If you’re an employer considering hiring an apprentice, you will need to choose and work with an apprenticeship training provider to deliver the apprenticeship itself.
There are hundreds of apprenticeship training providers across the UK, some operating nationally, some locally, and there can be differences between how they operate and how the training and assessment of your apprentice is managed from a practical point of view.
At least 20% of an apprentice’s time across their specific apprenticeship programme must be spent on training that meets the necessary standards and frameworks in order for them to successfully complete their apprenticeship and gain the relevant qualification.
This is a significant amount of time so it’s important that employers understand the role of the training provider and how they can work together to ensure that both the apprentice and the business gain maximum benefit from an apprenticeship.
Who pays for apprenticeship training providers?
The costs of the training and assessment for an apprenticeship can be funded in a few different ways, depending on whether or not the employer pays the apprenticeship levy or not.
For large employers that do pay the apprenticeship levy, these funds have been set aside and can be used to pay the costs of the apprenticeship training provider.
For smaller employers that do not pay the levy, they are usually expected to pay for 5% of the training and assessment costs, with the government contributing the other 95%.
However, some small employers may be able to benefit from a levy transfer, which is where a large employer does not use all of the levy funds set aside for apprenticeships themselves, and can transfer a portion of this to a smaller business or organisation instead for them to use on one or more apprenticeships.
Funds to pay training and assessment costs from the levy, a levy transfer or the government will always be paid directly to the training provider.
Find out more about available apprenticeship funding here.
At what stage does the apprenticeship training provider get involved with the employer?
It’s usually the case that an apprentice training provider will be chosen by an employer shortly after they decide to offer an apprenticeship.
This means that the training provider can offer the most useful support and input to the employer from an early stage and ensure everything is planned and agreed upon well in advance of the apprenticeship starting. This input from apprenticeship training providers can include:
- Discussing the employer’s requirements to ensure the most suitable apprenticeship standard is chosen, at the most appropriate level, for the organisation’s needs.
- Developing a training strategy that will most benefit both the apprentice and the employer
- Assisting with recruiting the right apprentice for the role and the wider business
- Helping to prepare the apprentice for the workplace before the apprenticeship begins
- Delivering a high standard of off-the-job training to the apprentice and offering feedback to the apprentice and employer throughout the entire programme
- Supporting the apprentice and employer at any time during the apprenticeship if issues arise or adjustments are needed
Where and when is apprenticeship training delivered to apprentices?
This is something that can vary from training provider to training provider.
Sometimes training can be done at a local college or another education facility, sometimes it can be provided online remotely (such as during some parts of the COVID-19 pandemic), at the workplace itself (more common for larger employers with several apprenticeships running concurrently) or some providers have purpose-built facilities of their own to deliver the training – similar to HomeServe’s heating and plumbing training academy in Nottingham.
In terms of when the training takes place, this can again vary. Your training provider should discuss the training plan and schedule with you before the apprenticeship starts to ensure that it fits with business needs and is realistically achievable for the apprentice. For some apprenticeships, this could literally be a day per week when the apprentice receives off-the-job training but is most commonly in several blocks spaced throughout the duration of the programme.
Whilst a minimum of 20% of the apprentice’s time must be spent on this across the apprenticeship, when and where it is will be decided between you and the training provider.
How do apprenticeship assessments work?
The progress of apprentices is monitored throughout the apprenticeship programme, with a combination of the employer and training provider ensuring that feedback is provided to the apprentice and other parties as required.
A formal end-point assessment (EPA) has to be carried out towards the end of the programme in order for the apprenticeship to be successfully completed.
The EPA is designed to be an effective way to assess the apprentice’s knowledge, skills and behaviours impartially and objectively to ensure that they have achieved the level required by their apprenticeship standard and can therefore gain the qualification and move forwards onto the next stage of their career.
The EPA is carried out by a separate party to the employer and training provider to ensure that it’s an independent and impartial assessment. The training provider can help employers to choose an appropriate end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) to carry this out.
The assessment itself will vary, depending on the apprenticeship standard involved, but the purpose of it is to check that the apprenticeship has all of the functional skills needed, along with any other requirements of the standard.
This can include reviewing any projects or portfolios that the apprentice has worked on, practical observations of the apprentice, and situational judgement tests. There will usually be several assessment elements that take place over a period of time in the final stage of the apprenticeship (usually over several weeks) and are led by the independent assessor that is appointed by the EPAO.
The apprenticeship training provider is not usually involved in the EPAO itself but will usually contribute their own feedback to the apprentice and employer throughout the entire apprenticeship programme and help prepare the apprentice for the EPAO, so they know what to expect and what’s required for them to successfully navigate the assessments.
How should employers choose an apprenticeship training provider?
With the right training provider, both the employer and the apprentice get the most possible from the programme and it can be a very positive experience for all involved. Things to look for in a good apprenticeship training partner include:
- A proven track record of successful apprenticeships of the same type and level as yours
- A good reputation amongst employers who have previously run apprenticeships in partnership with this training provider
- The training partner’s accreditations and awards
- How well the training provider communicates with you and the quality of the materials they show you about how they work
- The value for money that they offer with their services
If you have any questions about hiring an apprentice or apprenticeship training providers, our team would be happy to help. Get in touch today.