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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 15 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.   

Apprenticeship Levels:



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

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

The purpose of an Apprenticeship is to help people to gain new knowledge, skills and behaviours so they can improve their competency in an occupational role. They can be used to help new staff develop in 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 6hrs per week of their employed time completing learning & development activities and implementing their new skill in the workplace. 
  • Gain official certification of skills and qualifications often with accreditation from professional awarding bodies or professional membership.

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: 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. This will include an initial assessment to determine eligibility. 
  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. Off the Job Training: Off-the-job training is a distinctive feature of an apprenticeship and as such, 6hrs per week (pro rata) must be spent on learning and development activities relevant to the apprenticeship. More information about this can be found in the Off-the-job section of this website.
  4. Triparte Reviews: Throughout the apprenticeship, the training provider, line manager and apprentice meet regularly 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: At the end of the practical period and once any accredited qualifications are passed, usually 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, the apprentice is ready to be considered competent in the profession.
  6. End Point Assessment: This is the final component of the programme. The apprentice will complete the final assessments with an impartial End Point Assessment Organisation.

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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