The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) recently released updated guidance on the roles and responsibilities for apprenticeship Gateway and resits for End-Point Assessment.
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.
1. Why You Should Hire an Apprentice?
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.
2. Take the Plunge and Pick Your Standard
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:
3. Check the Funding You’re Eligible For
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
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
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
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
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
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!
Here are some additional pages that you may find useful:
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.
See you around The Hive!
As an End-Point Assessment Organisation, we are keenly aware of how difficult and confusing apprenticeship funding rules can be. You just want to deliver your apprenticeship program, and then you find out that there are all these complex rules you have to know.
We sympathise. After all, we have to follow them, too!
These rules can be labyrinthine, opaque and positively filled with asterisks of every variety.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. And that’s why we created this ultimate guide.
Whether you’re an Employer, Employer-Provider or Training Provider, we’re going to make all these apprenticeship funding rules as simple as possible.
But first, we need to get a handle on what we’re talking about.
What Are Apprenticeship Standards?
All apprenticeship programmes delivered by Employers are created and delivered against Apprenticeship Standards. Included in these new and improved standards, different from the apprenticeship frameworks that came before them, are a series of knowledge, skills and behaviour criteria created by groups of Employers and recognised by the government.
No matter what apprenticeship you’re delivering, your apprentice’s training must develop against these standards.
This was done in order for apprenticeship programmes to deliver the knowledge, skills and behaviours that employers need in their apprentices.
If you’d like to see the knowledge, skills and behaviours that your apprenticeship standard will require, visit the Institute for Apprenticeship and Technical Education and search for the apprenticeship programme you want to deliver. The corresponding standard will tell you everything they will learn during their training.
Naturally, the type of training they receive will directly affect the funding they get.
All About the Apprenticeship Levy
As part of the 2017 apprenticeship reforms, the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in order to get large employers more involved in the funding and execution of apprenticeship programmes.
This made a lot of sense. There were loads of large organisations out there sitting on large piles of money, not doing anything. So, the government thought, if there’s a skills shortage, why not give big employers a little push to invest in apprenticeships and further education?
And so, the Apprenticeship Levy was born.
In effect, the Apprenticeship Levy is a tax on businesses with a pay bill over £3 million. 0.5% of the cost of their pay bill is collected by the government and reserved for use by that Employer for apprenticeships. Any funds raised that are not used by that employer are reallocated to other apprenticeship programs.
Apprenticeship Funding Rules for Employers
The government funds the vast majority of apprenticeship provision. This is great news for you, the Employer. Apprenticeships are a great way of training new people and ensuring you have the skilled and dedicated staff that will take your company to the next level.
As an Employer, you’ll need to know quite a bit about apprenticeship funding rules, since the nature of the funding you receive is largely dependent on what kind of company you have and the apprenticeship you’re delivering.
Don’t worry, though. Take our hand and we’ll guide you through all the ins and outs of your funding journey.
Setting up an apprenticeship service account
In order to get access to government funding for your apprenticeship program, you’ll need to create an account on the apprenticeship service. This is a digital interface designed to support the uptake of apprenticeships.
You will use the apprenticeship service to manage your apprenticeship funding and pay Training Providers and End-Point Assessment Organisations for their services.
Negotiating prices for training
Once you’ve set up your apprentice service account and your apprentice has started their apprenticeship program, you will need to choose a Training Provider that can deliver your apprentice’s training. You can find an appropriate Training Provider on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers.
You and the Training Provider must negotiate a price for the total cost of each apprenticeship, including the training costs and any subcontracted training. This cost must include the cost of End-Point Assessment, which tends to be more no more than 20% of the funding band maximum.
Key things to keep in mind:
- When negotiating the price, you should include any training that overlaps with an apprentice’s prior learning or qualifications. The Training Provider should take prior learning into account when negotiating with you.
- Every apprenticeship is entitled to a certain amount of government funding. If the price you negotiate with the Training Provider is higher than the funding band maximum, you must pay the difference. This difference cannot be funded from your apprenticeship service account or co-investment. (More on the co-investment later.)
Levy-Payers and Co-Investors
Once you have negotiated a price for the training for your apprenticeship, you will need to start paying your Training Provider for their services.
But with what money, you ask?
That’s a great question.
Once you have registered your apprenticeship program on the apprenticeship service, you’ll have access to cash. The source of cash and how you pay it will depend on the size of your organisation.
Apprenticeship Levy Payers
If your organisation pays the Apprenticeship Levy, you will have monthly instalments sent to your apprenticeship service account. How much you receive will depend on how much your business has paid for the Apprenticeship Levy. The amount of funding you receive will also include a 10% top-up. Payments will be taken according to the planned duration of the apprenticeship regardless of how training is scheduled.
