The answers to these Frequently Asked Questions were last checked on 26 November 2018.

Apprenticeship content and basics

Features of Apprenticeships Who can be funded to do an Apprenticeship?
A job with a knowledge, skills and behaviours development programme which includes English, Maths and in some cases ICT Those aged 16 upwards; there is no upper age limit
A mix of structured learning in the workplace on the job with formal off and near the job training (e.g. classroom learning and coaching) Existing or new staff needing to undertake substantial new learning to develop knowledge, skills and behaviours for a specific job role
Available from Level 2 to Degree level and above Those whose development needs are covered by an approved Apprenticeship Standard or Framework
No cost or debt for the Apprentice, even with Degree Apprenticeships Part or full time staff: The duration of the Apprenticeship must be extended (pro rata) for those who do fewer than 30 hours to ensure they receive the same amount of development as those who are full time
If no job available with the employer  after the Apprenticeship is achieved support must be given to secure one elsewhere Those with higher level qualifications or degrees are still eligible for funding provided their previous higher level qualification is not related to the Apprenticeship they wish to pursue
20% of the training must be off the job; that means away from the direct place of work (this could include coaching at work and work activities for learning but not part of the actual Apprentice’s work) Funding now remains the same for all those aged 19 plus (it used to halve at 23)
• Funded by the Government or the Apprenticeship levy. (Minimum 10% employer contribution to costs) Applicants will have their English, Maths, and in some cases ITC literacy assessed as part of their initial assessment to identify their development needs

Apprenticeship Frameworks are gradually being replaced by Apprenticeship Standards. Apprenticeship Standards are written by employers in Trailblazer groups and describe competencies (knowledge, skills and attitudes) for specific job roles. Frameworks are based around qualifications not competencies in a job role.

Standards require an End Point Assessment (EPA) to be carried out by an independent End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO). This happens after the on programme learning and qualifications have been achieved. EPA tests the application of the skills, attitudes and knowledge gained by the Apprentice.

An Apprenticeship Standard cannot be achieved without passing the end point assessment. An Apprenticeship Framework is achieved when all the component qualifications have been completed: there is no external End Point Assessment.

There may not be a choice between a Standard or Framework in the Apprenticeship you need as the Govt is gradually “switching off” the old Frameworks as Standards become available.

If there is a choice it will be for you as the employer to decide which you prefer.

The Framework funding will be lower as the Govt is directing us to Standards and encourages this partly through funding: Standards also contain the cost of End Point Assessment so more money is needed for this.

If the End Point Assessment is established you will want the Standard. You need to know the cost and process of End Point Assessment as you must select the End Point Assessment Organisation before the Apprentice is able to start.  The training provider can help with this ( as can I!)

No – for example the level 2 Health care support worker (HCSW) standard does not mandate a qualification.

The learning and assessment will be planned to deliver against the Apprentice Standards for them to achieve the knowledge, skills and behaviours stated.

This will be tested via End Point Assessment, but the provider and employer will need to assess the progress of the apprentice and revise learning throughout the Apprenticeship.

Where a qualification is not mandated, the employer can agree delivery of a suitable qualification with the provider.

The qualification costs cannot be funded by the levy directly, however if the qualification delivers the learning outcomes contained by the standard (and why would you choose it if it didn’t?)… then the learning is part of the development the apprentice will need to achieve the Apprenticeship standard, so costs may be covered.

Yes – it used to be that staff had to do a minimum of 30 hours – that has changed. See the first text box at the top of these FAQs for details.

Yes – providing they require “substantial new learning” and are not simply becoming qualified for what they already know and can do.

Apprenticeship delivery

Apprenticeships require development of the apprentice’s knowledge, skills and behaviours in line with the Apprenticeship Standards. Those of you involved in education will understand these 3 areas as “learning domains” below:

Knowledge Cognitive domain Verbal and intellectual states
Skills Psychomotor domain Skills and physical coordination (doing)
Attitude/behaviours Affective domain Feelings and values

The knowledge can be developed in a number of “off the job” environments, including classroom based learning, self study and e learning activities. Skills and attitudes are however reliant upon work based (experiential) learning and related reflection which is guided and linked to the work activities undertaken as part of learning. It follows therefore that the employer is likely to be involved in this and that the apprentice can learn through their work – the key is to plan and adequately support this work based learning. The funding rules define off job training as below and there is a list of the activities which count on P33 of the funding rules on this website.

