Apprenticeships

A new online system to certificate apprentices across England will be officially launched on 26 January 2012. This new system, known as Apprenticeship Certificates England (ACE), has been created using a similar system developed and run successfully by the Alliance in Scotland called MA Online.

All English Apprenticeships must now be registered against the new 2011 SASE compliant frameworks which are approved and made available by the nominated Issuing Authority (in most cases this is the Sector Skills Council for that occupational area). Centres can choose to transfer current studying learners to the new revised framework or keep them on the existing framework. We have developed a range of SASE compliant Apprenticeships that sit within a number sector frameworks.

SASE stands for Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England. The SASE document sets out the minimum requirement to be included in a recognised English Apprenticeship framework. Compliance with the SASE will also be a statutory requirement of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning (ASCL) Act. For Welsh Apprenticeships, the standards are written against SASW (Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for Wales). All our Apprenticeships meet the minimum requirements of both SASE and SASW.

Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) will publish new or updated frameworks via apprenticeship frameworks online. This is an electronic web based system for storing all apprenticeship frameworks found here.

No, new learners must be registered against the most recent framework.

The new Apprenticeship Frameworks will contain a Competence Based Qualification, a Knowledge Based Qualification and Key or Functional Skills. Some Apprenticeships may also contain additional qualifications relevant to or required by the sector such as Employment Rights and Responsibilities (ERR).

The Alliance of Sector Skills Councils will issue the Apprenticeship certificate once the Apprenticeship is complete. From 19 January 2012, a new certification service will be run by the Alliance and will be known as Apprenticeship Certificates England (ACE). Apprentices or learning providers or employers who act on their behalf, will be able to request Apprenticeship certificates using the ACE online system. Apprentices will receive a new certificate approved by the Minister of State for further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning. We will issue certificates for the Competence Qualification, the Knowledge Qualification, the Key/ Functional Skills and any other of our qualifications that sit within an Apprenticeship. Apprentices or those acting on their behalf will need to receive these qualifications before the Apprentice certificate can be requested.

An Intermediate Apprenticeship is made up of Level 2 Competence and Knowledge Qualifications and Level 1 / 2 Key or Functional Skills. An Advanced Apprenticeship is made up of Level 3 competence and Knowledge Qualifications and Level 1 / 2 Key or Functional Skills. The latest version of the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE) document now refers to Level 2 Apprenticeships as Intermediate Apprenticeships.

Yes except for Key Skill and Functional Skills. These two can be at Level 1 or Level 2 depending on the SSC specification.

The Sector Skills Councils design the Apprenticeship Frameworks for their sector and issue the overall Apprenticeship certificate. They choose what does and doesn’t go into the Apprenticeship frameworks. Awarding bodies design the qualifications to fit in to those frameworks. Certificates for the completion of the full Apprenticeship are also issued by the relevant Sector Skills Council (SSC).

SSC’s review their specific framework on a regular basis. They remove any qualifications which have expired and add any new accredited qualifications. This ensures that any framework is current and up to date. You then choose to transfer current studying learners to the new revised framework or keep them on the existing framework. Any new students will go on to the new framework. Any new learners need to be registered against most of the current version of a framework. Existing learners may continue on the old version or may be transferred on to the new framework.

A Higher Apprenticeship is made up of either Level 4 competence and knowledge qualifications or a Foundation Degree. It may also contain Level 1 / 2 Key or Functional Skills.

The qualifications within each Apprenticeship will be externally moderated.

The average amount of time it takes to complete a Level 2 Framework is usually between 9-12 months and for a Level 3 it's usually between 12-18 months. This wholly depends on the type of sector and how big the framework is ie number and size of qualifications within it. The government are currently considering a minimum timescale of 12 months for a Level 2 Apprenticeship. We'll update this section when this is officially changed.

According to the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England all Apprenticeship Frameworks regardless of level must specify the minimum requirement for GLH. This must be a minimum of 280 GLH of which at least 100 GLH or 30% (whichever is the greater) must be delivered off-the-job and clearly evidenced. The remaining GLH must be delivered on-the-job and clearly evidenced. Each individual framework may also specify minimum levels of GLH for certain activities eg assessment feedback, review of progress, coaching time etc. Please refer to the on and off the job guided learning section of the individual Apprenticeship Framework document for your chosen sector.

Yes these types of Apprenticeships can only be offered to students where they can be placed in employment. Large companies can offer their own Apprenticeship programmes.

Anyone who wants to become an Apprentice must apply to the organisation that’s offering it and follow their recruitment process. The Apprenticeship may be run by an employer or a training provider on behalf of an employer. Adverts for Apprentices may be found in local papers, Job Centres, Connexions Offices or via the National Apprenticeships Service - Apprenticeships vacancies website. In most cases a formal interview will take place, which may include a practical activity and the employer/provider will then choose the most suitable applicant(s) for the Apprenticeship programme they’re running.

‘Access to Apprenticeships’ is an initiative that was announced by the Government in May 2011. It’s designed for those people not in education or employment but who do have the right attitude to be an apprentice. Aged 16-25, those eligible typically require experience in the workplace before officially starting their Apprenticeship.

The requirement for Key Skills to be part of Apprenticeships has been extended until September 2012. This means that an Apprenticeship framework may specify functional skills only or Functional Skills and Key Skills. In both scenarios, Functional and Key Skills will be in English/Communication, Maths/Application of Number and ICT at Level 1 or 2. Employers are not as keen on having to provide day release for Functional Skill exams when they were previously not required for Key Skills.

The requirement for Key Skills to be part of Apprenticeships has been extended until September 2012. This means that an Apprenticeship framework may specify functional skills only or Functional Skills and Key Skills. In both scenarios, Functional and Key Skills will be in English/Communication, Maths/Application of Number and ICT at Level 1 or 2. Employers are not as keen on having to provide day release for Functional Skill exams when they were previously not required for Key Skills.

No, PLTS are an outcome from studying the Apprenticeship but this could change in the future.

Among other factors, funding varies by the age band that the Apprentice falls into. The 4 age bands are 14-16, 16-18, 19-24, 25+. Always speak to the local SFA office when assessing funding as exact funding rates and formula vary widely across the British Isles and will depend on regional priorities.

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