Thinking about hiring an Apprentice? You’ve come to the perfect place! As an End-Point Assessment Organisation, we’re passionate about apprenticeships and the amazing benefits they bring to businesses across the UK. We think that all companies should hire Apprentices, and we’re not afraid to shout about it!

So, if you’re an Employer interested in hiring an Apprentice, we’re here to help! We know that there are a few rules and regulations you need to get your head around, but we’re dedicated to guiding you through the process. Below, we’ve compiled all the information that you’ll need, from start to finish, in order to hire an Apprentice and take your business to the next level.

Enjoy!

1. Why You Should Hire an Apprentice?

a slab of concrete asking why

Hiring an Apprentice can benefit your business in so many ways. Apprenticeships are designed to train individuals with little or no experience to become fully competent workers who have all of the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours needed to excel in their occupation.

Here are just a few things your business will benefit from by hiring an Apprentice:

  • An increase in productivity – according to research by the National Apprenticeship Service, a whopping 76% of Employers said that productivity in their workplace had improved because of implementing apprenticeship programmes. 75% of Employers also reported that hiring an Apprentice improved the quality of their product or service!
  • A decrease in staff turnover – investing major time and energy into training your Apprentice helps secure their loyalty to your company and decrease your staff turnover. In fact, Whitbread, the UK’s largest hotel, restaurant and coffee shop operator, found that turnover rates for entry-level, back-office roles were reduced by 15% on the apprenticeship level. Additionally, nearly three-quarters of their Apprentices stayed with the company for more than 12 months, whereas only a quarter of other employees did.
  • You contribute to your community – hiring an Apprentice helps combat youth unemployment in your area while also raising your company’s profile! According to a 2015 report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, five million consumers were more likely to buy from an Apprentice Employer, and one in four consumers would even pay more for goods and services from companies that employed Apprentices.

Convinced yet?

2. Take the Plunge and Pick Your Standard

a man taking a plunge into the sea of apprenticeships

The first step to hiring an Apprentice is to identify a role within your company which you would be happy to offer an Apprentice. After that, you can pick an Apprenticeship Standard at a suitable level that matches the job role that you’d like to offer. Before you go ahead, you must ensure that you can offer your Apprentice a role which has 30 paid hours a week or more throughout their entire programme. Your Apprentice’s hours will also include any Off-the-Job Training that they must undertake.

There are a huge variety of Apprenticeship Standards available across many sectors that could benefit you and your business. As an End-Point Assessment Organisation, we offer End-Point Assessment for standards across these sectors:

Childcare and Education

Business

Hair and Beauty

Hospitality

Healthcare

HR

Retail

Management

Sales, Marketing and Procurement

3. Check the Funding You’re Eligible For

money for hiring an apprentice

Before hiring an Apprentice, you should check the government funding that you’re eligible for. If you’d like more information about government funding, then you can check out our article Apprenticeship Funding Rules: Your Ultimate Guide which Employers, Employer-Providers and Training Providers can use to navigate the funding rules. Here’s a short summary below:

The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in 2017 in order to encourage large Employers in the UK to get more involved in the funding and execution of apprenticeships. The Apprenticeship Levy is a tax on businesses with a pay bill of over £3 million. 0.5% of their annual pay bill is collected by the government and reserved to be used as funds for apprenticeship programmes. Funds from the Apprenticeship Levy not used by Employers are reallocated to other apprenticeship programmes.

Do you pay the Apprenticeship Levy?

If you’re hiring an Apprentice and already pay the Apprenticeship Levy, then you can collect your Levy money through setting up an account on the apprenticeship service. This service will allow you to manage your funding and pay Training Providers and End-Point Assessment Organisations for their services as well. You’ll have monthly instalments sent to your apprenticeship service account, and you’ll also receive a 10% top-up from the government.

What are funding bands?

All Employers will receive funding according to the funding band allocated to their Apprenticeship Standard. Funding bands refer to the maximum amount of money the government has allocated to fund each Apprenticeship Standard and ranges from £1,500 to £27,000. Funding bands are numbered from 1-30, with one band allocated to each Apprenticeship Standard. If you pay the Apprenticeship Levy and the costs of your apprenticeship go over the funding band maximum, then you’ll need to pay the difference with other funds from your own budget.