What about Employers with a Pay Bill Of Less Than £3 Million?
Employers that do not pay the Levy must pay a co-investment fee for their apprenticeship program.
The current co-investment rate stands at 5%.
The government will pay the remaining 95% of the cost of the apprenticeship, up to the funding band maximum.
Where the funding band maximum is exceeded, you must pay all the additional costs above the funding band maximum.
You may agree on a schedule of co-investment payments with your Training Provider, which does not need to match the payments made by each month. However, this payment should ensure that your contributions are at least equal to the required co-investment when your Training Provider reports your contributions.
In order for an apprentice to complete their apprenticeship, they will need to undergo End-Point Assessment.
End-Point Assessment is the final test that verifies that the apprentice has attained all the knowledge, skills and behaviours outlined in the Apprenticeship Standard.
An apprentice can only undertake End-Point Assessment once they have:
- Met the minimum duration of the apprenticeship;
- Satisfied the Gateway requirements set out in the assessment plan (you can access the assessment plan on the designated page for the apprenticeship on the IFATE website);
- You, as the Employer, are confident that the apprentice is ready to undertake the final test.
Before Gateway, you will need to select an End-Point Assessment Organisation to deliver End-Point Assessment. You can find all approved EPAOs on the Register of End-Point Assessment Organisations.
After you have done so, the Training Provider will get into contact with the EPAO and will lead the relationship with them. This allows the Training Provider to make payment for the End-Point Assessment on your behalf. A written agreement will be drawn up, including arrangements for sharing information with the apprentice, re-takes and payment times.
Be sure that the price you agree with the Training Provider includes the cost of the End-Point Assessment. (This includes the cost of external quality assurance.)
End-Point Assessment tends not to cost more than 20% of the funding band maximum for the apprenticeship.
To see the full list of apprenticeship funding rules for Employers, visit the IFATE website.
Apprenticeship Funding Rules for Employer-Providers
This section is for Employer-Providers: employers that have the ability to offer an apprenticeship programme and provide the necessary training.
The funding rules that apply to you are slightly different from those that apply to Employers.
Many of the rules that apply to Employers apply to Employer-Providers as well, so be sure to peruse the sections above.
However, the sections below detail many areas that apply to Employer-Providers specifically.
Assessing the cost of your programme
As an Employer-Provider, you will need to determine the cost of the apprenticeship programme you want to deliver.
You will need to assess the cost of your apprenticeship program and set it against the appropriate government funding band. Costs that are eligible for government funding include:
- Delivery of training or Off-the-Job Training through a supporting Training Provider. This could include some or all of the training aspects of a licence to practice or a non-mandatory qualification. There must be a clear overlap between the training and the Apprenticeship Standard criteria;
- Registration, examination and certification costs;
- On-programme assessment;
- Self-directed, online and/or blended learning;
- Materials used in the apprenticeship delivery (ie equipment and/or supplies);
- Admin included in apprenticeship delivery, including End-Point Assessment;
- Time spent by employees/managers supporting or mentoring apprentices;
- Additional learning required to re-take an exam related to a qualification or a portion of the End-Point Assessment.
If any of the costs from the above activities are brought in from a third party, they will be funded.
Contracting and subcontracting
The rules say that funding for your apprenticeship will be routed through you. This includes funding for English and Maths Functional Skills qualifications.
Do not use any subcontractor that subcontracts out to a second level. All your subcontractors must be contracted directly by you.
Since you are delivering the training and assessment, you need to report the full cost of it, including the End-Point Assessment, to the ESFA. This will determine how much of the funds in your apprenticeship service account or government-employer co-investment can be used.
- Must enter costs for training and End-Point Assessment into the individualised learning record;
- Must evidence how all costs are calculated;
- Must account for an apprentice’s prior learning;
- Can include payroll, pay slips, expense claims, hourly pay rates for staff delivery training and assessment of apprentices and training plans that include the hours of training delivered;
- Can claim salaries plus on-program costs of employees directly involved in the administration of apprenticeship training;
- Can claim accommodation and facilities where you can show that it has been used for training or End-Point Assessment;
If the costs you calculate are more than the maximum allowed by the funding band, you must pay the difference between the band maximum and the total cost. This difference cannot be funded by your apprenticeship service account or your co-investment.
To see the full list of apprenticeship funding rules for Employer-Providers, visit the IFATE website.
