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Q. Will employing apprentices help the University in attracting and retaining staff or provide an alternative way to address hard to fill vacancies?

Apprenticeships can help to attract and retain staff by offering comprehensive and tailored training alongside a paid position, enabling apprentices to apply their learning directly in the workplace. With apprenticeships now open to new recruits as well as existing staff, this will enable individuals to develop and increase capability internally, improving morale and loyalty. This will help establish the University as an ‘employer of choice’ – an organisation that invests in developing the skills, qualifications and long term careers of its’ employees.

Apprenticeships can address difficult positions to fill, allowing departments to grow their own expertise in that area. Expanding the apprenticeship provision to include higher/degree-based apprenticeships may help to attract talented applicants. It will also help with developing relationships with local schools and colleges.

Q. What is the impact of apprenticeships for the rest of the department?

We suggest that each apprentice has a ‘mentor’ or ‘buddy’.  A mentor could be a colleague, someone from another department, or an existing apprentice.  Managing and mentoring an apprentice is a great development opportunity for existing staff, especially for people who do not currently have people management responsibilities.  Providing you are able to support the mentor, the responsibility will help them to develop their people development skills.

Q. Does there need to be a genuine job at the end of the apprenticeship?

There must be a genuine job throughout the duration of the apprenticeship and all apprenticeships must last for at least one year.

When the apprenticeship is achieved the apprentice should remain with you, where a job opportunity continues to exist and where the apprentice wishes to remain with you. Where this is not possible, you and the provider must support the apprentice to seek alternative opportunities

Q. How should posts be advertised?

To advertise an apprenticeship:

  • set the apprenticeship up through an approved training provider (ATP), who will advertise the apprenticeship on the government Find an apprenticeship website.  (‘Recruit an Apprentice’ is the official service for posting and managing apprenticeship vacancies in England).  The ATP will also supervise the apprentice’s learning, including their training and assessment.
  • advertise the vacancy on the University vacancies website and all other relevant routes.

Other routes:

  • AV Live (Apprenticeship Vacancies Live) - a government online tool that allows streaming of apprenticeship vacancies on your website.
  • local advertising routes.

Q. What is the benefit of employing an apprentice compared with the cost?

Apprenticeship training programmes are fully funded by the Levy and there is no cost to the department for the training.

Apprentices represent new talent that can help you to achieve your departmental goals by helping reduce skills shortages and offering a way to ‘grow your own’ workforce. Apprentices are cost-effective because they learn while working on the job and the cost of learning is funded by the Apprenticeship Levy. Taking on an apprentice can create opportunities for existing members of your department to develop their management, mentoring and other skills which bring additional benefits.

To create the best conditions for a successful apprenticeship, time will need to be invested in:

  1. setting up the apprenticeship - identifying the relevant training apprenticeship and approved training provider
  2. ensuring the selection process identifies the best candidate for the role and the team
  3. assisting the apprentice settle into the role and their team with the provision of ongoing support

Contact  the Apprenticeship Team if you require advice on the process.

Q. What is off-the-job learning?

All apprenticeship standards must involve at least 20% off-the-job learning.  This 20% off-the-job learning is measured over the course of the apprenticeship and is an essential part of the apprenticeship and therefore must take place during employed time.

The off-the-job learning will be directly relevant to the apprenticeship standard and will teach new knowledge, skills and behaviours that will contribute to the successful achievement of the apprenticeship.

It could include the following:

  • the teaching of theory e.g. lectures, workshops, role playing, simulation exercises, online learning
  • practical training e.g. work shadowing, mentoring, industry visits, attendance at competitions
  • learning support and time spent writing assessments/assignments.

Please see the guide to off-the-job learning for further information.