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Apprenticeship qualifications

Would you like a qualification to formally recognise the skills and knowledge you have and/or are developing in your current role?

Apprenticeship qualifications are available to all staff, not just employees recruited into an apprenticeship role.

Who this applies to

Any member of staff can undertake an apprenticeship qualification. If you are in a temporary post, your contract must be long enough to cover the length of time you'll take to achieve your qualification.

How does it work

You'll continue to work in your current role, while working towards your qualification.

You must find a suitable qualification that complements your current role and meets a business need.

Choosing a qualification

Types of qualification

There are 6 different qualification levels available with an apprenticeship:

  • Level 2 - equivalent to 5 good GCSE passes
  • Level 3 - equivalent to 2 A level passes
  • Level 4 - equivalent to a foundation degree
  • Level 5 - equivalent to higher education qualifications such as diplomas
  • Level 6 - equivalent to a degree with honours
  • Level 7 - equivalent to a masters degree

You can find a qualification by logging in to our course finder via the link below, selecting apprenticeships from the 'category' dropdown menu and browsing our range of qualifications.

Find a qualification

How to identify a suitable qualification

To find a suitable qualification you must consider the following:

Knowledge, skills and behaviours

Each qualification contains a list of knowledge, skills and behaviours. These are most likely to be familiar tasks that you would do in your every day role.

To receive formal recognition of your ability, your apprenticeship qualification will require you to demonstrate that you can carry these tasks out to the required standard.

End point assessment plan

This plan, available for every apprenticeship standard, sets out how you will achieve your qualification.

It is useful to familiarise yourself with this information before you discuss undertaking the qualification with your manager.

This can be found by logging on to our course finder via the link below, selecting apprenticeships from the 'category' dropdown menu and navigating to your chosen qualification.

Find a qualification

Start dates and completion period

Each qualification takes a set amount of time to complete, and most have a rolling start so you can begin learning at almost any time. You also need to be aware that if you:

  • are in a temporary post, your contract must be long enough to cover the length of the qualification
  • work part time, you may need to extend the length of time you are studying so you have enough time to complete all the learning tasks
  • work part time and/or flexi-time, you might need to be more flexible with your working hours to fit around any required taught sessions

Business need

Any learning and development must meet certain needs of your team or service area, such as:

  • addressing recruitment and retention challenges
  • upskilling in light of business transformation
  • supporting succession planning (workforce needs for the future) arrangements

When you discuss your chosen qualification with your manager, they will be able to help you identify if it will meet a business need.

How an apprenticeship works


An outline of what you will learn and how your learning and skills will be assessed is available for each qualification.

This can be found by logging on to our course finder via the link below, selecting apprenticeships from the 'category' dropdown menu and navigating to your chosen qualification.

Find a qualification

The assessment can vary depending on the apprenticeship subject but could include both academic learning, for instance if the qualification is a degree, and occupational competence, such as your ability to carry out the job role and the tasks within.

You will be required to evidence your learning each week, and will be assessed throughout your apprenticeship qualification and at the end.

Where you will undertake your apprenticeship qualification

Most of your apprenticeship qualification will be undertaken while you are in the workplace. You will be focusing on how to evidence that you can successfully carry out the tasks you need to do in your usual role.

There will also be training elements that maybe delivered virtually or require attendance at college or university.

English and maths

If you are undertaking an apprenticeship qualification that is level 3 or above (equivalent to A levels or higher), you must also be able to evidence level 2 (minimum GCSE Grade C or equivalent) English and maths qualifications at the end of your apprenticeship qualification.

Don't worry if you do not already have these qualifications, we will support you to gain them. If you'd like to discuss this further, email the apprenticeship team.

Evidencing your learning

How learning time is decided

While undertaking your apprenticeship qualification, a minimum of 6 hours of your contracted hours must be spent learning. This is known as 'off the job training'.

The types of tasks you undertake will need to be discussed and agreed with both your manager and your training provider.

Your manager will need to make sure any tasks you undertake benefit the wider team or service.

Once this has been agreed, a written 'commitment statement' will be created and must be read and signed by all 3 parties.

Learning time could include:

Theory based learning

Theory based learning includes:

  • classroom-based activities at college or university for 1 day a week (day release) or a block of time, such as 1 week every term
  • eLearning packages as necessary for the role
  • online lectures, virtual forums or webinars
  • using specialist equipment on site, such as within a school, depot workshop or care setting, with instruction from training provider or mentor

Here are some theory based learning examples:

Zoe, Data Analyst (level 4)

Zoe's apprenticeship qualification has 12 separate units, she'll be completing 1 each month.

Her training provider has outlined how many hours she should spend on each unit. In unit 1, she must spend 3 hours with a tutor, do 3 hours of self study (online tasks), and then split the remaining 23 hours completing a combination of theory and practical tasks.

Tanya, Chartered Manager Apprenticeship Degree (level 6)

Tanya is taking a degree level apprenticeship qualification.

She attends university 1 day a week during term time. This equals her full 20 per cent learning time. Outside of term time, she spends the equivalent of 1 day a week creating a portfolio of evidence. This includes assignments, a reflective journal log, and workplace projects and observations.

At the end of her apprenticeship qualification, she will achieve the apprenticeship standard in her subject (Chartered Manager), plus a degree (such as BA Hons Leadership and Management).

Jenny, Civil Engineering Technician (level 3)

As part of Jenny's apprenticeship qualification, she has to attend some sessions that are taught in the evening. As these are outside of her core working hours (9am to 5pm) she leaves work 2 hours earlier on a Friday afternoon instead.