P31 Off the job training is defined and learning which is undertaken outside 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 most not be delivered as part of their normal working duties.

Training that is not required as part of apprenticeship is not considered as part of the 20% off-the-job training e.g. new skills for the job that are not directly relevant to the apprenticeship”

P35 If planned OJT is unable to take place as scheduled, you (provider) must ensure this is rearranged. All OJT must take place within paid hours. Apprentices may choose to spend additional time on training outside their paid hours, but this must not be required to complete the apprenticeship

P36 at least 20% of the apprentices hours over the planned duration of the apprenticeship must be spent on OJT. Apprentices may need more than 20% OJT (see para 37). By paid hours we mean the apprentice’s contracted hours (e.g. 30 hours per week x 52 weeks x 0.2 = 312 hours of OJT per year)

As the employer you choose your provider(s). The employer is permitted to deliver aspects of the Apprenticeship as a subcontractor or delivery partner.

To do this you must have staff with appropriate teaching or assessment qualifications and be equipped to provide some of the Apprenticeship content.

You will need to negotiate receipt of some of the funding for this from the provider who can pay you.

Many providers are reluctant to do this as it causes extra work for them so you will need to negotiate. Below are extracts from the funding rules (available on the Information Hub website) so you can quote these if you need to!

Special conditions for all instances where the employer is the delivery subcontractor

P168. Where the employer is the delivery subcontractor you (provider) must only pay them for actual costs of delivery. Employers must not profit from apprenticeship delivery to their own employees.

The price of an Apprenticeship
(Comment from Sally Garbett) – The full cost of Apprenticeship must be transparent. Where an employer is legitimately delivering training or providing assessment, the overall price should not be reduced by the provider. This is because that would in effect mean the employer was delivering part of the apprenticeship “for free” whilst the provider was paid for their part in delivery. It would render the “free” delivery invisible from Ofsted inspection and would make the overall data on costs of apprenticeships inaccurate.

Quote from funding rules P174 You (Training Provider) must not offset the negotiated price with the costs of any service provided by the employer. If the employer is legitimately delivering relevant training or an eligible cost supported by these (funding) rules, then this must be included in the overall price. The cost of the Apprenticeship must be transparent.

If the apprentice has potential to complete level 2 functional skills that is the level they should be enrolled on from the start, even if the minimum requirement for the standard is level 1.

If an apprentice has a L2 they do not need to study further (unless the standard requires more)

The expectation is that if they don’t have L2 they go straight on to L2 – they should only do L1 first in exceptional circumstances –specifically the provider has to have assessed the learner and show that they could not complete the L2 without this additional first step.

NB. Remember functional skills are funded directly by the ESFA who pays the training provider. This does not come from the levy or the 90/10% funding model. The provider receives £471 per functional skill and the training for these should be contextualised to the apprenticeship and job role.

The Trailblazer (employer groups) develop an end-point assessment appropriate to their standard and therefore the assessment approaches may differ from standard to standard.

You will need to read the assessment plan with the standard to understand the end-point assessment requirements.

Finding a provider

Go to the below link to search for Apprenticeship Standards. Just enter the type of job role for which you need an Apprenticeship Standard. Remember you need to read the Standard and the related Assessment plan to get the full picture of what is required.

Find an Apprenticeship Standard:

To find a training provider, go to

Simply enter your organisation’s postcode and the Standard you need provided and a list of training providers will come up.

Information: Ask the provider… Why you need to know this…
Framework of Standard:

Is there a choice between Apprenticeship Framework and Standard: What is the content and funding for each?

(You may not have a choice: some areas have only the Framework or Standard)

The content will differ and you will want to select the best option for you and your Apprentice. Remember funding may be higher for the Standard, but it will require End Point Assessment which incurs a cost
Apprenticeship content:

When discussing the content of the Apprenticeship, ask the provider:

  • Which qualifications must be achieved and at what level?
  • What are the optional units available within the main subject qualification?

(Optional units are those which you can select to ensure the qualification reflects the context of the Apprentice’s role)

Are there additional knowledge, skills and behaviours to be achieved as well as, or in place of qualifications?

Adult Care and Health Apprenticeship Standards contain the Care Certificate. Make sure you ask about this as you may deliver it already

There are many optional units within the Health and Care Diplomas. Make sure you are shown the full range from which to choose and not just the ones the provider wants to offer.