Are you exempt from the Apprenticeship Levy?

Employers who do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy will have to pay a co-investment rate of 5%. This means that the government will pay 95% of the costs of the apprenticeship up to the funding band maximum, and you’ll have to pay the remaining 5% of the costs. However, if the costs of the apprenticeship exceed the funding band maximum, then you’ll need to pay the difference.

4. Does Your Apprentice Tick All The Boxes?

Before hiring an Apprentice, you must check that they meet the following checklist. Your Apprentice must be:

  • 16 years old or older;
  • Out of full-time education;
  • Live in England or the country where your company is based;
  • Have the right to work in England or the country where the company is based;
  • Spend at least 50% of their working hours in England or the country where your company is based.

If you’re an Employer based in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, it may be worth contacting your local apprenticeship authority to find out more details:

5. Find Your Perfect Training Provider

two women talking about apprenticeships

Next, you should find a Training Provider for your Apprentice that offers training for your selected Apprenticeship Standard. The Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers is a great place to start looking, as it contains an extensive list of Training Providers who are eligible to train Apprentices.

If you’re based in England, you can also use the find apprenticeship training tool from gov.uk. Simply click on the link and search for an Apprenticeship Standard by job role or keyword. When you click on your chosen standard you can then start finding a Training Provider. If you already know the name of a Provider which you might be interested in using, then you can also find a Training Provider directly by name.

6. Spread the Message and Advertise Your Apprenticeship

woman hiring an apprentice

After you’ve chosen your Training Provider, you’ll need to advertise your apprenticeship vacancy and wait for those applications to roll in! Conveniently, you won’t have to do this yourself, as your Training Provider will do this for you through the find an apprenticeship service.

Top Tip: If you’re writing the job description for your Apprentice, include the same details that you would if advertising for a normal job role. Outline the desired qualities that you’d like in a candidate, include a job title, and describe the main duties that your Apprentice will be undertaking along with the purpose of their role.

7. Interview Your Batch of Candidates

Interview your Apprentice candidates as you would any other candidate. Make sure you prepare a list of questions you can use to fairly assess their personality and competence that allows them to show the very best of themselves. If you already have a bank of questions that you use for the role that you’re advertising, you can also use those in your interviews.

Top Tip: Apprentices don’t need to have any former work experience to apply for or enrol in an apprenticeship, so they may not have any. By putting more value on their character than their CV, you’ll have a better chance of finding the right candidate.

8. Pick Your Winner and Sign those Contracts

your new apprentice

After you’ve picked the right candidate, you’ll need to sign an apprenticeship agreement with them. Your apprenticeship agreement will describe what you agree to do for your Apprentice, and will outline things like:

  • How long you’ll employ them for;
  • The type of training that you’ll give them;
  • Their working conditions;
  • The qualifications that they’re working towards.

You can write your own apprenticeship agreement, but the UK government also provides an apprenticeship agreement template that you can fill out instead.

You’ll also have to sign a commitment statement with your Apprentice and your Training Provider. Your commitment statement must include:

  • The planned content of the apprenticeship programme and the schedule for training;
  • What is expected and offered by you, the Employer, the Training Provider and the Apprentice;
  • How to resolve queries or complaints.

9. Check How Much You Should Pay Your Apprentice

The minimum that you can pay your Apprentice is the National Minimum Wage, which is currently £3.90/hour. This rate applies to Apprentices who are under 19 and those who are over 19 in the first year of their apprenticeship.

If your Apprentice is over the age of 19 and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship, then you’ll need to pay them the minimum wage rate for their age. So, for example, if your Apprentice is 20 and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship, then you’ll need to pay them the minimum hourly rate for their age group. You can check the minimum wage rates here.

You must pay your Apprentices for their normal working hours, which includes training that is part of their apprenticeship, such as Off-the-Job Training. Apprentices are also entitled to the other benefits and pay that employees at your company receive who are at a similar level. This could include paid holidays and sick pay.

