About apprenticeships

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship involves undertaking a job role which is accompanied by training and the development of technical / essential and transferable skills. It is a way for people of all ages to ‘earn while they learn’, and to achieve a qualification as part of this. Apprentices must be aged 16 or over and be in paid employment for the duration of their apprenticeship.

There is a national minimum wage rate that applies to apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year. All other apprentices are entitled to the minimum wage for their age. Many employers however choose to pay the apprentice more than the minimum wage.

What are Trailblazers?

Trailblazers are employer led apprenticeships developed to replace existing apprenticeships. Each apprenticeship is made up of a ‘Standard’ that includes the knowledge and skills required for a specific job role. This is accompanied by an Assessment Plan which details how the apprenticeship must be assessed, and the quality assurance associated with this.

CMI apprenticeships are all Trailblazer apprenticeships developed by employers led by Serco, in liaison with CMI and a number of Providers.

What will happen to existing apprenticeships?

New apprenticeships are being developed based upon the guidance given to Trailblazers and will be based upon the Standard developed by employers. As and when these are developed they will replace existing apprenticeships (though apprentices on existing apprenticeships will be allowed to complete). The Government has committed to withdrawing all of the old Apprenticeship Frameworks by 2020.

What is happening to apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

The new Trailblazer apprenticeships apply only to England. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the existing apprenticeships will continue to be offered. These are based upon National Occupational Standards (NOS). If an employer based in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland has apprentices whose work time is primarily based in England, that apprentice may be eligible for funding.

What other Trailblazer apprenticeships are available?

All Trailblazer apprenticeships which have been approved for delivery can be found on the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s (ESFA) website here

All Trailblazer apprenticeships under development can be found on the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s website here

How much will the training cost?

The cost of the training will depend on the price of any training, assessment and any qualifications included for each apprenticeship. Employers will negotiate bespoke training packages with their chosen Provider up to the funding cap set by Government (see the section on funding for more information)

Where the agreed price exceeds this cap, employers must pay the difference.

Who is responsible for the quality of apprenticeships?

With regards to the CMDA, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) regulates universities/ higher education providers. The Chartered Management Institute is responsible for the quality assurance around Chartered Manager. Employers are responsible for the quality of on the job training.

A new, independent employer-led body called the Institute for Apprenticeships will be responsible for ensuring the high quality of apprenticeships in England from April 2017. The institute’s role will also be to advise on setting funding caps, approving apprenticeship standards and assessment plans. It will be fully operational by April 2017.

However, where Ofqual regulated qualifications are embedded within apprenticeship standards, Ofqual will continue to be responsible for regulating these. Where professional qualifications are included within apprenticeship standards, their regulation will remain with the professional body. Universities/ Higher Education Providers will continue to be regulated by the QAA.

What is a Degree Apprenticeship?

The Government is supporting a rapidly expanding Higher Apprenticeships programme, where Degree Apprenticeships are the newest model being developed by employer-led trailblazers. Degree Apprenticeships involve employers, universities/ higher education providers and professional bodies in partnership co-designing an apprenticeship to meet full occupational competency and with the inclusion of a degree that provides the full programme of training and assessment for the apprenticeship.

Apprentices are employed throughout, and spend part of their time at university and part with their employer; employers and universities will have flexibility to decide how best to structure this, e.g. via day release or block release.

Apprentices will complete a rigorous end assessment which tests both the wider occupational competence and academic learning required for success in that profession in this case incorporating a bachelor’s degree.

How do the new Trailblazer apprenticeships compare to the old (SASE) apprenticeships?

Old Apprenticeship Framework

New Trailblazer Apprenticeship

Initial assessment of potential apprentice

Initial assessment of potential apprentice

Work-based learning and off the job training

Mandatory qualifications

e.g. NVQ, Technical Certificate

English & Mathematics

Employment Rights & Responsibilities

Personal Learning & Thinking Skills

Work-based learning and off the job training

Technical qualifications not normally mandatory

English & Mathematics qualifications required

Assessment of behaviours

What are the benefits of Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships have a number of benefits for employers, apprentices, and Providers.

  • Apprentices can acquire the skills they need to work and progress within certain roles
  • Apprentices will be employed and paid a wage throughout, will gain a full apprenticeship certificate, and gain a head-start into their chosen profession compared with many of their counterparts
  • Providers can strengthen links with local employers and offer an apprenticeship that meets employer needs
  • Apprenticeships are a tried and tested way for employers to recruit new staff, re-train or up-skill existing staff
  • Productivity is increased over time
  • For levy paying employers – funds that are paid into the Digital Account can be used to upskill any accidental manager, however highly qualified.
  • Training and assessment costs are presently co-funded by the government
  • Employers that pay the levy will be able to use those funds to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment.
  • Employers that don’t pay the levy (or levy paying employers who have used up their payments) will be required to contribute 10% of the cost of training and assessment for apprenticeships.

What apprenticeships do CMI offer?

CMI presently offer apprenticeships at three levels:

  • Team Leader/ Supervisor (level 3)
  • Operational/ Departmental Manager (level 5)
  • Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (level 6)

A level 7 apprenticeship is currently under development.

Does Recognised Prior Learning count towards apprenticeships?

The aim of an apprenticeship is to equip the apprentice with substantial new skills, not to accredit existing skills. That said, an apprenticeship programme may take account of RPL, however the length of any apprenticeship programme must be reduced to account for this (note that apprenticeships must be of at least one year duration).Funding must not be claimed for knowledge and skills that the apprentice already holds.

What if an apprentice withdraws/ fails to finish, or can places be deferred?

If an apprentice withdraws the funding will stop for that apprentice from the point that they withdraw. If an apprentice wants or needs to take a break, funding will stop during the break in learning which may be resumed at a later date. The ESFA must be notified of this as a temporary withdrawal.