Standards contain knowledge, skills and behaviours which will be assessed in the End Point Assessment. Make sure you ask how the provider plans to cover these.

Delivery process and timescales:

What is the duration of the Apprenticeship?

Recruitment and initial assessment:

  • What is the application/recruitment process for the Apprenticeship and what does the initial assessment involve?
  • How is this carried out?

Teaching and learning:

  • What is the training and how will this be delivered?
  • How does this align to the content of the Apprenticeship?
  • How is the English and Maths taught?
  • How is the learning individualised to meet the needs of the Apprentice?
  • What qualifications and experience do the provider’s teachers have?


  • How is assessment carried out? (of learning and of achievement)
  • How frequently will assessors visit and for how long?
  • What qualifications and experience do the assessors have?
  • How are assessments and evidence recorded?

Progress reviews, quality assurance and ongoing management of the Apprenticeship:

  • How frequently will the Apprentice be reviewed and who will be involved?
  • Who is the Internal Quality Assurer (IQA) and what are the IQA processes for the whole Apprenticeship (not just the qualifications within it.)
  • Who in the provider has overall responsibility for managing the Apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships run from 12 to 18: 18 to 24: or 24 plus months. As the employer you can choose the duration and the suggestion is that you ask for the longest time frame if you wish.

Even if it is an existing staff member who will undertake the Apprenticeship, you will need  a selection process and want to ensure that initial assessment is carried out to identify the individual’s needs and potential.

There must be approximately 20% off the job training delivered. A small amount of this may be e learning

Ask about the sequencing of learning and qualifications. You may want English and Maths “front loaded” or sandwiched in the middle. Don’t leave it to the end!

It is important to know the schedule of visits so you can monitor the service you receive against that you were promised.

If the provider uses an electronic portfolio your Apprentices are likely to need a fair bit of front loaded training to get them started. Make sure you ask for this. They will not “get the hang of it” without practise and support.

Reviews are not the same as assessments. Formal progress reviews should be carried out at least every 8 to10 weeks and should involve a 3 way discussion with the Apprentice, you as the employer and the provider

The provider’s IQA is responsible for managing the overall quality and should sample the process and Apprentice work throughout the Apprenticeship

You need the main point of contact in case you need to discuss the delivery, payment etc.

Achievement and progression:

  • How is achievement evaluated and what are the opportunities for progression to further study?
Always good to know what may come next!

Remember there should be a job for the Apprentice once they achieve the Apprenticeship or you will need to help them find one elsewhere.

Input from Employer

  • What are the expectations of ‘mentorship’ or guidance from us as the employer for the Apprentice?
There is a time commitment for the employer’. This needs resourcing and is not covered by Apprenticeship funding

Funding and policy

From April 2017, employers whose wage bill is more than £3 million per annum will pay a tax called the Apprenticeship levy. Many hospices fall into this category. The levy will be 0.5% of the employer’s class 1 national insurance wage bill and the employer is responsible for calculating this and paying it directly to HMRC on a monthly basis, you need to register your organisation here

The Apprenticeship Levy (tax) is held within the employer’s dedicated Digital Account to fund Apprenticeships. After 24 months, unused funds will be removed by HMRC and re-distributed elsewhere. (So month 1 payment is removed by HMRC at month 25: month 2 payment removed at month 26 and so on.)

Employer’s whose wage bill is less than £3 million per annum will be required to pay approximately 10% of the apprenticeship costs with the Govt funding covering 90%. The training provider will set this up with you. If a levy paying employer uses all that is in their levy account, subsequent Apprenticeships are funded via this same 90/10% split.

The money will not be paid to the training provider until the employer has agreed the details of the Apprenticeship delivery with their chosen provider(s) and an agreement is signed.

The provider sets all of this in motion and whoever manages your levy account will receive a request from the training provider to set up payment for each Apprentice by name.

Yes – employers with “spare” funds have been permitted to pass 25% of their funds to another organisation since April 2017.

Training providers who are also levy payers cannot pass their funds to an employer and then deliver the training the transferred money has funded!

Contact me to ask more about funding transfers.

The funding body (ESFA) will not fund an apprenticeship delivered only by distance learning. E-learning can be included provided it is contributory to the Standard and is part of a blended learning experience.