10. Pick Your End-Point Assessment Organisation

employer looking for an epao

End-Point Assessment is the final test for Apprentices during their apprenticeship. This final test includes a mix of assessment activities that Apprentices must complete in order to pass their apprenticeship.

As an Employer, you’ll need to choose the End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) that will deliver your Apprentice’s End-Point Assessment. You can find an EPAO from the Register of End-Point Assessment Organisations.

We offer End-Point Assessment for a range of Apprenticeship Standards across multiple sectors. If you’re interested in using our services then you can fill in our contact form or alternatively give us a ring at (+44) 03333 583344. We’d be happy to help!

11. Support Your Apprentice throughout their Programme

employer supporting an apprentice

There are many things that you can do to support your Apprentice as they begin to work for you. Some tips include:

  • Providing them with a great induction to their role and making their introduction period as thorough as possible;
  • Helping them feel comfortable in their surroundings and remaining approachable and open throughout their programme in case they have any questions or concerns;
  • Offering support and training opportunities in order to show them that you’re dedicated to helping them with their personal and professional development.

You can read our Supporting Your Apprentice page for more advice!

End-Point Assessment Support

If your Apprentice is nervous about their End-Point Assessment, then don’t worry! We’ve got some articles that can help them ease their nerves, including How to Prepare for EPA and 5 Cool Ways to Get Into a Good EPA Mindset. We also offer a whole hive of resources that our Apprentices can use to learn more about their apprenticeship and what their End-Point Assessment will entail!

Additional Links

Here are some additional pages that you may find useful:

What is End-Point Assessment?

Off-the-Job Training

Apprenticeship Funding Rules: Your Ultimate Guide

Funding Bands

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And there you have it! We hope this guide helps all interested Employers with hiring an Apprentice and taking their business to the next level!

If you’re interested in using us as your End-Point Assessment Organisation, then you can go to our End-Point Assessment Sectors page.

To keep up to date with all things End-Point Assessment, return to our blog or follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

See you around The Hive!

 

 

On March 20 2019, TQUK EPA passed two Hair Professional apprentices at The Link Academy with Distinctions!

Benjamin Ward and James Garner were the first apprentices assessed by TQUK at The Link Academy, an independent work-based learning provider specialising in barbering. The Huddersfield-based organisation has provided bespoke training to their learners since 2011, and began offering apprenticeships on the new Apprenticeship Standards in 2016.

Getting a Distinction in the Hair Professional Apprenticeship is incredibly difficult, so we were absolutely delighted to see that both Benjamin and James cut their way to success in their End-Point Assessments. We have no doubt that this success is the first of many for both of them!

Both Hair Professional apprentices at The Link Academy undertook a rigorous End-Point Assessment that included a Practical Assessment and an Oral Questioning. The assessment tested their skills in a practical context, allowing them to demonstrate all the barbering techniques in their arsenal while providing explanations and justifications of all of their actions.

During the EPA, both Benjamin and James undertook consultations with customers; demonstrated their ability to shampoo, condition and treat hair; used various cutting techniques to create a variety of looks; trimmed facial hair into shape; and provided shaving services for their customers.

Now that they have their apprentice certificates in hand, let’s see what everyone had to say about their achievements!

Their End-Point Assessor, Julie Wernham, was blown away by the performance of both apprentices:

“Benjamin and James were down to earth, customer focused and adopted a professional approach. Their work was creative, showing their passion and was personalised with attention to detail. This was supported by their sound knowledge and expertise, which reflected the high standard of training they have received. 

“I was made to feel welcome by The Link Academy and supported by TQUK during the process of End-Point Assessment for the Hair Professional Standards. 

“It was a privilege to be part of their journey and of the industry’s future generation of barbers.”

Both James and Benjamin faced their EPA head-on after undergoing a challenging and rewarding apprenticeship:

Here’s what James had to say about the apprenticeship and his EPA:

“During my apprenticeship at The Link Academy I have not only improved my haircuts and shaving, but I have also become a much more professional barber. Having the opportunity to work on real clients from day one made me realise what it is like to work in a barbershop from the beginning. It also allowed me to build my people, customer service and communication skills.

