What are apprenticeships?

An apprenticeship is a job with training to industry standards.  Apprenticeships must include a programme of on and off-the-job training and, at the end of the apprenticeship, an independent end-point assessment designed to test occupational competence.

Apprenticeships are employer-led and designed by employers to meet their skills needs.  Employers design and set the standards to ensure that they cover the full occupational profile and the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to do the job whether this is as a Prison Officer, a Firefighter or a Customer Service Practioner.

Employers are responsible for employing an apprentice and delivering the on-the-job training.  The off-the-job training can be delivered by the employer, a training provider or a mixture of both but organisations delivering training must be on the government approved Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers.  At least 20% of the training provided must be delivered off-the-job.  This training is essential to develop the knowledge and skills required but is also used to teach transferable skills, ensuring that the apprentice will be able to deal with new situations and different employers once they have achieved their apprenticeship.  The off-the-job training can be delivered either at the employer’s workplace or off-site e.g. in a classroom or from home via distance learning, as part of a blended learning approach.

After at least 12 months, and when the employer and training provider are confident that the apprentice is competent, the apprentice will have an end-point assessment (EPA). The EPA is carried out by an independent organisation that is registered and therefore eligible to conduct to EPA.  Satisfactory achievement of EPA confirms that the apprentice is deemed occupationally competent.

Benefits – for employers

Create a skilled and competent workforce as part of your workforce development plan, meeting demand and plugging skills gaps.

Providing a structured training programme that directly relates to a nationally agreed standard recognised by the industry.

Part of a continued professional development plan for staff moving into a new role in the organisation – grow your own.

Benefits – for apprentices

Be employed and get qualified at the same time through a structured learning programme that relates directly to your job role – a job with training

Achieve formal recognition of your learning and the achievement of a nationally recognised standard.

No student loan required!


For more information about apprenticeships visit:


Find out more about End-point assessment.