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Apprenticeships

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Apprenticeships Drop-In session

Dotty Spenner, the Apprenticeship Lead for Surrey Training Hub, will be available to discuss any questions you may have about apprenticeships. These sessions are open to everyone within Surrey Heartlands and will be held via MS Teams on:

15th July, 1pm-1:45pm, click here to attend

24th July 1pm-1:45pm, click here to attend

There is no need to book your attendance and there’s no agenda. You are welcome to drop-in at any point within the 45-minute length and ask any questions you may have linked to apprenticeships. We recommend you use Google Chrome as your browser to register, as difficulties have been reported when accessing via MS Edge. If you have any difficulties registering please contact Dotty.Spenner@nhs.net

What is an Apprenticeship?

An Apprenticeship is an opportunity to work and study at the same time, enabling individuals to gain experience at the same time as taking nationally recognised qualifications, completing on programme learning and earning a salary.

How do Apprenticeships work?

Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study where learners develop their skills and get experience in a particular sector. Apprentices spend most of their time in work and training on the job and at least 2O% of their working hours completing classroom-based learning with a college, university or training provider which leads to a nationally recognised professional qualification. 

Who can be an Apprentice?

There is no upper age limit for taking an apprenticeship course. Apprenticeships are not just for school leavers, they can be undertaken by anyone over 16 years of age who is not in full time education, whether employed, unemployed or leaving school.

Levels of Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships are available from Level 2 (GCSE equivalent) right through to Levels 6 and 7 (equivalent to a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree).

How long does it take to complete an Apprenticeship?

An Apprenticeship can take between one and five years to complete, depending on the level and type of apprenticeship.

What hours will Apprentice work?

The standard NHS full-time contract is 37.5 hours per week. Apprentices are expected to work a minimum of 30 hours per week to undertake the qualification fulltime. Part-time workers aren't excluded, but must extend the length of time that they study for, to allow all of the learning hours to be included.

What is an Apprenticeship standard?

An Apprenticeship standard is essentially the job role that the apprentice will be training for. The knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) set out within the standard are tailored specifically to an individual to ensure that the Apprentice succeeds within that job role.  

What level and kind of training will Apprentice receive?

Apprentices will be completing an Apprenticeship standard relevant to their job role. This may be a mix of assignments, workshops, review sessions, e-learning and off-the-job training. Anyone completing an apprenticeship will also be allocated an assessor by the Training Provider, who will support and guide them throughout their apprenticeship.

What is off-the-job training (OTJ)?

Off-the-Job Training (OJT) is one of the key requirements for all apprenticeship standards. It is defined as learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of an apprenticeship. It can take place at the apprentice’s normal place of work, but it must not be part of their normal working duties.

How much off-the-job training (OTJ) is required?

The amount of required off-the-job (OTJ) training should be set out at the start of the apprenticeship and recorded in the apprenticeship agreement and the training plan.

This must be a minimum of 6 hours per week for apprentices that work 30 or more hours per week. Working less than 30 hours per week must not be a barrier to completing an apprenticeship, however the length of programme would be extended and the off-the-job learning hours would be 20% of the apprentices usual working hours.

What does off-the-job (OTJ) training include?

OTJ can include a number of activities that can take place on or off the employer’s normal work premises. These can include:

  • Independent research
  • Industry visits (for example visiting other PCNs)
  • Lectures/workshops
  • Team meetings that include training or learning activities
  • Shadowing
  • Coaching sessions
  • Virtual learning led by the employer or training provider (during paid hours)
  • Simulation exercises
  • Supervision with employer
  • One-to-ones
  • Writing assignments
  • Completing ‘Off-the-Job Training Log’ on e-portfolio

What does off-the-job training not include?

  • English and Maths (up to level 2) which are funded separately
  • Training to acquire knowledge, skills and behaviours that are not required in the standard
  • Progress reviews or on-programme assessment needed for an apprenticeship standard
  • Training which takes place outside the apprentice’s paid hours
  • Essential training unless the training meets the requirements of the skills knowledge and behaviours included the apprenticeship standard

Determining whether an activity should be classed as off-the-job training (OTJ):

Off-the-job training is outside of normal working duties. However, it is possible to be undergoing training activities outside of normal working duties while physically at your normal workstation. For example, being taught how to operate new equipment or undertaking e-learning at your desk. To decide whether a training activity constitutes “off-the-job” training, it may be helpful to consider it in comparison to activities undertaken by other staff who are fully occupationally competent.

