1Target group

    Q7. What is the target group of this scheme?
    Young people in initial vocational education and training (15-16 year-olds)
    Young adults in education and training (above 16 year-olds)
    Other (please specify in the description)

    Apprenticeships are available from post 16 upwards. Generally schemes are targeted to 16-24 (funding reflects this) however, apprenticeships are available for older age groups and the unemployed.

    Q8. What is the age of learners?
    Between 15 and 18
    Between 18 and 24
    Above 24

    2Overview of the scheme

    Q9. Is the scheme included in the ISCED 2011 mapping?

    Prog.03.07          Intermediate Apprenticeship 352

    Prog.03.12            Advanced Apprenticeships 354

    Q10 - Is the scheme part of the VET system?
    Yes, it is the main route in the VET system
    Yes, but it is considered a second-chance route
    No, it is an alternative pathway outside of formal VET

    Apprenticeships are a key route in the UK VET system and indeed pushed by the government as the main vocational pathway.

    Q11 - When was the scheme introduced?
    Long history (before 2000)
    Recently introduced (between 2000-2012)
    New pathway (after 2012)
    Q12 - How did the apprenticeship scheme originate?
    traditional craftsmanship (master-apprentice relation) to prepare apprentices for the occupation
    school-based VET track by including more work-based learning to supply skilled workforce to match labour market needs
    programmes for the unemployed (active labour market measures) to facilitate integration on the labour market

    In the nineteenth century apprenticeships were associated with traditional trades however, over time they have become more encompassing emerging sectors such as engineering and shipbuilding. Apprenticeships today continue to reflect the emerging sectors in the economy such as retail, business and information technology. The most popular apprenticeship subject in 2010-11 was 'customer service'.‘[1]‘

    Q13 - What are the major sources of financing of the in-company training part of the apprenticeship scheme?
    By companies hosting apprentices
    By employers through sectoral funds
    By the state from the education budget
    By the state from the labour / social security budget
    By EU funding

    Responsibility for public funding of apprenticeships is now shared between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which funds adult apprenticeships, and the Department for Education (DfE), which funds 16-18 year olds. Working together, the two departments determine the overall strategy and the policy context, funding levels and volumes for the apprenticeship programme. This is co-ordinated through the single joint 'Apprenticeships Unit' which spans both departments. All significant decisions affecting the programme as a whole are shared, while the Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning also works across both departments.  In Wales and Northern Ireland funding is given to the devolved nations.


    Currently there are both SASE apprenticeships and trailblazer apprenticeships being run and there are separate funding models for these two schemes.


    There is currently an interim funding model in place for Trailblazer apprenticeships for 2016/17 delivery. Trailblazer apprenticeships are funded by employers and the Government on a one third/ two thirds ratio. For each £1 the employer contributes, the Government contributes £2 – up to a maximum funding cap. Funds will be channelled through the lead provider, who will collect and confirm employer contributions. The lead provider will also receive any incentive payments and transfer them in full to the employer.


    This funding model will remain in place for the 2016/17 delivery year for levy-payers but will remain in place for the foreseeable future for SMEs (employers with a paybill under £3million). The Government has indicated that SMEs are likely to shift to the new funding system by the end of the 2019/2020. There may be some minor changes in readiness for the implementation of the levy in August 2017, but those details are not yet published by the Government.[1]

    Q14 - Are there any financial incentives for companies that offer apprenticeship places?
    Yes, subsidies
    Yes, tax deductions
    Yes, other incentives
    No financial incentives

    In England the Government contributes towards the training an apprentice depending on the apprentices age. A grant of £1,500 is also available to some small employers taking on an apprentice aged 16 to 24. In some situations additional incentives will cover the full training costs. See table below:

    Funding Band

    Recruiting to a 16 - to 18 year old (£)

    For a small business <50 (£)

    For successful completion (£)

    Maximum incentive payments (£)































    Incentives ca be claimed when:

    • When an apprentice is aged 16 – 18 when they start
    • When the employer is an SME

    When an apprentice completes their training, employers will receive a bonus payment.

     From April 2016 no employer will pay secondary Class 1 (employer) national insurance contributions for apprentices under 25 earning up to the Upper Earning Limit. 


    In the devolved nations funding is the responsibility of the Welsh and Northern Irish Government. Largely they follow funding to England, however in Wales funding is only available for 16-24 year olds.

    Q15 - Is the scheme temporary, meaning that it is financed for a limited period of time?

    The long term funding plans are still under consultation however there are some changes in funding planned before 2020. In April 2017 the government plans to introduce an apprenticeship levy to help to generate the £3.5 billion needed to meet government targets for reaching 3 million apprenticeships by 2020.

    Currently employers contract the Skills Funding Agency to receive direct allocations to fund programmes but will use a new Digital Apprenticeship Service (DAS) to draw down funding. This means employers will be able to decide which providers they contract. This is likely to occur in 2017 and it is likely that for SMEs this transition will have 2019/20.