Matt, Civil Engineering Apprenticeship Degree (level 6)

Matt works full time. His apprenticeship qualification includes a 4 year practice focused engineering degree.

At the start of each year, he attends a 2 day tailored induction at the university, then a further 2 days per term at university to consolidate learning and assess progress. The rest of his degree is delivered through online distance learning.

He also participates in a dedicated virtual forum with peers each week and can access virtual seminars, academic resources and case studies. Other tasks include sharing experiences with peers and project work. A work based trainer supports him with his studies and observes him at work. This helps to inform academic learning and assessment processes.

Practical based learning

Practical based learning includes:

  • working alongside colleagues observing how tasks are carried out
  • attending meetings with colleagues as an observer
  • attending conferences
  • working with a coach or mentor to identify practical ways forward when handling a situation
  • work placements with other teams in your service area
  • attending site visits with colleagues
  • stepping up for a colleague or manager to help with their workload, succession planning, or in their absence
  • completing short projects or internal consultancy for a team or service
  • job swaps

Here are some practical based learning examples:

Grant, Arborist (level 3)

As part of his apprenticeship qualification, Grant attends a block week of training at the training provider's site.

He spends the remainder of his allocated learning time shadowing colleagues and carrying out agreed tasks (under supervision). Sometimes he also has in-house training. He documents all of his learning time in a learning log and discusses this with his supervisor and assessor at a monthly face-to-face meeting.

Scott, Teacher (level 6)

Scott spends part of his training delivering services at different sites to where he is usually based. This is to support the wider workforce. He records his learning time in his learning log. He also details how learning varies from site to site, and in different teams, even though he is working for the same employer.

Natalie, Adult Care Worker (level 2)

Natalie doesn't have a regular place of work as her role is field-based. She also works part time.

As part of her apprenticeship qualification, the provider delivers training in the workplace. She is also visited regularly by assessors who carry out work-based observations. In between assessment visits, Natalie is building a portfolio of evidence to show how she is applying her learning.


This could be time spent with a mentor, coach or assessor discussing:

  • your work
  • research for your project
  • improvements you could make
Recording your learning

Learning time can be recorded flexibly, it may be:

  • within the working day
  • completed per week, such as 1 day a week at college or university
  • divided over the course of the qualification, such as by a block week of study

You must document any learning using a diary or learning log. Your training provider will give you guidance on this.

It is recommended that this learning log is monitored in one-to-one meetings, or through supervision between your manager/mentor and you.

Tasks that do not count as learning time

You cannot count the following towards learning time:

  • completing the English and maths training and assessment. This must be completed within the workplace in addition to the apprenticeship qualification
  • any training that has taken place outside of paid working hours and has not been taken back as lieu time.

How to apply

Please talk to your line manager about opportunities for training and gaining a qualification.

Once you have their agreement, log on to our course finder via the link below, select apprenticeships from the 'category' dropdown menu and navigate to your chosen qualification. When selecting apply on the course finder, you are registering your interest for that apprenticeship qualification. A member of the apprenticeship team will contact you to discuss your requirements and answer any questions you may have.

Apply for a qualification

If you have any questions in the meantime or if you cannot find the qualification you'd like, email the apprenticeship team.


What is the difference between an apprenticeship qualification and an NVQ?

Apprentices used to complete an NVQ (national vocational qualification). These have now been replaced by the apprenticeship standards.

Apprenticeship standards operate in a similar way to NVQs.

Can I still undertake an apprenticeship qualification if I have equivalent or higher qualifications in another subject?

Yes, as long as your apprenticeship qualification is in a subject that is substantially different to the qualifications you already hold.

You need to demonstrate that you will genuinely learn new skills and knowledge during your apprenticeship qualification.

Can I undertake an apprenticeship qualification to change my career or become a manager?

Unfortunately, the format of apprenticeship qualifications do not enable you to train for a role you are not currently undertaking.

For instance, to undertake a social work degree apprenticeship you must already be employed in a social work role.

If you wish to become a manager, there may be other training options better suited to your current role that do not require you to be managing staff on a daily basis. These can be found by logging on to the course finder and selecting leadership and management from the 'category' dropdown menu.

Visit our course finder

Is my salary affected while I undertake an apprenticeship qualification?

No. As an existing member of staff your salary would not change while undertaking the qualification.

Do I have to contribute anything financially to an apprenticeship qualification?

An apprenticeship (training) levy fund is available to cover the cost of apprenticeship qualifications for both new and existing staff.

There may be a requirement to purchase textbooks, uniform, PPE, professional body membership fees, exam fees and so on. Unfortunately, the cost of these cannot be met by the levy so would have to be negotiated with your manager or service. We try to find out any extra fees before you enrol on the programme so that you and your manager are aware of these costs.

Can I undertake training or study outside of work hours?

Yes, you can choose to undertake extra training or study outside of working hours (paid employment).

However, you may wish to discuss the possibility of taking this back as lieu time with your manager first, so that you can use some of the extra training or study as evidence of your agreed 20 per cent learning time.

What happens if I move jobs while undertaking an apprenticeship qualification?

If you move to a new role within the council, you may be able to continue with your qualification if you can still demonstrate the skills and behaviours required.

If you leave the council however, we will no longer be able to fund the qualification (although your new employer may be able to pick up the remaining costs).

Not found what you are looking for?

Email the apprenticeship service to find out more about apprenticeship qualifications.


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