Apprenticeships FAQs

No. This is in line with the Trust’s safeguarding policy and procedures. Therefore we anticipate the majority of our apprentices will be 18 or over. It is possible, however, that we could employ some 16 year olds as apprentices but these would be restricted to primarily Corporate Services type roles.

No. The Trust is aiming to offset the Apprenticeship Levy by making salary savings in relation to external vacancies.

The range of career progression examples will be extended as apprenticeships in the Trust increase.

The examples below compare the apprenticeship route with alternative routes of progression, up to Band 5 level.

Example 1 – Occupational Therapist Route (this can be interchanged with Physiotherapist, Speech and Language Therapist, Podiatrist and Dietetics).  final flowchart OT

Example 2 – Registered Nurse Route  final flowchart nurse

No. We are recruiting them into a real vacancy but they will be employed on a fixed term basis at first under a formal apprenticeship agreement contract. When the apprenticeship is complete, the role will be advertised as a permanent vacancy giving the apprentice the opportunity to apply.

No. You will stay on the same rate of pay for your substantive band.  

Yes, but only for existing staff. To date the apprenticeships have included Health and Social Care, Business Administration, Customer Service, Team Management and Leadership, Assistant Practitioning, Non-Clinical Healthcare Support (e.g. Housekeeping), IT, Medical Business Administration and Facilities Management.

Yes. The purpose of an apprenticeship is to help individuals develop new skills that suit both their individual needs and those of the organisation. In a change to previous rules, an individual can undertake an apprenticeship at any level (higher, equal or lower) to a qualification they already hold, if it allows them to acquire substantive new skills and the training is materially different. 

No. This will be paid out of the Trust’s central Apprenticeship Levy budget. You may also be able to meet other training needs via this budget if the skills gaps you have can be met through one of the relevant apprenticeship standards.

All new employees, regardless of whether or not they are an apprentice, require an induction and all staff should receive training and development suitable for the job role. Apprentices may still need some additional support, however, if planned right from the outset, you can minimise the impact this has on team resources. Our existing staff undertaking supervisory or leadership apprentices will mentor your apprentice. Learning and Development colleagues will facilitate peer network support and your apprentice will also have considerable support from the training provider (likely to be a further education college) who supervises them.

Yes, provided your current role gives you the opportunity to gain the evidence you need to meet the assessment criteria for your preferred apprenticeship. You would also need the endorsement and support of your line manager.

Yes. Apprenticeship frameworks used previously are being replaced by apprenticeship standards that set out what an apprentice will need to do, and the skills required to carry out their role competently. The key difference is that the new standards have been developed by employer groups known as trailblazers and the standards will help to reform and improve the quality of apprenticeships and provide the skills that employers need. 

All frameworks will be replaced with standards by 2020 with much of this work taking place during 2017/18. If you are interested in an area where a new standard is still in development you can still undertake an apprenticeship under the old framework if necessary.

Apprenticeships bring a number of tangible benefits to NHS organisations. They can create skilled and motivated employees and, if used properly, can help to address skills shortages across the workforce. 

  • Apprenticeships benefit employers - 75 per cent of employers reported that they improved the quality of their services.
  • Apprenticeships benefit the workforce – 92 per cent of those who completed an apprenticeship said their career prospects had improved as a result.
  • Apprenticeships make good business sense - research has shown that apprenticeship programmes deliver a high level of return on investment. 

 (Figures taken from the Government’s 2015 apprenticeship evaluation surveys).

Click on the link to watch a short interview with one of the Trust’s line managers about this

Please contact Val Stevenson (Apprenticeships Project Manager) on 01925 664419 or Liz Mercer (Vocational and Essential Skills Coordinator) on 07733 308086. They can:

  • Attend team meetings to update you on the changes to apprenticeships.
  • Help to identify an appropriate apprenticeship framework or standard for existing staff or new starters.
  • Help to identify an appropriate training provider and assessment.
  • Give assistance in the recruitment of new apprentices.

An apprenticeship must be a genuine job which incorporates skills development, technical knowledge and practical experience, through a work-based training programme. Key features of an apprenticeship are that:

  • It is available to anyone over the age of 16 and there is no upper age limit.
  • It enables learners to demonstrate their competence whilst gaining a recognised qualification and earning a wage. 
  • It can take from a minimum of 12 months to a maximum of 4 years to complete, dependent of the level of the apprenticeship which ranges from Level 2 (5 A-C grade GCSE equivalent) to Level 7 (master’s degree equivalent).
  • The apprentice must spend at least 20 per cent of their time on off-the-job training. 
  • It is a work based learning route to achieve a recognised qualification, it is not a qualification in itself. For example, a nursing degree will be the same qualification whether gained via higher education, or through an apprenticeship.

The apprenticeship levy goes live on 1 May 2017 and is charged at 0.5% of the total pay bill, which for the Trust is £501k. The levy can only be used to support the training and assessment of apprentices and not their salaries.

In addition, there is a government target to deliver 2.3% apprenticeships per year, based on the headcount of an organisation. For the Trust this target is a minimum of 80 apprenticeships (including new and existing staff) but we hope to exceed that.

For new staff the Trust will consider which vacancies in bands 2 to 4 will be advertised as apprenticeship roles. Initially the focus will be on Health and Social Care and Business Administration apprenticeships. New staff will join the Trust on an apprenticeship contract and be paid at the national minimum wage for apprentices. They will be able to apply for a permanent opportunity with the Trust on successful completion of the apprenticeship. We are hoping to recruit a minimum of 60 new apprentices externally this year across the Trust.

Hundreds of apprenticeship standards have been published for a range of employment sectors. Roles that are relevant to and support the health sector, include healthcare science assistants, healthcare support workers, assistant practitioners and management and leadership roles.

Some new apprenticeship standards are still being developed, e.g. nursing degree apprenticeship which should be ready later this year. Work is now complete on the development of an apprenticeship standard for a new nursing associate role.

No. The majority of apprenticeship training takes place in the workplace, with some sessions delivered by a college or learning provider. Depending on the type of role this could just be one day per week or a block release. This can be planned to take account of the needs of the organisation.

For existing staff the Trust will continue to offer apprenticeships. However, there will be a much greater focus initially on supervisory and leadership apprenticeships in recognition of developing those with the potential to be our managers and leaders of the future. We will widen this focus as other new apprenticeship standards become available which will help the Trust meet future skill gaps in its workforce. We will use an expression of interest process, supported by the new Maximising Potential Conversations Framework and PDR’s to identify those internal staff who may be eligible. More information about this will be communicated in early April.

Yes. The Trust will continue to offer apprenticeships for existing staff but will be recruiting new staff into specific apprenticeship roles too.