Build an apprenticeship programme: large employers
Information for employers with more than 250 employees who want to create an apprenticeship programme.
Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes, designed with employers, which combine on and off the job learning and development activities. They are used to develop employees who are in new job roles including higher level roles.
This guide has been developed to support large employers to understand, deliver and develop apprenticeships for their businesses.
Build an apprenticeship programme
Your business can work with training providers to create an apprenticeship programme.
As an employer offering an apprenticeship you need to:
- employ an apprentice for a minimum of 30 hours per week
- pay at least the national minimum wage for apprentices
- induct the apprentice and support their on-the-job learning using skills and knowledge in the workforce
- be involved in reviewing the progress of an apprentice
You should think about including some or all of this content in your apprenticeship:
- on-the-job coaching and learning
- off-the-job learning
- employer induction and training
- online learning and support
- mentoring and line management support
- specific training for individuals
Apprenticeships are usually delivered in partnership with a training provider or college. Some employers with large scale programmes choose to deliver all elements of the apprenticeship themselves and do not use a provider.
Apprenticeship delivery models
There are several approaches to building an apprenticeship programme you can consider as a large employer.
In this model, the apprenticeship is organised and delivered by the training provider. Apprentices are usually recruited at a local level through direct contact with the local business manager.
If you need a consistent approach across the whole business other models might be more suitable
Use this model if you have a clear corporate strategy for apprenticeships and use colleges and/or training providers to deliver the programme on your behalf.
You’ll decide the qualifications that will be delivered as part of the apprenticeship and monitor delivery to ensure it meets your business needs. This approach means training is delivered in a consistent way across the business that complements other training and development programmes already in existence in the business.
You’ll usually hold the apprenticeship funding contract and will access funding to deliver the learning and support apprentices need. If you have a large apprenticeship programme you can hold your own apprenticeship funding contract and sub-contract delivery to your chosen provider or providers.
A service level agreement is commonly used to support this model.
Use this model if you want to take responsibility for all elements of apprenticeship delivery. Your apprenticeships should be integrated with internal training activity and often link to career progression pathways.
In this model, you’ll hold your own apprenticeship funding contract. You can deliver the whole apprenticeship or sub-contract specific elements to a provider or providers.
If your business uses specialised equipment and training it might be suitable to deliver apprenticeships through an academy. This model is often used by businesses in the engineering sector.
Academies normally operate as separate business units often with bespoke facilities and dedicated training teams. Training teams are responsible for all elements of the apprenticeship delivery and may be employed directly or through a training provider.
In this model, you’ll hold your own apprenticeship funding contract. Any sub-contracted activity will be supported by a contract and service level agreement.
Choose a training provider
Most employers work in partnership with training providers to deliver their apprenticeship programme. A college or training provider will help you:
- identify the right apprenticeship for your business requirements
- recruit an apprentice
- develop a training plan which reflects the apprentice’s and your needs
- review and test the progress of an apprentice and provide feedback
- provide training to support the apprentice with off-the-job learning and the knowledge elements of the programme
A training provider usually holds the apprenticeship delivery contract which is managed by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA).
You can find the most suitable training provider for your business by thinking about:
- your business area and job role of the programme (and potential frameworks and levels)
- the size and scope of the programme (numbers, geography and age groups)
- whether you will integrate your in-house training materials into the programme
Employers can use the find apprenticeship training service to search for suitable apprenticeships and identify approved training providers who can deliver that training.
The service contains details of training providers who currently offer apprenticeships. It will be updated in 2017 to reflect the new register of apprenticeship training providers.
Once you’ve selected a training provider you should create a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to help build a close working relationship. The SLA should set out the responsibilities and duties of each partner, including measures and deadlines that you’ll both follow. If you’re agreeing a financial contract you’ll need a separate contract in addition to your SLA.
Training providers can get apprenticeship funding on your behalf to deliver the learning and support your apprentices need. Alternatively, you can create your own apprenticeship delivery contract and get government funding directly.
For further information about how apprenticeships are funding, please refer to our apprenticeship funding rules.
How apprenticeship funding is paid
Understanding how and when apprenticeship funding is paid can be helpful even if your training provider manages this on your behalf.
Payments are made on a monthly basis and are spread across the planned delivery duration of each qualification within the apprenticeship. A percentage of the funding for the competence element of the apprenticeship is paid upon completion of the whole framework.
Information for employers about the way apprenticeship funding is changing, including details about the apprenticeship levy we are introducing from 2017 can be found on the apprenticeship changes page.
The Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE) sets out the minimum requirements for an apprenticeship framework by level. There are no new SASE frameworks being developed or issued through Apprenticeship Frameworks Online since 31st August 2014.
The apprenticeship quality statement describes the standards, including:
- minimum hours of employment for apprentices
- duration of the apprenticeship
- English and maths requirements
- new learning and skills expectations
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Ofsted is responsible for the external quality assessment of government-funded training, which includes apprenticeships.
If you have decided to access government funding directly to provide apprenticeships, you’ll be responsible for meeting Ofsted and contractual quality requirements.
Some elements of your plan may be offered on your behalf by your training provider but it’s important that you maintain overall ownership.
An apprenticeship certificate must be in place for the full apprenticeship to be recognised. You can get the certificate from Apprenticeship Certificates England when an apprentice has completed all elements of their programme.
To find out more about how apprenticeships can benefit your business contact the Skills Funding Agency on 08000 150 600 or complete our enquiry form.