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Employer FAQs

An apprenticeship is a combination of employment and training for anyone above the age of 16 and each apprenticeship includes the delivery of nationally recognised sector-specific qualifications as well as maths and English. There are currently over 200 different sector apprenticeship frameworks and Standards across the UK, each including the delivery of a range of qualifications from levels 2 to 8 and covering most occupations and sectors. Some differences exist in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but the core features of the apprenticeship model remain the same across the four nations.

Apprenticeships are a unique way to grow your own workforce; they combine on-the-job training in your organisation with off-the-job learning. The learning takes place in context and provides a real understanding of your business, combining practical skills with theoretical knowledge. They offer an invaluable opportunity to grow the sector-specific skills that your business needs, now and in the future. If used to further develop your existing workforce, apprenticeships can help to improve your organisation’s staff engagement and retention.

An apprenticeship combines practical training in a job with study. It is essentially a set of work-related qualifications called a ‘framework’ or Standard.

The framework consists of:

  • A certificate/diploma (often referred to as a NVQ). This element of the apprenticeship develops the practical skills that apprentices need to be competent in their job role. On completion of their diploma apprentices will have demonstrated their workplace abilities and proved that they can do specific job-related tasks to national standards.
  • Maths and English qualifications which are known as Functional Skills in England, Essential Skills in Northern Ireland and Wales and Core Skills in Scotland. In all countries, the delivery of maths and English is designed to develop the practical skills required in everyday life, education and the workplace. For some frameworks ICT is also included within Functional Skills.
  • A technical certificate, which provides knowledge and understanding. In other words, this element of the apprenticeship develops the theory element that apprentices need to be competent in their job role.
  • Employee Rights and Responsibilities (ERR). In this part of the framework, apprentices learn about their rights and responsibilities in the workplace.
  • Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS). As part of an apprenticeship participants will develop a series of underpinning skills that are important for everyday life. These include creative thinking, evaluation and team working which are key to future employability and becoming effective employees.

Standards (England only) consist of:

  • Standards are a 2 page document detailing the skills, knowledge and behaviours an apprentice needs to know and demonstrate within a role.
  • Maths and English Functional Skills – Before the apprentice can progress towards the end-point assessment they must have achieved Functional Skills at Level 1 or Level 2 in maths and English (or have equivalent certificates) depending on the level of apprenticeship they are undertaking.
  • End-Point Assessment – Once the training has been completed and the apprentice has proven competency against all the standard’s criteria they must undertake the end-point assessment. The end-point assessment is independent from the training and includes a variety of assessment methods which test the skills and knowledge of the apprentice to ensure they are fully competent in their role.

There are a range of levels of apprenticeship available for those aged 16 and over:

  • Level 2 – equivalent to Intermediate GNVQ or 4-5 GCSE passes, these provide the skills an employee needs for their chosen career and provide a good platform for progression on to an advanced apprenticeship.
  • Level 3 – equivalent to 2 A level passes, these frameworks develop first line management skills and/or advanced technical skills.
  • Level 4 and Level 5 – equivalent to a higher education certificate, higher education diploma or a foundation degree, these qualifications develop advanced level skills, often linked to sector specific management skills.

Induction: Once the learner is recruited, they are allocated a Babcock Vocational Learning Advisor who is responsible for teaching, learning and assessment. All learners receive a comprehensive 12 week induction to assist transition into work or learning. The Induction includes Employment Rights and Responsibilities, Health & Safety, Equality & Diversity and introduces our learning resources and e-learning platforms.

On & Off Job: The majority of apprenticeship learning will be carried out at the apprentice’s main place of work. Learners receive regular face-to-face visits, supplemented with distance learning support and our extensive e-learning platforms. From day one, our delivery model supports the development of each apprentice’s technical, customer service and functional skills over the lifetime of the framework. Guided learning, whether in the workplace or online, is forward planned with the workplace mentor and delivered away from the immediate pressures of the job. Where there are larger groups of learners, we can forward plan group sessions depending on the needs of each employer.

Across the UK we deploy over 1,000 teaching, learning and assessment professionals and support staff who work with our customers to recruit, engage and train apprentices and trainees.  In selecting Babcock as your trusted partner, you can be assured that we will:

  • Develop a partnership approach to supporting your business and your apprentices.  With a range of account management solutions that meet the needs of large and small employers alike, you can be assured that we will communicate with you every step of the way.
  • Deploy a highly qualified team of Babcock Vocational Learning Advisors, Internal Verifiers and managers to deliver the high standards we demand of our apprenticeship programmes and ensure our solutions meet your needs both now and in the long term.
  • Meet our commitment to continuous improvement.  At Babcock we don’t sit still – our ambition and drive ensures we are continuously developing our programmes and harnessing the latest apprenticeship innovations.
  • Develop our programmes in a seamless, integrated and brand focussed way.  We pride ourselves on our ability to operate in partnership with our customers, working closely to deliver jointly agreed objectives and knowing each customer and their environment well enough to be able to anticipate their future requirements.
  • Build great relationships that are built on trust.

