About apprenticeships

An apprenticeship is a genuine job that includes relevant training and skills development. Open to both new and existing employees of all ages, they equip apprentices with the technical knowledge and skills needed to progress in their careers and make them an invaluable asset to your organisation.

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are a great way for your staff to:

  • Get relevant work experience
  • Gain a recognised qualification
  • Earn a wage.

Apprenticeships benefit both the apprentice and their employer, they provide the skills that your organisation needs and so enhance economic productivity. Apprentices do not pay towards the cost of the apprenticeship tuition fees - this is paid for by you via the apprenticeship levy if you are a levy payer and co-funded 95% via the apprenticeship levy is you are a non-levy payer.’

86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation, while 78 per cent said apprenticeships improved productivity - Employer guide to apprenticeships (PDF).

How does it work?

All apprenticeships help apprentices acquire knowledge, skills and behaviours that are set out in an apprenticeship standard. There are three parts to every apprenticeship:

  • A programme of study
  • A paid job
  • An assessment at the end of the programme.

The minimum duration of an apprenticeship is 12 months and can last up to six years depending on the apprenticeship standard. An apprenticeship takes longer to complete than a full-time degree because of the commitment on contracted working hours.

A programme of study

Apprentices spend at least 20 per cent of their contracted work hours participating in off-the-job training that is directly relevant to their apprenticeship (e.g. virtual online learning and attending face-to-face lectures).

A paid job

Apprentices spend 80 per cent of their time involved in on-the-job training to help them develop the skills needed for their chosen career in a job role related to their apprenticeship.

An assessment at the end of the programme

This is called an end-point assessment (EPA), often with a professional body such as the Chartered Management Institute.

Apprenticeship standards

Apprenticeship standards are developed by employer groups and approved by government to outline what work and study your apprentice will be undertaking and what is required to perform a specific job role. These standards are available at various levels up to PhD. At Surrey, we provide the educational aspects of degree apprenticeships at Level 6 and above:

Name Level Equivalent education level
Degree 6 Bachelors degree level
Degree 7 Masters degree
Degree 8 Postgraduate doctoral degree (PhD)

View a list of all levels on GOV.UK.

Apprenticeship standards also include an assessment plan, which explains how the apprentice will be assessed. Once they reach the end of their formal training they will complete the EPA, which is often linked to professional bodies, enabling them to gain professional recognition.

To view a list of all approved and upcoming apprenticeship standards visit the Institute of Apprenticeships website.