    Q17 - How many learners are enrolled in this scheme in relation to all VET students?
    the main VET track (majority of VET learners - more than 60% of VET learners)
    strong VET track (important share of VET learners - between 30%-60%)
    minor track (small share of learners - between 10% and 30%)
    very small track (less than 10%)
    Apprentices are not considered as learners (they are employees)

    In the UK there were 879,000 starts in 2011 in advanced and intermediate apprenticeships according to the ISCED mapping. In comparison to 630,000 starts for NVQ level 1- 5. This does not include higher level apprenticeships.


    Q18 - How many learners are enrolled in the scheme in relation to all programmes for learners of the same age group?
    the main track (majority of learners - more than 60% of all learners)
    strong track (important share of all learners - between 30%-60%)
    minor track (small share of learners - between 10% and 30%)
    very small track (less than 10%)

    According to the ISCED 2011 mapping 4,614,000 individuals enrolled on courses for those 16 plus and of those 879,000 starts in 2011 in advanced and intermediate apprenticeships.


    The figures, collected from local authorities in England, reveal that in March this year compared to March 2013  more than 15% more 16- and 17-year-olds are in apprenticeships - up from 41,738 last year to 49,228 this year[1]


    Q19 - Does the apprenticeship scheme result in a qualification?
    Q20 - Which is the type of qualification obtained through the apprenticeship scheme?
    Educational qualification
    Occupational / sectoral qualification

    Apprentices can receive qualifications ranging from those equivalent to 5 GCSE passes to those equivalent to a degree. 

    Apprenticeships can be studied at different qualification levels:

    •Intermediate Apprenticeships lead to Level 2 qualifications, equivalent to 5 GCSE passes.

    •Advanced Apprenticeships lead to Level 3 qualifications, equivalent to 2 A-Level passes.

    •Higher and Degree Apprenticeships lead to Level 4 qualifications and above. 


    Complete list of SASE Frameworks in England  


    Q21 - Is the qualification included in the National Qualification Framework (NQF)
    There is no NQF

    Apprenticeships can range from EQF Level 8 to EQF level 3. See England, Wales and Northern Ireland mapped against EQF levels here.

    Q23 - Does the scheme provide direct access to higher education?

    Apprenticeships provide qualifications recognised by higher education and progression to high level apprenticeships or HE.


    Q24. What is the duration of the VET pathway? (please refer to the typical duration)
    1 year

    Minimum duration of 12 months, employed 30 hours.

    Q25 - How is the length of stay in apprenticeships defined in the regulation?
    Is defined as minimum and maximum
    Is defined as minimum
    Is defined as maximum
    Is not defined by regulation

     Minimum duration of 12 months. Some apprentices aged over 19 may complete an apprenticeship in six months, if they demonstrate prior attainment of certain relevant qualifications.  

    Q26 - Is there a distinction between the training and working period for the time spent at workplace, as per regulation?
    Yes, the legal framework makes this distinction
    No, the legal framework makes no distinction
    • Employed 30 hours- Apprentices must be employed for a minimum of 30 hours per week, including time training away from the workplace.
    • 280 hours guided learning: Guided learning is the time spent developing technical skills, knowledge of theoretical concepts and practical skills on the job whilst being guided. Apprentices must spend at least 280 hours in ‘guided learning’ in their first year. 100 hours or 30% (whichever is greater) of all guided learning must be delivered off-the-job. Clear and verifiable evidence must be provided of all learning undertaken.  See above.

    5Alternation of work-based (in-company) training and school-based training

    Q27 - Is in-company training a compulsory part of the scheme, as per regulation?

    Apprentices must be employed for a minimum of 30 hours per week, including time training away from the workplace.

    Q29 - What is the form of alternation of training between workplace (company) and school / training centre?
    Every week includes both venues
    One or more weeks (less than 1 month) spent at VET school followed by one or more weeks at workplace
    One or more months (less than 1 year) spent at VET school followed by one or more months at workplace
    A longer period (1-2 years) spent at VET school followed by a longer period spent training at workplace
    Various - depends on VET school / training centre
    Not specified

    Of the 280 hours of guided learning 100 hours or 30% (whichever is greater) of all guided learning must be delivered off-the-job. Clear and verifiable evidence must be provided of all learning undertaken.[1


    [1] researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7278/CBP-7278.pdf

    6Formal relationship with the employer

    Q30 - Is any contractual arrangement between the learner, company and/or education and training provider, required as per regulation?