We expect all of our employer partners to commit to supporting our apprentices. We ask each employer to appoint a workplace mentor for the learner, and to provide time and support for apprentices through to the completion of their programme.  This includes meeting all requirements of health and safety, equal opportunities and working time directive legislation.

We delivery a variety of qualifications across the Active Leisure, Automotive, Business Administration, Early Years Care, Cleaning, Contact Centre, Customer Service, Adult Care, Hospitality, Management, Retail and Warehousing & Logistics sectors. (Funding differs across the UK’s four nations, so please contact Babcock for further details.)

With an embedded structure of regional teams, you can be sure that we have the right resource to support you from day one.  Our Babcock Vocational Learning Advisors, Internal Verifiers and Regional Management Team will support every aspect of programme delivery, working with you to develop and deliver a solution that meets your needs.  If you are a large employer, our national accounts team can provide an additional level of strategic support, utilising expertise from across our organisation to develop an integrated and employer-led apprenticeship programme.

Babcock is able to draw down government funding across the UK with apprenticeship contracts in place across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. There are some differences between these four nations, with full funding of programmes for eligible learners depending on their age and sector. The funding reforms in England now require larger employers with a pay bill of £3m or more to pay an apprenticeship levy and smaller businesses to co-invest 10% towards apprenticeship training.

To find out more please contact us and we will be happy to discuss how we can develop an apprenticeship solution that meets your needs. (Tel: 0800 731 8199 / email: [email protected]). For non-eligible learners, and for those where no funding is available, we are also able to offer competitive commercial solutions which we would be happy to discuss.

The apprenticeship levy will be a levy on UK employers to fund new apprenticeships. Find out more here.

The minimum you must pay them is determined by the government and currently stands at £3.90 per hour for apprentices under 19 (or over 19 and in their first year of apprenticeship learning). All other apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage for their age.

We can work with you to incorporate your internal training solutions, embedding your standards and ensuring that existing training is not duplicated.

We have the flexibility to balance the demands of the qualification with the needs of business. We have a proven track record of providing learning and assessment outside regular working hours and avoiding peak periods of demand. Our Babcock Regional Trainers will plan visits that fit shift patterns and all visits will be mutually agreed and pre-arranged with the workplace mentor. In between visits our team will keep in regular contact with the apprentice by phone with additional communication by emails and text messages subject to employer and apprentice approval.

Individuals aged 19 or over, living in England, and wishing to study a Level 3 – Level 6 course that is not an Apprenticeship, may need to pay for the cost of their course.

The Advanced Learner Loan is available to those aged 19 and over and covers provision at level 3 through to level 6 (including Access to HE Diplomas and A levels).

Advanced Learner Loans are easy to apply for, don’t take household income into account and don’t involve a credit check. For more information on loans and information on the application process visit the government’s Advanced Learner loans website.

A traineeship combines study and a work placement to develop the range of skills the trainee will need for work, to bridge the gap between their education and starting their career through work preparation training.

Employer responsibilities:

You will need to commit to provide to a high quality work experience placement, lasting at least 100 hours over a six to eight week period.  This should include:

  • Pre-agreed content and objectives between your company, Babcock and the trainee.
  • A structured opportunity for the young person, matched to their areas of interest and aspiration, where they engage in purposeful learning activities rather than observation.
  • Clearly set out behaviour and attitudes expected during the placement for the trainee.
  • A company induction including health and safety.
  • An identified mentor in the business to support the learner and provide regular constructive feedback to develop workplace skills and participation in progress reviews with the learner and Babcock.
  • Employers are not required to pay young people taking part in traineeships but are encouraged to support trainees with expenses such as transport and meals.

Once the young person has finished their traineeship with your company, you will be required to offer:

  • Ideally, an interview for a position within your business if one is available.
  • If no apprenticeship or job opportunity exists within your business, an exit interview together with meaningful written feedback, with a reference or testimonial to help the trainee secure an apprenticeship or employment.

Should there be any problems with the traineeship you should contact Babcock.

Further information about traineeships is available from the National Apprenticeships Service, download their brochure here.

If you are interested in benefitting from a high quality solution we would be delighted to talk to you about our approach to apprenticeships and traineeships and the benefits they can bring. Please contact us on 0800 731 8199 or email [email protected] to discuss your requirements or arrange a meeting with one of our local Babcock Recruitment Advisors who can talk through every aspect of the programme and answer any queries you may have.