Apprenticeship Funding Rules for Training Providers
As a Training Provider, the funding rules you have to follow have a lot to do with the costing of the apprenticeship and the receipt of apprenticeship funding.
The sections below detail the specific apprenticeship funding rules that apply to you.
Learning support and reasonable adjustments
You can get financial support from the government for reasonable adjustments for apprentices with learning difficulties or disabilities.
If you are training an apprentice with learning difficulties, you will need to:
- Conduct an assessment to identify the support needed;
- Deliver support to meet the apprentice’s identified needs and review progress;
- Record and gather the appropriate evidence to show that the actions have been completed and outcomes are recorded;
- Report in the ILR that an apprentice has a learning support need and what that support need is.
Learning support will be fixed at a monthly rate of £150 when it has been reported in the ILR for the months in which there is an identified learning need. If your costs exceed £150 per month but are less than £19,000 per annum, you can claim via the earning adjustments statement.
You must promptly claim for learning support through the ILR and the EAS. The government will not pay you for claims from a previous funding year if you do not claim on time.
What can be funded?
Before you begin the training process, make sure your apprentice’s Apprenticeship Standard is approved on your Employer’s apprenticeship service account.
Funds received from this account (and the co-investment) must only be used to cover the costs of training and End-Point Assessment.
The following is a list of eligible costs for funding:
- Off-the-Job Training through a Training Provider, or evidenced costs for Employer-Provider delivery. If the training includes a licence to practice or a non-mandatory qualification, there must be a clear overlap between this training and the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed for the Apprenticeship Standard;
- Registration, examination and certification costs associated with mandatory qualifications;
- On-programme assessments;
- Self-directed distance learning, online learning and/or blended learning;
- Materials used in the delivery of the apprenticeship;
- Any costs of administration directly related to the delivery of the apprenticeship;
- Time spent by managers/employees supporting or mentoring apprentices;
- Additional learning and/or the cost of re-taking an exam linked to a mandatory qualification or any component of the End-Point Assessment.
The activities above should be included in the price you negotiate with the Employer, which should include the price of End-Point Assessment.
Any of these costs can be brought in from a third party, and the government will fund them.
Where you buy the delivery of training from a third party, you must follow subcontracting rules (see below). Funds from an Employer’s apprenticeship service account or co-investment must not be used to fund other services from a third party.
You cannot claim government funding for the following costs:
- Enrolment, induction, prior assessment, initial assessment, etc;
- Apprentice travel costs;
- Apprentice wages;
- Any protective clothing/equipment required by the apprentice;
- Development of teaching materials;
- Off-the-Job Training delivered by self-directed distance learning;
- Any training, optional modules, educational trips or trips to professional events in excess of those required to meet the Apprenticeship Standard. This includes training solely and specifically required for a licence to practice;
- Any fees to a third party associated with a licence to practice;
- Any fees for non-mandatory qualifications, including registration, examination and certification;
- Student membership fees;
- End-Point Assessment costs incurred but not included in the price negotiated between the Employer and EPAO;
- Functional Skills qualifications;
- Repeating the same regulated qualification where the apprentice has already achieved it;
- Accommodation costs for the apprentice incurred because of their day-to-day work;
- Capital purchases and their maintenance;
- Time spent by managers/employees supporting or mentoring the apprentice in areas that are not directly related to apprenticeship training and assessment;
- Specific services not related to the delivery and administration of the apprenticeship.
You and the Employer will receive a payment towards the additional cost associated with training if, at the start of the apprenticeship, the apprentice is:
- Between 16 and 18 years;
- Between 19 and 24 years and has either an Education, Health and Care plan provided by their local authority or has been in the care of their local authority.
As a Training Provider, you will be in charge of preparing the apprentice for the End-Point Assessment.
When working with an Apprenticeship Standard, the Employer will receive government funding up to the funding band limit, which will include the cost of the End-Point Assessment. Monthly instalments will be transferred to you via the Employer’s apprenticeship service account.
Upon completion of the End-Point Assessment, you will pay the End-Point Assessment Organisation for the End-Point Assessment. The Employer will then transfer the agreed amount for End-Point Assessment to you.
If the End-Point Assessment ends up costing more than the agreed cost up to the funding band maximum, you must pay the difference.
You must ensure that the price you agree with the Employer for the apprenticeship includes the amount the Employer has negotiated with the End-Point Assessment Organisation. This includes the cost of external quality assurance.
Be sure to keep records of payment to your EPAO.
Contracting and subcontracting
You can use subcontractors to complement your delivery if requested by the Employer and agreed at the start of the apprenticeship. Subcontractors can deliver full or part of the apprenticeship training.