    The Apprenticeship Agreement must include a statement of the skill, trade or occupation for which the apprentice is being trained under the qualifying Apprenticeship framework. [1]


    [1] researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7278/CBP-7278.pdf

    Q31 - Which parties enter a contractual relationship?
    Learner and employer
    Learner, employer and the education and training institution
    Education and training institution and the employer (not the learner)
    No contract is required

    An Apprenticeship Agreement is an agreement between an employer and an apprentice under which the apprentice undertakes to work for the employer and is in the form prescribed by s32 of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 (ASCLA)   and states that the agreement is entered into in connection with a qualifying Apprenticeship framework.


    Q32 - What is the nature of the contract?
    Apprenticeships are a specific contract covered by the Labour Code
    Apprenticeships are a form of employment contract
    Formal agreement, not covered by the Labour Code

    Apprenticeship agreements are not a legally binding contract, but without it an apprenticeship completion certificate cannot be issued. However, Apprentices are considered to be covered under employment law.

    Q33 - Where is the contract registered?
    At the education and training institution
    At the employment office
    At the chambers
    At the Ministry of education

    Apprenticeship Agreements are registered by training providers at the start of an apprenticeship with the devolved government so that they are available for auditing purposes. This is done through an online system.

    Q34 - What is the status of the learner?
    Apprentice is a specific status

    The Apprenticeship Agreement is part of the individual employment arrangements between the apprentice and the employer.  The Apprenticeship Agreement must also contain the terms required by the Employment Rights Act. The ASCLA makes it clear that the Apprenticeship Agreement is a contract of service and not a contract of Apprenticeship.  This reflects the fact that an Apprenticeship is primarily a job rather than training.  It also means the apprentice does not have any additional rights over those of other employees.


    Q35 - Do apprentices receive a salary, allowance or compensation?
    Yes, all apprentices receive a salary (taxable income)
    Yes, all apprentices receive an allowance (not a form of taxable income)
    Apprentices receive a reimbursement of expenses
    Compensation is possible but not required
    No form of compensation is foreseen by law

    Apprentices aged 16-18 have been entitled to the apprentice minimum wage of £3.30 an hour 1 October 2015 after the Government reject the Low Pay Commission’s recommendation of an increase to £2.80. Apprentices are paid for both their normal working hours and the time they spend training as part of their apprenticeship. 

    Apprentices aged 19 and over are also entitled to the £3.30 apprentice minimum wage in the first 12 months of their apprenticeship. After the first 12 months of their apprenticeship, people aged 19 and over are entitled to the National Minimum Wage.  National Minimum Wage rates are age dependent and rise from £5.30 an hour for 18 to 20 year olds to £6.70 an hour for people aged 21 and over. 

    As apprentices are employees they are entitled to the same employment rights as other employees. This includes holiday entitlement and maternity leave. 

    Q36 - Who pays the salary / allowance of the apprentice?

    Apprentices are either payed by their employer or through an Apprenticeship Training Agency. (Apprenticeship Training Agencies (ATAs) are organisations directly employing apprentices. The business hosting the apprentice operates as the apprentice’s day-to-day workplace and manager. ATAs coordinate the apprentice’s training and pay associated training costs. The host employer pays a fee based on wage and training costs.)  

    Q37 - Is the company hosting apprentices required to provide training at the workplace?
    Yes, obligation to provide training at the workplace is required in the contract
    Yes, it is required by law
    Yes, required by other regulations
    No, not required formally

    The employer must ensure apprentices[1]:

    • work with experienced staff;
    • learn job-specific skills;
    • study for a work-based qualification during their working week, e.g. at a college or training organisation.

    8Responsibility of employers

    Q38 - What are the requirements on training companies, as per regulation?
    Have to provide a mentor / tutor / trainer
    Have to provide learning environment
    Have to ensure learning support
    Have to develop a training plan

    It is the education and training provider’s responsibility to ensure that quality standards are met. This includes challenging or not engaging with employers who are unwilling or unable to contribute to a high quality apprenticeship. Prime contractors retain full responsibility for ensuring that requirements and obligations for apprenticeship delivery are met by sub-contractors they appoint. Prime contractors remain accountable where quality standards are not met.

    Education and training providers are expected to be able to actively demonstrate that they have met the features described in this statement, as their commitment to meeting the policy intent behind the apprenticeship programme. This guidance should be read in conjunction with the Funding Rules.

    Q39 - Are there any sanctions on companies that do not provide training to apprentices at the workplace?

    If training is not provided then apprentices will not complete their apprenticeship, however there are not sanctions for employers.

    If they do not meet the requirements of employment then this is covered by employment law and so employers could open themselves up to liability.

    Q40 - What is the role of chambers, employers' and employees' representatives (social partners), sectoral councils (if existent), in apprenticeships, as per regulation?
    Roles in designing qualifications/ curricula
    Roles in final assessment of apprentices
    Roles in quality assurance of work-based VET
    Responsible for the regulation of the contract
    No role

    In response to the Richard review suggested that apprenticeships needed to better meet the needs of employers. In response to this the new trailblazer apprenticeships that are currently being rolled out are designed by sectoral councils.