challenge violent extremist ideologies and behaviours.
Radicalisation is defined as the process by which people come to support terrorism and extremism and, in some cases, to then participate in terrorist groups.
The government has defined extremism in the Prevent Duty as: "vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs”. This also includes calls for the death of members of the British armed forces.
As employers you will have regular direct contact with your employees and may get to know them well. You may witness activity and behaviour or receive information which other staff are not privy to. If you believe that someone is vulnerable to being exploited or radicalised, please contact the Northcoders TechEd Designated Safeguarding Officer to escalate your concerns. The Safeguarding Officer can then raise those concerns to Channel if they feel it necessary to do so; however, if in doubt, report your concerns.
From 1st July 2015, employers have a duty to actively promote fundamental British values; these were first set out by the government in the ‘Prevent’ strategy in 2011. Ofsted include an assessment of its implementation in their inspections.
British values are defined as "democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs"; institutions are expected to encourage learners to respect other people with particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010.
What is the duty of the employer with regard to prevent and British values?
- ensure that risk assessments and associated action plans are of high quality and cover all aspects of the ‘Prevent’ duty
- ensure that learners have a good understanding of British values and the risks and threats of radicalisation and extremism
- provide staff training that is aligned to job roles and evaluate this to measure its impact across the organisation
- refer to the ‘Prevent’ duty explicitly in IT policies and procedures, closely monitor learners’ use of IT facilities to identify inappropriate usage, and work with Northcoders TechEd and external agencies for additional support, information and intelligence
Working with us
You have the right to:
- Receive advice and guidance on recruiting and employing an apprentice
- Be regularly informed of your apprentice’s progress and achievements.
- Be treated fairly, equally and with respect.
- An open and fair way to complain if you are not satisfied with our services.
We are all working together to ensure your apprentice enjoys their time on programme and are successful for the future.