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What is an Apprentice?

An apprenticeship is a job with training. Through an apprenticeship, an apprentice will gain the technical knowledge, practical experience and wider skills and behaviours that they need for their immediate job and future career. The apprentice gains this through formal off-the-job training and the opportunity to practise these new skills in a real work environment (on-the-job training).” Education and Skills Funding Agency definition.

The key principle underpinning degree apprenticeships is the use of the workplace as a source of and focus for learning.  This requires the Apprentice to develop reflective and analytical skills.  Thus, a practitioner is developed who not only has the necessary knowledge, skills and competences but is also an independent learner with critical thinking skills that will impact on their future and also potentially on the future of your organisation and its workforce. Work-based learners need to be highly motivated active learners and be able to work autonomously.

The nature of learning at work moves the focus of responsibility firmly into the hands of the learner.  Individual learners are required not only to take responsibility for identifying their learning needs and aspirations but also for managing the learning process.  This will involve the Apprentice engaging with a range of learning experiences, enabling them to interpret, analyse and challenge current thinking and practice.  This will however require a supportive learning environment in the workplace and coordinated facilitation by both the Employer (Workplace Mentor) and the Programme Team (Academic Coach and Personal Tutor).

We will work with you to create graduates with the knowledge, skills and competences as identified in the specific Apprenticeship Standards.  Technical, contextual and behavioural competency development and assessment will be embedded in degree apprenticeship programmes; where relevant being informed by Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) requirements.  We seek, therefore, to produce graduates who display distinctiveness through a sophisticated understanding of the ways in which their organisations operate equipping them for a career in their chosen industry.


Off-the-Job Training (OJT)

Off-the-job training (OJT) is a statutory requirement for an English apprenticeship. It is training received by the apprentice for the purpose of achieving the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the approved apprenticeship. It must deliver new skills that are directly relevant to the apprenticeship standard.

It is not on the job training which is training received by the apprentice for the sole purpose of enabling the apprentice to perform the work for which they have been employed.
OJT can include the following:

• Teaching of theory, e.g. lectures, role play, simulation exercises, online learning
• Practical training, e.g. shadowing, mentoring, industry visits
• Learning support and time spent writing assessments/assignments.

As the employer, you commit to and are responsible for releasing the apprentice (during normal working hours) from their workplace duties to enable them to undertake a minimum of 20% OJT across the duration of the programme.

Please note that if the apprentice is working towards a level 2 qualification in English and/or maths, this is in addition to the minimum 20% OJT.

To find out more, see ESFA funding rules and guidance for employers ‘Off-the-job training’.  There is also a useful flowchart that helps you determine whether an activity counts as off-the-job training and this can be found here.


End-point Assessment (EPA)

The EPA is a holistic and independent assessment of the knowledge, skills and behaviours, which have been learnt throughout an apprenticeship standard. The requirements for EPA are set out in the assessment plan for the specific standard which can be found at the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) web site. An apprentice can only take the EPA once they have:

• Met the minimum duration of an apprenticeship
• Satisfied the gateway requirements set out in the assessment plan and,
• You as employer (in consultation with Northumbria as main provider) is satisfied they have attained sufficient skills, knowledge and behaviours to successfully complete the apprenticeship.

It is expected that all apprentices who fulfil these criteria will undertake EPA and you will support them to do this

Unless the apprenticeship has been identified as an ‘integrated standard’, you will select an end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) to deliver the EPA from the Register of End-point Assessment Organisations (The Register) before the programme starts. Northumbria can do this on your behalf with your written permission.

Although you and the University will be involved in arrangements for EPA, the assessment itself must be independent. Some assessment plans give the employer and the provider specific roles.

Further information which includes roles and responsibilities can be found at the following link ‘Apprenticeship gateway and resits for end-point assessment’.


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