“The Link Academy not only teach you barbering and hairdressing, but they also teach you people skills and how to deal with different situations in the salon. I have thoroughly enjoyed my apprenticeship here working with top barbers and stylists and also top people.

“Since receiving my Distinction for my End-Point Assessment, it has been really nice to have my success being celebrated by my colleagues and training academy. What I found most challenging was trying to arrange the correct clients that met the correct criteria. I also found it very nerve-wracking having the assessor watching over me. However, I feel that this brought out the best out in me.

“The Link Academy did a brilliant job in supporting me from start to finish on my course and I am very grateful for all of their help and the hard work they put into me. I am also very grateful for all of the opportunities that have come towards me recently.

“My End-Point Assessor was really calm which helped me to calm down as well. Julie really put me at ease which made me feel like it was just a normal day with my usual clients.”

Amanda Lodge Stuart, Director at The Link Academy, was delighted by the results of their Hair Professional apprentices:

“James and Ben have both worked exceptionally well throughout the term of their apprenticeships. They have continually improved their knowledge, skills and behaviours and listened carefully to all developmental feedback from their Trainer, Ben Lodge, to achieve the Distinction grade that they have been awarded. They have both committed to practice continually on the salon floor and have gone through several mock assessments before agreeing that they were ready for EPA.

“We are really excited and proud to be awarded Distinctions on our very first experience of going through an EPA. This has been a totally different experience from working towards a framework apprenticeship. Here at The Link Academy, we feel the Standard has much more value and is a realistic expectation of what an apprentice should look like once they qualify. 

“TQUK has supported us fully throughout the process. They have been very easy to get hold of and ask questions. The Gateway process was clear and easy to follow and we felt fully informed throughout. The End-Point Assessor was very approachable and friendly and she most certainly put both James and Ben at ease.”

Kelle McQuade, our Head of EPAO, wanted to give her own congratulations to Ben and James:

“Congratulations you two! You should be incredibly proud of yourselves. Achieving a Distinction is no easy feat, and you both dazzled your End-Point Assessor with your fantastic skills and expert knowledge. I’m sure that your End-Point Assessment has prepared you for any hairy situations you may encounter in the future and I hope you’re excited for the long and successful careers ahead of you!

“We pride ourselves on the support we give to all of our centres, and we’re very happy that The Link Academy has been pleased with our services. We agree wholeheartedly that standards are a much better way of ensuring apprentices are fully competent in their roles compared to the old frameworks and are glad that The Link Academy agrees! We look forward to a long and fantastic partnership with more Distinctions down the line!”

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To keep up to date with the latest EPA news, return to our blog, or follow us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and Instagram.

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If you’re interested in enrolling in an apprenticeship, then you’ve come to the perfect place. To give you that final push towards applying for an opening, here are five awesome reasons to become an apprentice!

1. Earn While You Learn

The cost of post-16 education can be a massive stumbling block for many people.

English universities can charge up to £9,000 per year for an undergraduate degree for local students, which totals £27,000 for a typical three year undergraduate degree. Many students must borrow more than this from the government to cover other living costs, so at the end of their degree they may graduate with around £35,000 of debt.

Compared to university, not only is it free for apprentices to enroll in an apprenticeship, but you also earn an income while you work! Additionally, you must be paid for both your normal working hours and any apprenticeship training you undertake at your training provider throughout the week.

2. Incredible Range of Choice

There is a huge variety of apprenticeships offered by businesses of all sorts! You can now become an apprentice in sectors like agriculture, beauty, business and IT, engineering and so much more. So, regardless of what career you’re interested in, there will be an apprenticeship out there that’s perfect for you!

To start exploring, why not check out the range of apprenticeship standards we provide End-Point Assessment for?

3. Practical Work Experience

In an apprenticeship, most of your learning is done on the job. So, if you prefer to learn practically, then the style of training provided in an apprenticeship is perfect for you! Additionally, because you’ll be working in real work environments, you’ll learn loads of skills specific to your job and industry. This valuable work experience will put you a step above fresh graduates from university, as they often struggle to find work because of their lack of experience.