If you are going to use a subcontractor, they must:
- Be published on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers;
- Be either the apprentice’s employer, a connected company or charity; or
- Deliver less than £100,000 of apprenticeship training and on-programme assessment under contract across all main providers and employer-providers between 1 April and 31 March each year.
You must perform your own due diligence and research subcontractors to ensure they have quality provision and robust procedures. You must not use a subcontractor where they subcontract out to a second level.
Calculating the cost of an apprenticeship
You, along with the Employer, will negotiate a price for the total cost of each apprenticeship, including training costs and any subcontracted training. These costs must include the cost of End-Point Assessment, which will be negotiated between the Employer and the End-Point Assessment Organisation.
- You must account for prior learning when negotiating a price and document how you assessed prior learning.
- You must enter the prices for training and End-Point Assessment onto the ILR.
You must not offset the negotiated price with costs of any service provided by the Employer.
Once the price is negotiated, the price upon completion should not be higher.
Where apprenticeship training is not funded from the Employer’s apprenticeship service account, Employers will co-invest 5% of the total negotiated price up to the funding band maximum.
Ensure that you keep evidence of the Employer’s co-investment contribution. Doing so will ensure that funding from the government will continue to be sent to the Employer.
It will be up to you and the Employer to determine a payment schedule for their co-investment. This means the payments could fall outside of a monthly structure.
Exceptions to the Employer co-investments restrictions are:
- English and maths;
- Where the Employer qualifies for extra support for small employers;
- Learning support for the apprentice;
- For any additional payment and disadvantage funding; and
- Where the Employer delivers their own staff as an Employer-Provider.
At least every three months, you must:
- Have collected matching co-investment from Employers; and
- Report the cash value, on the ILR, of total employer contributions.
To see the full list of apprenticeship funding rules for Employer-Providers, visit the IFATE website.
We hope this gave you a better idea of the funding rules involved in apprenticeships. However, to get into the nitty-gritty detail, dive into the IFATE website to make sure your t’s are crossed and your i’s are dotted.
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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“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” – Peter Drucker
Managers are an integral part of every business. Although their day-to-day duties differ, managers must oversee their employees, manage their budget and departmental goals and carry out all their duties in accordance with their company’s vision. A great manager juggles all of these elements seamlessly while creating a fantastic work environment where their employees are motivated and happy to work.
We thought we’d get some insight from our wonderful TQUK staff members about what makes a great manager. Here are their thoughts:
Samuel Rossiter, Content Officer: “I think a great manager leads by example and creates a positive and rewarding work environment which their staff are happy to walk into every morning. I also think great managers trust their employees, and allow them the space and time to manage their own work. This empowers their staff and allows them to thrive!”
Matt Garrod, End-Point Assessment Officer: “A great manager knows how to keep their team and staff motivated throughout the week. Regardless of whether it’s a Monday or a Friday, they should receive the same level of enthusiasm no matter what!”
Ash Smith, Client Relationship Team Leader: “A great manager understands the strengths and weaknesses of their team and uses this knowledge to properly develop their members. They’re also great in bringing their ideas to the table, using their team’s strengths to work together and bring these to life. It also helps if they can keep team morale high!”
Rochelle Crichton, End-Point Assessment Team Leader: “A great manager is approachable, open to suggestions and actively looking for changes and improvements to help their team and department. A great manager is also happy to guide and assist their staff when necessary. They should understand the pressure and stress you may be under and be appreciative of you as an individual.”
There you go! Our TQUK members value honesty, approachability, great communication and the ability to develop their team in their managers. We’re grateful to our Senior Management Team for embodying these values here and driving TQUK forwards while helping their employees every step of the way!
If you’re interested in pursuing a managerial position, then why not earn while you learn and enroll in a management apprenticeship? To start exploring, check out the range of management apprenticeship standards we provide End-Point Assessment for here.
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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.
If you’d like to see where an apprenticeship can take you, check out our blog on 5 Celebrities Who Started Out As Apprentices.
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Gender Equality in Apprenticeships
In 2016-17, the number of women starting apprenticeships in England was higher than men. 54% of apprenticeship starts were by women (262,280) whereas 46% of apprenticeship starts were by men (228,520). In fact, the number of women starting apprenticeships in England has been higher than men for every year since 2010.
Women dominate apprenticeships in sectors like customer service, children’s care, hairdressing, and health and social care. However, female apprentices are massively underrepresented in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and maths). In 2015-16, more than 72,000 male apprentices started engineering programmes in England compared to only 6,260 women.
