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Apprenticeship FAQs

You may have a number of questions regarding apprenticeships for example: what they are, the different types of apprenticeship schemes, who may be an apprentice, and the terms and conditions. Answers to these can be found by clicking on the different apprenticeship tabs.

Members can log in to access a range of frequently asked questions and their associated answers.

What are apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships offer genuine, paid employment, training and development in a skilled occupation over a specified period of time (between 1 to 5 years) to those aged 16 or over who are not in full time education and are eligible to work in the UK.

Apprenticeships can be offered to new staff or existing employees who re taking on a new occupational role.

Who can become an apprentice?

Marine sector apprenticeships are available to those aged 16 or over who are not in full time education and who are eligible to work in the UK.

They can be new staff or existing staff taking on a new occupational role.

What are the benefits in employing an apprentice?

  • Provide opportunity to grow your own talent and help tackle skills shortages and provide the skilled workers your company need for the future.
  • They provide an effective way of attracting enthusiastic new talent.
  • They can provide an effective means of developing existing staff taking on a new occupational role.
  • They can assist in solving recruitment challenges and aid succession planning.
  • They can support innovation and aid company expansion.
  • Apprentices can undertake development programmes that are tailored to specific job roles.
  • Government funding is available to train and develop apprentices (the funding will vary according to the type of apprenticeship being undertaken). 

Are there different types of apprenticeship schemes?

Yes, there are different types of apprenticeship schemes which cover different occupations and job roles. 

There are Apprenticeship Framework Pathways; these are older schemes that are gradually being phased out and are being replaced with new Apprenticeship Standards (these are sometimes referred to as Trailblazers).  

Over the next few years the Framework Pathways and the new Apprenticeship Standards will run alongside each other, with apprenticeship starts on Framework Pathways declining and those on the newer Apprenticeship Standards increasing. 

 Where new Apprenticeship Standards exist, the Government's expectation is that these will be used instead of the older Framework Pathways.

Are all marine sector apprenticeships the same level?

No, each approved apprenticeship is assigned a level that links to an equivalent academic level.

  • Level 2 intermediate is equivalent to 5 GCSE passes at grades A* to C (or the new numeric grades 9 to 4).
  • Level 3 advanced is equivalent to 2 A level passes.
  • Levels 4, 5, 6 and 7 are equivalent to foundation degree and above.

Do the different marine sector apprenticeships have specific entry requirements?

Apprenticeships can have entry requirements, which will vary depending on the focus and job role of the apprenticeship. 

Apprenticeship schemes that have a marine focus can be demanding, and employers can detail specific entry requirements.  For example, depending on the marine focus an employer may expect apprentices to have at least 4 GCSEs at Grade C or above (or the new numeric grade 4 or above) for a level 3 apprenticeship. These tend to be related to English and STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths).  In addition interest in the marine industry may be required along with communication skills. 

 The entry requirements can vary between employers. 

 Any entry requirements required by an employer should be detailed in the apprenticeship documentation, to provide guidance to those applying for apprenticeships.

How long is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships take between 1 and 5 years to complete depending on the type of apprenticeship and the apprenticeship level.

What apprenticeships are available in the marine industry?

Click here to see the type of apprenticeships offered by marine employers

The Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) provides a list of all new apprenticeship standards that are available across all sectors and industries.

How is an apprentice hired?

There are several steps involved in hiring an apprentice:

  • You need to choose the appropriate apprenticeship (framework or standard) for the occupation you want filled.
  • Then find a training provider that can support you and your apprentice in delivering the required training and development (to meet the learning outcomes in the apprenticeship framework, or the requirements to achieve competence in the apprenticeship standard).
  • Check what funding is available for the training and assessment and negotiate and agree this with the training provider.
  • Advertise the apprenticeship.
  • Recruit a suitable person to undertake the apprenticeship and complete the relevant apprenticeship documentation (apprenticeship agreement and commitment statement).

There are various ways that those interested in undertaking an apprenticeship can apply to undertake an apprenticeship, this will depend on how the apprenticeships are advertised. Your training provider can help you do this.