4. Great Option for School Leavers

The 2018 GCSE and A Level results were recently released and for 16-18 year olds leaving school, an apprenticeship is a great option to consider. Apprenticeships are designed to take individuals who have no experience in a role and fully train with the necessary skills and experience needed to excel in their job. This is perfect for school leavers who have little experience or training in their desired career, as they will gain all of this in their programme.

You also have a great chance of securing a job with your employer after your apprenticeship! 90% of apprentices stay in employment after their apprenticeship, with 71% of those staying with their apprentice employer after the end of their programme. In this tough job economy, apprenticeships are a great option to start off your career!

5. But Anyone Can Become An Apprentice!

Apprenticeships are a popular option for young people, but don’t be fooled! There is no age limit for an apprenticeship—anyone over the age of 16 not in full-time education can enroll. So, for those who are interested in changing their careers, or who’d like to move into a job that requires a different skill set, an apprenticeship is the perfect opportunity for a brand new start.

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If you’d like to see where an apprenticeship can take you, check out our blog on 5 Celebrities Who Started Out As Apprentices.

To keep up to date with the latest news from TQUK EPA, return to our blog or follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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Hiring an apprentice brings a large range of benefits to your business while helping out the hundreds of thousands of people around the UK who are looking for work. Apprenticeships are designed to train individuals with little or no experience in a role into workers who have all the skills needed to excel in their job. As an employer, the time you spend investing in your apprentices will help them become excellent employees dedicated to improving your business.

Here are five fantastic reasons why you should hire an apprentice:

1. You Increase Your Productivity

Hiring an apprentice is a fantastic way for your business to grow its talent and develop a motivated and highly skilled workforce. Because apprentices earn while they learn, they’ll be trained in the latest industry knowledge while developing vital skills that’ll benefit your business, all the while receiving a wage.

An apprentice can also increase your company’s productivity! According to research conducted by the National Apprenticeship Service, employers who had an established apprenticeship programme reported that productivity in their workplace had improved by 76%, while 75% reported that hiring apprentices improved the quality of their product or service.

2. You Decrease Staff Turnover

Hiring an apprentice means training and nurturing them throughout their entire programme. Investing time and energy in apprentices like this can really secure their loyalty to your company and help decrease your staff turnover.

For example, Whitbread, the UK’s largest hotel, restaurant and coffee shop operator, focused on improving staff retention in their apprenticeship programme, as it was a business challenge for the organisation. Their findings were great: for entry level, back-office roles, turnover rates were 55%, while on the apprenticeship level this was reduced to 40%. Furthermore, when calculating retention rates, nearly three-quarters of their apprentices stayed with the company for more than 12 months, whereas only a quarter of non-apprentices did.

As a result of these numerous apprenticeship benefits, the company has set an ambitious target to recruit 1,500 more apprentices into the business over the next two years.

3. You Benefit From Fresh Thinking

Apprentices can bring new ideas into your organisation and develop many more as they gain experience in their role.

CBI Magazine asked a variety of businesses why they hired apprentices. Tricia Vincent, Training and Competency Manager at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, said that “Inquisitive and curious minds enable us as a business to progress, develop and innovate. Our apprentices complete some quite complex projects that push not only their newly acquired engineering skills, but also encourage their ability to problem solve. We empower them to make suggestions on improvements and present their ideas.”

At the Manchester Airport, Press Office Manager Seb Thompson also talked about the benefits he received from having a social media apprentice: “It has made a real difference and brought a new perspective that you don’t get through the normal recruitment process. They are totally immersed in the digital world. And as they learn and develop with their qualification we have seen them bring in a wealth of innovative ideas and trends so the whole team actually ends up learning something new.”

4. You Contribute To Your Community

Hiring apprentices ensures that your business gives back to the local community by helping combat youth unemployment in your area. By doing this, you’ll help create a skilled workforce that’ll drive your company forward and enhance your organisation’s image in the process.

According to research conducted by the Centre for Business and Economics Research in 2015, offering apprenticeships was perceived by two-thirds of the public as contributing to society and providing opportunities for young people. As a result, five million consumers are more likely to buy from an apprentice employer and one in four consumers would even pay more for goods and services from companies that employ apprentices.

