What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a program in which a person completes an education and training course while working. Apprenticeships are funded by the government. The Department for Education pays for the full cost of training an apprentice under the age of 18; the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills pays half the cost of training an apprentice aged 19 to 23. This subsidy decreases as the apprentice ages.


An Apprenticeship in the UK

The government of England has made it easy for employers to start or expand their apprenticeship programmes. The National Apprenticeship Service website offers a toolkit for companies interested in sponsoring an apprentice. A hotline is also available if an employer has questions. Additionally, larger companies are assigned a regional account manager to help them set up their apprenticeship programmes.

Apprentices are required to spend 20% of their paid time in training. This training can take place in an external environment, in the workplace, or through other means. Some employers offer in-house training, while others partner with colleges and training providers. Regardless of the type of training an apprentice receives, it must be at least 20% of the total number of contracted hours.

While apprenticeships are not as common in the United States, England has successfully expanded the number of people enrolled in apprenticeships. The country has also increased the diversity of apprenticeships in terms of gender and occupational backgrounds. Moreover, research has shown that apprenticeships have significant economic benefits.


The total cost of an apprenticeship is an area of negotiation between the Training Provider and Apprentice. This cost usually does not exceed 20% of the funding band. The Training Provider should take into account prior learning in determining the total cost of an apprenticeship. Additional costs such as an End-Point Assessment should be negotiated.

Another variable that can be expensive is the non-completion rate of apprentices. Many individuals drop out of an apprenticeship for personal reasons such as a change of jobs or going back to school. If a high percentage of the program’s students fail to complete their apprenticeship, it creates a sunk cost for the firm. Depending on the circumstances, this number can range from one to ten percent.

Tripartite Reviews

During the course of an apprenticeship, the student is exposed to two elements:

  1. Classroom based training
  2. Work-based learning

Each component complements the other. Tripartite reviews are conducted every ten weeks to assess the student’s overall progress in both areas. The process involves the Apprentice, a University representative, and a Work Based Mentor. The review format differs in each apprenticeship, so it’s important to read the form carefully.

Regular tripartite reviews are essential throughout the apprenticeship, and should take place at least three times a year. In addition to evaluating the apprentice’s progress against the commitment statement, tripartite reviews should identify any problems or areas for improvement. They should be carried out as part of an apprenticeship quality assurance process to ensure that the training programme is achieving its goals.

End Point Assessment

End point assessment of an apprenticeship is an important step in the progression of an apprentice into a professional role. The process may take many forms, but the main objectives are to ensure that the apprentice develops the skills needed to work in the field. End point assessment activities can be divided into two main categories: a practical test and an exam. Some apprenticeships may even require an apprentice to give a presentation to a panel that assesses the skills of the candidate.

This process must be carried out by an independent, impartial organisation. The organisation must be able to provide an independent assessment to ensure the process is fair and positive for both the apprentice and employer. The BCS, an IT standards body, is an example of an approved end-point assessment provider. BCS assessors undergo rigorous training and share the goal of drawing out the best in an apprentice.

If you want to know what is an apprenticeship in Australia, check out our website.


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