English and Maths

  • English and Maths are a required component of all Apprenticeships. These are known as ‘Functional Skills’.
  • For Level 2 Apprenticeships - Apprentices must achieve Level 1 English and Maths.
  • For Apprenticeships Levels 3 to 7 - Apprentices need to achieve Level 2 English and Maths (this is Functional Skills or GCSE equivalent).
  • Learners who have already obtained the level required by the apprenticeship will be exempt from undertaking them.

Employer’s responsibilities

As Apprentices are employed for the duration of their Apprenticeship programme, employers are responsible for the day-to-day supervision and mentorship of their Apprentice. In many respects, managing an Apprentice is no different from managing any other member of staff. However, for some Apprentices, this may be their first ever job and they may need additional support to adjust to the workplace.

  • Some of the things that employers are responsible for include:
  • Ensuring there is appropriate job role for Apprentices that is directly relevant to the Apprenticeship programme
  • Pay the Apprentice for the duration of the course (National Apprentice rate as a minimum requirement)
  • Ensuring the Apprentice is provided with 'off-the-job learning' minimum of 6 hrs per week
  • Ensuring apprenticeship funding is in place (Levy OR levy transfer OR government co-investment)
  • Providing a workplace Mentor who will support the Apprentice throughout the course

Mentor’s responsibilities

  • The key purpose of a Mentor is to support the Apprentice to achieve their objectives.
  • Mentor will be there to listen to any concerns or questions and provide advice from their own experiences on how these can be resolved
  • Mentors should also support with Tri-Partite reviews

Apprentice’s responsibilities

  • Attending work regularly and on time and completing duties to an expected standard.
  • Ensuring line manager/ Apprentice Mentor is involved when planning meetings and assessments in the workplace
  • Attending all educational days and completing coursework and assessments related to the apprenticeship in a timely manner.

What is an Apprenticeship levy?

The government Apprenticeship levy is a tax paid by employers. It is then stored in a fund which can be accessed to help pay for apprenticeship training costs.


Levy payers
- All organisations with a wage bill of £3m or over must pay the equivalent of 0.5% of their wage bill into the apprenticeship levy.

Every organisation that pays into the levy also receive funding from the apprenticeship levy, based on their headcount.

Levy contributions appear in their digital account (DAS) which then can be used by employers to arrange and pay for apprenticeship training. The funds can only be spent on training cost or End-point Assessment and are transferred to a training provider via DAS.


Non-levy payers - employers with a payroll under £3 million per year don’t pay into a ‘levy-pot’ and are therefore a non-levy payers.

They can access the apprenticeship levy either via a reservation or levy transfer:

A) Reservation - The government will fund 95% of the course fees and the remaining 5% will be paid by the employer at a monthly rate for the duration of the apprenticeship.
B) Transfer of Levy - Levy transfers are unused levy allocations gifted by organisations and pay 100% of the funding band.

How do you access government funding?

To access and use the government Apprenticeship funding, employers will need to create an Apprenticeships service account (DAS).This is a government online service that allows employers to set up and manage Apprenticeships and here they can reserve Apprenticeship funding.

Who do I contact for more information?

Please email any Apprenticeship-related queries to Surrey Training Hub .

Over the last few years, the range of Apprenticeship programmes has grown considerably. Apprenticeship programmes are now available for a wide range of healthcare roles including to Nursing, Nurse Associate, Practice Management and GP Assistant.

The Surrey Training Hub works with practices to support new and existing staff onto Apprenticeship programmes as well as accessing funding to support education costs through levy transfer.

There are over 600 Apprenticeship programmes available within a range of professional areas. These include clinical and non-clinical qualifications such as:

Clinical Apprenticeships:

Non-Clinical Apprenticeships:


What are functional skills?

Health Education England (HEE) have released an excellent video showcasing the different learning pathways to achieving functional skills English and maths qualifications. It includes information about funded online learning and exams. More information on functional skills can be found here.

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