5. You Use Your Apprenticeship Levy Contribution

If your business has a payroll of £3 million or more, then you must pay the apprenticeship levy whether you employ an apprentice or not. This levy is charged at a rate of 0.5% of your company’s pay bill, and as an employer, you’ll be given 18 months to spend each payment.

So why not use it? By hiring apprentices, you can ensure that your levy doesn’t go to waste and spend that money on attracting great young talent and developing your staff to benefit your business in the long run.

A win-win all around!

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And there you have it — five great reasons why your company should hire an apprentice! If you’d like to see the range of standards we provide End-Point Assessment for, click here. Otherwise, to keep up to date with the latest news from TQUK EPA, return to our blog or follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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TQUK EPA was the first End-Point Assessment Organisation to pass apprentices on three new standards, including the Adult Care Worker, Commis Chef and Hospitality Team Member standards.

Now, we’ve done it a fourth time.

In partnership with Creative Support, TQUK EPA is proud to announce that we’ve passed the first apprentice on the Lead Adult Care Worker Standard!

Lee Wild became the first apprentice to be passed on the Lead Adult Care Worker standard on the 1st August 2018. She received a Merit overall for her hard work, and both TQUK and Creative Support are delighted with the results.

TQUK EPA and Creative Support have worked together to pass apprentices in a variety of standards. We passed the very first apprentice, Sona Peskin, and the first apprentice in the UK to receive a Distinction, Joseph Bailey, on the Adult Care Worker standard.

The Lead Adult Care Worker standard is the next level up from the Adult Care Worker standard. Lead Adult Care Workers help care for adults with support needs so that they can achieve their personal goals and live as independently as possible. They are also expected to provide frontline leadership and guidance to other care workers.

Committed and Hard-Working

Everyone working with Lee was impressed with the hard work and commitment she displayed throughout the programme.

Her On Programme Assessor, Miltos Baralos, said:

It was clear throughout her apprenticeship that Lee had the experience and knowledge needed to carry out her duties. We worked together—she showed interest in developing her knowledge and I supported her to achieve this. We had effective communication and regular contact. During the face to face meetings, we had Professional Discussions on different subjects for her qualification and Lee found this very helpful.

After she completed her mock Multiple Choice Test, I contacted Lee and we went through her results together. I also discussed with her, in more detail, the components she would need to be aware of during her Professional Discussion, which was the concluding assessment element to her End-Point Assessment.

Before Lee’s EPA meeting with her End-Point Assessor, I was contacted by TQUK to discuss the assessment arrangements. It was good for me to be contacted by the End-Point Assessor and the EPA Coordinator, as it felt very personal and helpful. I was happy with the approach given by TQUK, as they gave prompt feedback on the apprentice’s assessment outcomes, which was very important.”

Janet Glentworth, the Vocational Centre Manager for Creative Support, had this to say:

Creative Support are proud to train the first Lead Adult Care Worker apprentice. It was tough at times, as the standard was new to us all, but Lee and her assessor were willing to take the challenge on board, and this has resulted in Lee achieving a Merit. Lee and her assessor also commented on how much the apprenticeship training helped her develop a more rounded approach as a learner than only undertaking a diploma in Health and Social Care.

Receiving the End-Point Assessment through TQUK has also affirmed that Lee has met the national standard through their rigorous assessment. This has resulted in Creative Support achieving another first with TQUK.”

Kelle McQuade, Head of EPAO at TQUK, also chimed in with her thoughts:

We’re very excited that we’ve completed Lee as the first Lead Adult Care Worker Apprentice in the UK. Having now been the first EPAO to complete apprentices on four new standards, we’re really starting to flourish as an EPAO. Our organisation grows every day and we consistently keep adding new standards to our EPA offerings.

“We’ve worked with Creative Support in the past and have always been really pleased with the care and support they’ve provided their apprentices. This case has been no different—Creative Support have provided Lee with fantastic help from the very beginning and everyone involved in her programme, Miltos included, should be really proud of her achievement.

