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Contracting and Onboarding

For an apprentice to be eligible they must be in a suitable role which will enable them to gain the technical knowledge, practical experience and wider skills and behaviours applicable to the apprenticeship standard. 

Their job must have a productive purpose and you must provide the apprentice with the appropriate support and supervision to carry out their role and their apprenticeship.  This includes the opportunity to apply and consolidate the knowledge, skills and behaviours gained through off-the-job training.

The University will conduct an initial assessment which must show that:

The individual requires significant new knowledge, skills and behaviours to be occupationally competent in the job role;

The training meets the funding rules relating to the minimum duration of the practical period (12 months) and off-the-job training;

You and the University are satisfied that the apprenticeship is the most appropriate training programme for the individual; and

The training programme aligns with an approved apprenticeship standard, at the most appropriate level, and recognition of prior learning has taken place.

The individual meets the University academic entry criteria of the programme.

More information on 'Programme eligibility' can be found in the Education and Skills Funding Agency funding rules and the University course pages.

Northumbria University are keen to support employers throughout the apprenticeship journey and this begins well before the apprentice themselves will enrol on the programme.

We see apprenticeships as a partnership between the University and the employer and we are keen to understand your organisation, your workforce and the challenges you face and in order to help you determine the right programme for your apprentices. We are keen to support you in developing a workforce in preparation for the challenges of tomorrow, whilst providing opportunity for that competitive edge

Where required this could also include determining the right individuals for those programmes and assist in the decision around recruitment of individuals into new apprenticeship roles. 

The best way to get started is to contact our Business Development team, who can discuss your organisations position and support throughout the full application process. For further information please email: or call: 0191 227 3251 to speak to a member of our team.

We have developed a usefulguide to support you in understanding the key aspects of an apprenticeship.


Full Information on this can be found at Fees, Funding and the Levy.

Please note that an apprentice cannot be asked to contribute financially to the cost of training, on-programme or end-point assessment.  This includes where the apprentice has completed the programme successfully or left the programme early.

See Educationand Skills Funding Agency Apprenticeship funding rules ‘Learner Eligibility’’

If you are not sure about your levy status or about how best to spend your levy, we are here to help. We can help you understand the levy and how it works, including access to your Digital Account. Beyond this, we can help with the decision around which programmes would give your organisation the greatest benefit.

In the initial stage an element of internal selection may be required, for you to understand who would be the best individual for the apprenticeship programme. In some cases we can assist in this internal application process, including potential joint panel selection and interview.

Following the receipt of the Employer Application Form (EAF), which details the employers support for the apprentices participation on the programme the Individual or cohort details are then processed and an application link, application guidelines and Skills Assessment form are sent via email to the apprentice(s). This is to enable the apprentice to complete the Northumbria University application form. As part of the application process for the apprentice, they are required to supply information, including:

  • Personal and Contact Details, to include residency, nationality, country of birth, current address, date of birth
  • Qualification and education detail, including details of Level 2 Maths and English
  • Employment details
  • Personal Statement

An apprentice is also required to complete an Initial Skills Assessment form which allows applicants to provide a greater level of detail of previous academic, professional and work based qualifications and work/professional experience against a prescribed set of knowledge, skills and behaviours. These are individual to each course, and the apprentice is given guidance on how to complete the form.

Once applications are submitted and funding and eligibility checks are made, the application is passed onto a course specific academic lead/workplace coach. The application details and information provided, and the skills assessment are formally assessed by the academic lead/workplace coach in conjunction with a conversation with the apprentice and yourself as employer. The outcome of the assessment is then communicated to the apprentice, and a formal decision letter is sent by email. If a conditional offer has been made, the conditions of the offer will be explained in further detail in the offer letter.

An initial skills assessment is mandatory as per Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) funding rules and also required by Ofsted. Its purpose is to assess and identify what prior learning, experience and qualifications have already been achieved against the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the apprenticeship standard.  All apprentices will undergo an initial skills assessment normally before entry.  The result of the assessment will ensure all learning on the programme is new.  Where it is found apprentices have already acquired some learning delivered as part of the apprenticeship the cost, and in some cases the duration, of the apprenticeship is adjusted accordingly where appropriate, to comply with ESFA funding rules and they may be exempted from studying the relevant content. Initial skills assessment will also be used to determine base-line knowledge and experience at the beginning of the programme with the aim of showing the professional and personal development achieved by the apprentice, from being on the programme. 

Employers are expected to contribute to the initial skills assessment discussion to reach agreement with the University on recognition of prior learning and on how all parties will work together to achieve the apprenticeship. If an employer is unable to attend then the University will send the relevant information after the meeting, for your review and signature. 


Level 2 English and Maths

As part of this assessment, it will also be established whether the apprentice has achieved and can evidence an approved level 2 qualification in English and maths (equivalent to a GCSE minimum Grade C or 4). It is a requirement of ESFA that students undertaking Higher or Degree Apprenticeship programmes must hold and be able to evidence these qualifications prior to passing through gateway and before they can complete End-point assessment.

For any apprentice who does not hold, or is unable to evidence these qualifications, the University provides access to a designated level 2 provider to facilitate an initial diagnostic test, learning support and assessment leading to the required qualification. 

More information can be found at Education and Skills Funding Agency funding rules and guidance for employers ‘Support for English and maths training’.


What documents are required for the apprenticeship to be in place?

  1. Apprentice Training Services Agreement: This document is commonly referred to as the contract.This document is agreed between you and the University prior to the apprenticeship commencing and signed by both parties.
  2. Training Plan: This document sets out how you, the apprentice and the University will support the successful achievement of the apprenticeship, together with responsibilities of each party.You should make sure that the person in your organisation managing the apprentice on a day to day basis is aware of the commitments that have been made.It must be signed by all three parties no later than the beginning of the apprenticeship.
  3. Apprenticeship Agreement: This document is initiated, signed and retained by you as employer and apprentice. It must give details of:

              - the skill, trade, or occupation the apprentice is being trained for

              - the name of the apprenticeship they are working towards

               - the dates during which the apprenticeship is expected to take place

              - The amount of off-the-job training they will receive.

The details must match those in the Training Plan and in the Apprenticeship Account.

A standard template can be found at:

This document must be signed by you and the apprentice at the beginning of the apprenticeship after the Training Plan is signed and a copy must be sent to the University for the evidence pack.

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