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Organisational and Professional Development

What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a job with an associated training and career development programme which lasts for a minimum of 13 months in length. The exact duration will be outlined on the relevant apprenticeship standard and will depend on factors such as contracted hours and prior learning. Some higher-level apprenticeships can be in excess of five years.  

Apprenticeships can be full-time or part-time and are suitable for anyone over the age of 16 who has a contract of employment for the duration of the apprenticeship. 

The purpose of an Apprenticeship is to help people to gain new knowledge, skills and behaviours, so that they can improve their competency in an occupational role. They can be used to help new staff to develop into their roles and offer existing staff career development qualifications.  The apprenticeship standard chosen must relate to the job role of the person who will be training. 

Apprentices will:

  • Spend at least 20% of their employed time completing 'off the job' learning;
  • Gain official certification of skills and qualifications often with accreditation from professional awarding bodies: 



    Equivalent educational level 



    5 GCSE passes 



    2 A Level passes 


    4, 5, 6 and 7 

    Foundation degree and above 


    6 and 7 

    Bachelor’s or master’s degree

English and maths: 

The UK government have made a commitment to ensure that every adult receives training up to Level 2 in English and maths. As such, if the apprentice does not already hold a GCSE A-C (4-9) or Adult Functional Skill at Level 2 in these subjects, they will be required to also complete Adult Literacy and/or numeracy whilst on the programme. If the apprentice already holds maths or English at this level, they will be exempt from this component. 

The Apprenticeship Journey

All Apprenticeships at all levels and durations follow the same format: 

  1. Initial Assessment: Apprenticeship levy funding is considered "public money". This means that there is a rigorous initial assessment to determine eligibility. The Staff Apprenticeship Lead will ensure that Queen Mary University, as an employer, is compliant with Apprenticeship funding rules and that members of staff are enrolled on an appropriate programme of development.  
  2. On-Programme Training or the 'practical period': Once accepted onto an apprenticeship programme the induction and on-programme training will commence. It might involve regular taught day-release to college, workshops at a private training provider or online learning supplemented with workplace visits and reviews.   
  3. 20% Off the Job Training: Off-the-job training is a distinctive feature of an apprenticeship and as such, a 20% minimum threshold has been set by government. This is the minimum amount of time that should be spent on occupational off-the-job training during an apprenticeship i.e. in a classroom or engaging in online learning. It is important that this learning is undertaken during contracted hours. Further guidance on this will be provided by the training provider.  
  4. Triparte Reviews: Throughout the apprenticeship, regular tri-partite reviews involving the training provider, the line manager and the apprentice meet to discuss progress and map evidence of the new knowledge, skills and behaviours gained in the workplace. These visits are a requirement of the programme and ensure that the learning is relevant to the day-to-day role and responsibilities. 
  5. Gateway: Three months from the end of the programme, the line manager and training provider will be asked to assess the apprentice’s readiness for End Point Assessment. This is simply to say that in their best judgement, they are ready to be assessed as competent in the profession aligned with your apprenticeship programme. 
  6. End Point Assessment: Once any embedded professional qualifications contained in the apprenticeship programme have passed, the apprentice will enter 'Gateway'. They will then be asked to sit the End Point Assessment. This is a unique feature of apprenticeships and is the final component of the programme. They will be assessed by an impartial organisation who has was not involved in the delivery of training. 

Benefits of an Apprenticeship

For the University

For the Apprentices

  • They can be used as a recruitment and attraction tool for new posts, or as career development for current staff. 
  • Investing in apprenticeships is a cost-effective way of creating an agile workforce, and supporting inclusive recruitment and social mobility within Queen Mary. 96% of apprentice employers say they are beneficial to their business.
  • Apprenticeships are an effective means of meeting both current and future skills demand. The government estimate that employers can recoup their investment within one to two years.  
  • Apprenticeships are a means of attracting the best quality recruits by being able to offer a period of training leading to a widely recognised qualification. 
  • Apprenticeships are a means of retaining existing staff by providing on-going training designed to raise skill levels.  
  • Apprenticeships help us to meet our 2030 Strategy, Civic University and Technician Commitments 
  • Earn whilst you learn. Apprentices do not have to pay any fees for their training and continue to earn a competitive salary whilst gaining a professional qualification. 
  • Apprenticeships provide training in the skills that employers want. Being qualified makes you a more valuable and marketable resource within the university, opening up progression opportunities.  
  • Increased future earning potential on completion of your training as apprenticeships give you practical and relevant work experience which strengthens your CV.  
  • Apprenticeship schemes can offer a foot in the door to allow you to start or progress your professional career in your desired direction.  
  • There are a wide range of Apprenticeship courses available. 
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