“I’d like to extend my congratulations to Lee and all the staff at Creative Support who’ve helped her on her journey. You should all be proud of yourselves! Here’s to TQUK and Creative Support achieving more firsts in the future!”

If you’d like to see the other apprenticeship standards we deliver End-Point Assessments for, then click here. To keep up to date with the latest news from TQUK EPA, return to our blog or follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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With the 2018 GCSE and A Level results released, young people around the UK are planning their futures and deciding what path to take. For those still deciding, training as an apprentice is the perfect way to earn while you learn and gain the necessary skills needed to succeed in your chosen career path.

To see where an apprenticeship can take you, you only need to switch on your TV! Yes, you may be surprised to find that there are many successful celebrities out there who started out as apprentices and who owe their great success to their education.

Here are five celebrities who started out as apprentices and later went on to achieve global fame:

1. Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver.
Photography by Scandic Hotels, distributed under a CC by 3.0 license

You’ll know Jamie Oliver as a top celebrity chef and franchise restaurateur, but he had humble beginnings. Oliver left school at 16 with two GCSEs in Art and Geology and began his culinary career by enrolling in a home economics apprenticeship at Westminster College. His apprenticeship placements led him to work in restaurants across London and this taught him all the ins and outs of gastronomy.

Because of his success, Oliver is a fierce advocate of apprenticeships. His first restaurant, Fifteen, was a project to bring unemployed youths into the restaurant industry. Some of them have now become Michelin Star chefs!

2. Sir Ian McKellen

Sir Ian McKellen.
Photography by Gage Skidmore, distributed under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

You’ll know Sir Ian McKellen from the iconic characters he plays on the big screen such as Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Magneto from the X-Men franchise, but he started off as an apprentice actor studying at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry for three years. Choosing the apprenticeship route instead of going to Drama School, McKellen benefitted from the work-based learning that still suits apprentices across the country. The apprenticeship gave him a solid foundation for his future acting roles and provided him with his first professional acting role in a play called A Man for All Seasons.

3. Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay.

You’ll know him from his restaurants across the globe and shows like Kitchen Nightmares, but Gordon Ramsay started off as a hotel management apprentice at North Oxfordshire Technical College. After that, he spent years learning the restaurant trade while working in various establishments. He’s now one of the most famous chefs in the world.

4. Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney.
Original author Jaguar MENA, altered by Blackcat and distributed under a CC BY 2.0 license.

Stella McCartney is a world-renowned fashion designer and daughter of Sir Paul McCartney. McCartney had an eye for fashion from a young age and had designed her first jacket by the age of 13. Later on, her Tailoring Apprenticeship with Edward Sexton at Savile Row Tailors helped develop her skills and taught her more about the craft of tailoring. She’s come a long way since then—her fashion empire is estimated to be worth £101 million and she even designed Team GB’s outfits for the London 2012 Olympics.

5. Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson.
By author Andrea Sartorati, distributed under a CC BY 2.0 license.

Sir Alex Ferguson managed Manchester United from 1986 to 2013 and is considered to be one of the most successful football managers of all time. But he didn’t start out working in the sport! Ferguson began his working life as an apprentice toolmaker at the Govan shipyards in Glasgow and played football in his free time. Although he ended up pursuing the sport, Ferguson learned about hard work through his apprenticeship. He also developed into a natural leader in the shipyards and used those skills to later manage Manchester United.

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And there you have it! Enrolling in an apprenticeship can start your working life off with a bang. The skills you learn can take you anywhere you’d like to go! If you’d like to see how an apprenticeship can improve your career prospects, click here.

To keep up to date with the latest news from TQUK EPA, return to our blog or follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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Levi is our new Exams Officer who joined TQUK back in mid-July. She previously worked in the marking department at AQA, but years before that she completed a hairdressing apprenticeship on the old frameworks system.

So we thought we’d sit down with her to talk more about her experience and how it compares to the new End-Point Assessment system.

Here are the results!

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What apprenticeship did you take?

I completed an NVQ Level 2 Diploma in Hairdressing six years ago, in 2012.

What was your experience like during the apprenticeship?