Furthermore, according to a 2018 Engineering UK report, more than 1.2 million graduate and technician core engineering jobs will be needed across all industries from 2014-2024. However, there is currently a shortage of 37,000-59,000 engineering workers which are needed to meet an annual demand of 124,000 core engineering roles.
There seems to be an obvious solution to this skills shortage: encourage more women to go into STEM industries and STEM apprenticeships. The fact that, in 2017, only 11% of the engineering workforce was female demonstrates that women are a huge potential pool of talent that remains untapped. Companies that diversify their workforce also reap big benefits: a 2014 MIT study on workplace diversity found that offices could increase their revenue by 41% if they altered their approach to include an equal number of men and women in the workplace. Cloverpop also found that diverse workforces with members of different ages, genders and geographies made better business decisions 87% of the time.
How Can Companies Encourage More Female Apprenticeship STEM Starts?
There are a range of methods that companies have used to successfully boost their number of female apprentices. These methods — including how to attract, engage, support and retain female employees — have been neatly compiled into an apprenticeship toolkit created by WISE, ICE (the Institution of Civil Engineers) and Semta, a not-for-profit organisation determined to transform the skills of those working in the UK’s engineering and technologies sectors.
The toolkit is extremely useful for any company determined to improve gender diversity within their STEM apprenticeships. Here are a few methods that the toolkit recommends:
Attracting More Female Apprentices
On attracting more female apprentices, the toolkit recommends that companies:
- Set clear targets and ask themselves: how many women do they have currently undertaking STEM apprenticeships, and how many would they like?
- Ask themselves: what schools and colleges can they target to promote their STEM apprenticeships? What groups, such as women’s organisations or parent groups, can they further target to attract more women to their programme?
Engaging More Female Apprentices
On engaging more female apprentices, the toolkit recommends that companies review their recruitment process and:
- Remove gendered language from their job adverts such as “signalman” or “3-man team”.
- Make sure that there are images of women in the workplace on their website, as this will present a diverse and inclusive working environment.
- If companies are using an external recruitment agency, explain to them that they’d like a diverse pool of candidates. Companies can ask to see all applications from women who meet the basic entry requirements. EDF Energy used this approach with recruiters and managed to boost their intake of women in apprenticeships from 8% to 21% in just one year.
Supporting Female Apprentices
After the recruitment process, the toolkit recommends that organisations do the following to support their female apprentices:
- Provide one-to-one sessions with apprentices on a regular basis to discuss how they’re getting on and deal with any issues they may have.
- Make sure that there are suitable changing facilities in their organisation, such as enough female toilets, and ensure that they’re accessible.
- Make sure that staff are aware of the suitable language and behaviour that should be conducted in the workplace.
Retaining Female Workers
On retaining female workers once they’ve finished their programme, the toolkit recommends that companies:
- Regularly review progress with their female apprentices and include conversations about their potential next steps in the organisation.
- Encourage women who progress from their apprenticeship within the company and supporting them in these next steps. This may include enrolling them in further professional qualifications.
As an example of a company determined to increase the number of their female engineers, Rolls-Royce have set themselves two main targets for increasing their STEM starts:
- To reach 6 million people through their STEM education programmes and activities by 2020.
- To increase the number of female engineers from 9% to 50%.
To achieve this, they’ve:
- Supported and promoted national events such as the UK Big Bang Science Fair, which has over 70,000 visitors every year.
- Of their 60 STEM Ambassadors who support this event, 50% are women.
- Around 30% of their 1,250 STEM Ambassadors who go out and engage with schools and communities are women.
- Used the Rolls-Royce Women’s Network to attract and deliver girls to work events across their major sites.
- Sponsored the Talent2030 programme, which is a national engineering competition that encourages 11-18 year old girls to solve major 21st century challenges using engineering solutions.
Their collective outreach has achieved fantastic results:
- Rolls-Royce has doubled the number of women who are hired into their work experience placements every year.
- 25% of their latest 14 year old Young Apprentices cohort were girls.
- 20% of their 2016 Apprenticeship intake, advanced and higher, were girls.
The advice provided by the apprenticeship toolkit is useful to any STEM company who’d like to increase their number of female apprentices and employees. As only 11% of the engineering workforce was female in 2017, the UK still has a long way to go before it reaches full gender equality in its STEM industries. However, with the help of major companies like Rolls-Royce, the UK should be able to increase the number of women in STEM. Hopefully, as more companies come on board to a vision of an equal gendered workforce, the ratio of men and women in STEM will one day be 50/50.
For those interested in the toolkit, check out the Wise Campaign website for more details.
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