Apprenticeship adverts can be posted on the GOV.UK website, or via job adverts in local press and on line.  Marine apprenticeship job vacancies can also be advertised on the British Marine 'Job Vacancy' pages. 

Click here for more guidance on employing an apprentice.

How much are apprentices paid?

One of the benefits of undertaking an apprenticeship is that an apprentice gets paid to learn.

There is a minimum apprenticeship wage rate but employers can pay more than this.  Details about the apprenticeship pay and conditions (for example hours worked and holidays apprentices are entitled to) can be accessed here.

What is the difference between an Apprenticeship Framework and an Apprenticeship Standard?

As apprentices are a devolved policy, each of the UK nations manages their own apprenticeship schemes and associated programmes, this involves the offer of Apprenticeship Framework Pathways and in England the introduction of new Apprenticeship Standards. 

Due to the apprenticeship reforms being undertaken in England the Framework Pathways are currently being phased out.  It is the Government’s intention that the Apprenticeship Framework Pathways in England will be phased out by 2020.

Successful completion of an Apprenticeship Framework Pathway is dependent on passing a range of qualifications (technical certificates and vocational qualifications). Under current rules, any apprentice that commences an Apprenticeship Framework Pathway in England will be able to complete this and the funding rules that applied at the commencement of the apprenticeship will continue until the apprentice has completed the apprenticeship. 

The English Apprenticeship Standards are over time replacing the old Framework Pathways. The new Apprenticeship Standards are designed by employer groups and clearly detail what an apprentice needs to know and understand and the skills and behaviours required by them, for specific occupations.

The English Apprenticeship Standards provide enhanced flexibility for employers in how apprentices are developed. Employers are given more control in the delivery of their apprentices learning and development.  To complete the new Standards, apprentices need to successfully pass a nationally defined end point assessment, which is undertaken by an independent assessor.   

All new starts on both English Framework Pathways and new Apprenticeship Standards from May 2017 have had the new funding rules applied.  From May 2017, all Apprenticeship Framework Pathways and Apprenticeship Standards that have been approved for delivery have been allocated to one of 15 apprenticeship funding bands ranging from band 1 - £1500 to band 15 - £27,000.  The band allocated dictates the maximum amount of Government funding that can be obtained for training and development and assessment undertaken by organisations on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers, and the Register of Apprenticeship Assessment Organisations.

From August 2018 the 15 funding bands will become 30 funding bands.

 

How does mentoring support apprentices?

The term 'mentoring' describes a relationship in which the apprentice is supported through the apprenticeship learning and developmental journey. 

Mentoring is about reflecting, encouraging and supporting the apprentice to make the most of themselves and their apprenticeship. It is all about mutual trust and respect.  It is a two way relationship in which the mentor and apprentice get the chance to learn new things and develop personally and professionally.  Mentoring also assists the apprentice to develop and improve their communication skills and planning skills.  

A Mentoring Skills to Support Apprentices pocketbook, which provides an introduction to the knowledge, experience and understanding required to mentor apprentices is available to British Marine members' staff who have responsibilities for mentoring apprentices. Please contact cholmes@britishmarine.co.uk to obtain copies.

What assistance is there for employers in establishing and running apprenticeship programmes?

There is a wealth of information for employers who may be considering taking on an apprentice for the first time, and also information for those employers who have established apprenticeship programmes. Some examples of the type of information available to employers are detailed below.

The Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) provides information for Employers about the different apprenticeships on offer and directs users to GOV.UK for further information on employing an apprentice.

Get In Go Far provides information for employers about how to recruit apprentices and what funding rules apply.

GOV.UK website provides information about the range of apprenticeships, the requirements, pay and conditions, etc.  In addition information is provided about recruiting apprentices. Some of the other GOV.UK linked pages are also provided below.

Employing an apprentice provides details of the various areas employers need to consider when recruiting and employing apprenticeships.