It was really useful. I learned a lot of practical skills and knowledge vital for the hairdressing industry. For the majority of the 12-month apprenticeship, I’d work 5 days a week at a salon. Then, once every fortnight, I’d go to my college to study theory and do more training. I completed another hairdressing course prior to this, but the apprenticeship really honed all my hairdressing skills so by the end of it I was confident in colouring, cutting and styling hair, and also dealing with clients.

Did you feel like you were properly prepared for working in that sector?

Yes definitely! The invaluable thing about apprenticeships is that you’re employed and working while you train. This means that you’ve already learned all the skills you need for your job, so you know exactly what to do once you’re qualified. Also, if you’ve done well in your programme, your employer is likely to offer you a job at the end of it! So there’s a good chance you’ll secure a job after your training, which is different to pursuing a degree in higher education where you have to find a job after you’ve graduated.

Once you receive your qualification, you also have other options. My employer offered me a job at the end of my apprenticeship, but I chose to become a freelance hairdresser instead. I also knew people who became self-employed and rented a chair in a salon to use with their own clients.

What do you think of apprenticeships as a form of education?

I think apprenticeships suit people differently depending on their learning style. If you prefer to learn practically like I do, with only a little classroom studying involved, then apprenticeships are perfect. But if you want to go down a more academic route, then pursuing higher education is a better option.

I think apprenticeships have been stigmatised a lot in the past. They weren’t viewed as an equal form of education to programmes in higher education, such as A levels or Bachelor degrees. It’s quite unfair because thinking of higher education as a more ‘valid’ form of education doesn’t take into account that people learn differently.

However, I think the view around apprenticeships is changing. There’s now more people who view further education and higher education on an equal level. I think a large part of that is because there’s a much larger range of apprenticeships available now than there were before. There are still apprenticeships in sectors such as hairdressing and hospitality, but now you’ve got apprenticeships in business, science and engineering. That means that, if someone wants to go into business, they can choose between university or an apprenticeship depending on which they’d enjoy more, which is great!

How were you assessed on the Frameworks system?

I was assessed continually throughout my programme. I had different units that focused on different aspects of hairdressing, such as styling hair, basic cutting techniques and washing hair. I’d be trained in these units, then at the end I was assessed with a short online or paper test. I also needed to compile a portfolio for each unit I completed and submit it at the end of the apprenticeship.

What do you think of the new End-Point Assessment compared to the Frameworks style of continual assessment?

I think continual assessment has its strengths, as it helped my employer and training provider see that I had the correct hairdressing skills and knowledge from one month to the next. But I think the End-Point Assessment is a better way to assess an apprentice’s skills. First of all, employers effectively write the standard. Major employers in each industry are brought together to form groups called trailblazers. These trailblazers outline all the knowledge, skills and behaviours which are required and assessed within the EPA. This means that apprentices are learning the exact skills and knowledge needed to be fully competent in their jobs. It also means that there’s less disconnect between employers and training providers, as employers are more involved in writing the apprenticeship standard. They now know that apprentices are learning everything they’re meant to at their training providers.

I also think that having a major assessment at the end allows apprentices to purely focus on learning and training for the length of their programme. Instead of having to worry about constant assessments, they can now spend their time learning the necessary skills and knowledge for their role. I also think having the assessments at the end encourages apprentices to spend significant time preparing for their EPA, which will help them achieve a higher mark.

I’ve got a friend who recently completed her End-Point Assessment on the new standard. She said that she was nervous at first, but ultimately went into it confidently, and saw it as a chance to show her assessor everything she had learned. I think the EPA should give apprentices a sense of validation in this regard. If you prepare and work hard, just like my friend, you should come away thinking “oh, I’ve actually learned quite a bit!” and feel proud of themselves.

Thank you very much for your time!

No worries!

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We hope you enjoyed the interview! If you’re interested in learning more about the End-Point Assessments we provide, you can find them all here. To keep up to date with the latest news from TQUK EPA, return to our blog or follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

See you around The Hive!

How TQUK Can Help You

The new apprenticeship standards are designed to improve upon what’s gone before and help with the apprentice’s initial journey into their chosen career, before you know it, they’ll be on the road to success.

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