Employer Guide to Apprenticeships - provides some general guidance about what apprenticeships are and how they work along with employer responsibilities.

Estimate my apprenticeship funding is on online tool that allows organisations to estimate what funding is available for each apprenticeship and how much an employer’s contribution will be.

Find apprenticeship training is an online tool that helps employers search for apprenticeships by job roles or keywords and find training providers that are registered and offer the required apprenticeship training.

Apprenticemakers provides a forum and national network for employers to share ideas and ask questions about apprenticeships.

The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights may offer financial assistance and other support to small employers offering marine apprenticeships for the first time, if certain terms and conditions are met.

British Marine support employer groups who want to develop new apprenticeship standards and conduct regular scanning to identify changes to apprenticeship funding rules and policies.  cholmes@britishmarine.co.uk can be contacted if you have queries regarding marine apprenticeships or apprenticeship rules.

How are apprenticeships funded?

Apprenticeship starts May 2017 are funded in the following ways:

  • For those UK employers whose annual wage bill is in excess of £3 million via the Apprenticeship Levy.
  • The apprenticeship co-investment funding model is used by those employers who do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy or whose Levy payments are not sufficient to meet the maximum funding band requirements. The co-investment funding model works on 90% contribution by the Government and 10% contribution by the employer.  The co-investment funding works to a maximum amount as approved by the funding band that the apprenticeship has been allocated.
  • There are also some incentives for small employers that employ 16-18 year olds and 19-24 year olds who have formerly been in care or who have a local authority education, health and care plan.

Click here for more information about the Apprenticeship Levy and the co-investment funding model.

The Government's Employer Guide to Apprenticeships also explains this further.

For apprenticeships in devolved nations, the information from the appropriate apprenticeship authority should be referred to (Apprenticeships Scotland, Business WalesNI Business) for information on funding for apprenticeships.  

 

What are the key areas of the apprenticeship reforms?

The Government's apprenticeship reforms include:

  • The design and development of new Apprenticeship Standards based on specific occupational roles. 
  • Giving employers more control over how they train and develop apprentices undertaking the new Apprenticeship Standards.
  • The new Apprenticeship Standards being based on occupational roles and written clearly so all interested parties (apprentices, their parents, employers, training providers, assessment organisations, etc,) can understand them. Phasing out the old Apprenticeship Frameworks over time and replacing them with employer led and defined Apprenticeship Standards and End Point Assessment Plans.
  • Moving away from qualification driven assessment to end point assessment undertaken by organisations that are totally independent of the apprentice.
  • The documentation relating to new standards and associated end point assessment plans being published on GOV.UK.
  • The introduction of a new Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers - training providers who want to deliver apprenticeships and receive Government funding must be on this register.
  • The introduction of a new Register of Apprenticeship Assessment Organisations - organisations that want to undertake apprentices' end point assessments must be registered.
  • The formation of the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) who approve and quality assure the new Apprenticeship Standards and End Point Assessment Plans.
  • Apprenticeship funding reforms - including the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, the introduction of apprenticeship funding bands (for all apprenticeships - existing frameworks and new standards) and a new apprenticeship co-investment funding model. 
  • Employers given negotiated purchasing powers to choose and negotiate the most effective external training and assessment for their apprentices and agree pricing for this. 
  • On-line tools to help prospective apprentices find and apply for apprenticeships.
  • On-line tools to help employers find training providers, find out what Government apprenticeship co-investment funding is available, manage their apprenticeship funding (at present if paying the Apprenticeship Levy).  

 

What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

UK employers whose annual wage bill is in excess of £3 million must pay the Apprenticeship Levy. The Apprenticeship Levy is charged at 0.5% of a company's annual wage bill.  Companies that pay the Apprenticeship Levy have an Apprenticeship Levy Allowance of £15,000 each year.  This allowance offsets the amount of levy that is paid each month. 

Employers pay the Apprenticeship Levy to HMRC via the usual PAYE process.

The GOV.UK website has several pages to help employers understand the levy requirements and the processes for calculating the levy liability and paying it.