Employee apprenticeships

Apprenticeship programmes combine work, training, and studying. Perceptions of apprenticeships as an entry level and trade-based courses persist, yet this couldn’t be further from today’s reality. Apprenticeships have moved on from what they used to be and now present an exciting option for both the apprentice and employer.

Apprenticeships enable employers to future proof their business by developing and growing a more qualified workforce with the skills relevant to their sector and programmes tailored to the specific needs of their organisation.

Who are apprenticeships for?

The University is keen to support new and existing employees through apprenticeship standards. Apprenticeships are for everyone regardless of age, work experience or job level.


The introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017 gives employers the opportunity to develop their workforce using apprenticeships, that are fully funded by the levy. That means the levy pays for 100% of the apprenticeship training and assessment.

Apprenticeship standards

There are a huge range of standards available, from entry level to higher and degree levels.

Name Level Education Level 
Intermediate 5 GCSE passes at grade A*-C or 9-4
Advanced 2 A Level passes / Level 3 Diploma / International Baccalaureate
Higher 4, 5, 6 and 7  Foundation degree and above
Degree 6 and 7 Bachelor's or Master's degree

There are apprenticeships in lots of areas that are relevant to our business - below are just a few examples:

  • Business analysis
  • Project management
  • HR support
  • Business admin
  • Accounts
  • Customer service
  • Team and senior leadership
  • Library information and archive services
  • Digital support

Browse the standards and see what’s available.

Eligibility criteria 

Apprenticeships are a potential training option for both new and existing staff.

However, as they are government funded programmes, there are a number of eligibility criteria that an individual employee would need to meet to be considered a suitable applicant for an apprenticeship programme.  These would include that the individual:

  • has full line management commitment in support of the application and the training (including support for the on-the-job training element, regular progress reviews, and the off-the-job training requirement which could involve day release/attendance once a week at the training provider's premises);
  • is fully committed to putting in the time and effort required to complete all requirements of the apprenticeship programme in a timely fashion, right through to, and including, the End Point Assessment (EPA);
  • is interested in an apprenticeship standard that has been fully approved and there is good quality local provision available; 
  • has a contract of employment with the University of Essex or one its wholly owned subsidiaries, that covers at least the duration of the apprenticeship programme (including the EPA);
  • does not hold a higher qualification in the same subject area as the apprenticeship;
  • has scope to acquire substantive new learning and skills from undertaking the programme;
  • is not currently in any other form of government funded education (school, college or university);
  • has a valid and eligible residency status;
  • has a job role where the main duties provide adequate opportunity to meet all the knowledge, skills and behaviour requirements of the occupational standard;
  • can evidence holding a level 2 qualification in English and maths, or be committed to achieving these in advance, or alongside, their core programme;
  • can meet any additional apprenticeship standard/training provider/employer specific programme entry requirements.

'Off-the-job' and 'on-the-job' training

During an apprenticeship, an apprentice will receive two different types of training.

‘On-the-job’ training is training delivered by us, as their employer, for the sole purpose of enabling the apprentice to perform the work for which they have been employed. It will include skills and knowledge that fall outside of the apprenticeship, but which are needed for the job role. 

'Off-the-job training' is training which is received by the apprentice within their practical period, during the apprentice's normal working hours, that sits outside day-to-day work duties. It will teach the knowledge, skills and behaviours set out in the relevant apprenticeship standard so the apprentice can achieve occupational competence. 

New full-time apprentices (that started after 1st August 2022 and work at least 30 hours per week) must spend at least 20% of their normal working hours on off-the-job training. For calculation purposes only, working hours are capped at 30 hours a week and this equates to an average of 6 hours of off-the-job training per week (i.e. 20% of 30 hours). 

If an individual works less than 30 hours per week, they are considered to be a part-time apprentice and their programme must be extended (as per the apprenticeship funding rules). Then, at least 20% of the part-time apprentice's normal working hours, over this extended duration, must be spent on off-the-job training.

Off-the-job training CAN include the following:

  • The teaching of theory (eg. workshops and online learning);
  • Practical training, shadowing, mentoring, industry visits, where the activity has been agreed and documented as part of the agreed training plan; or
  • Learning support and time spent writing assignments.

It CANNOT include:

  • English and maths up to level 2 study, where it is being undertaken;
  • Time spent on initial assessment and onboarding activities; Training to acquire knowledge, skills and behaviours that are not required buy the apprenticeship standard;
  • Progress reviews or on-programme assessments; or
  • Training which takes place outside the apprentice's normal working hours (unless the apprentice has been paid for these additional hours or been given time off in lieu).

More guidance on off-the-job training is available

Wherever possible, training providers and employers should work together to ensure that on- and off-the job training is complimentary and well co-ordinated.

Useful forms, templates and process maps

Recruiting a new apprentice

Upskilling existing staff

  • Process flowchart - for existing staff member/line manager to follow to allow for an application for a levy funded apprenticeship
  • Application form - for use by line managers and individual staff to apply to start an apprenticeship (to be funded through the University of Essex's Employee Apprenticeship Scheme) (.doc)

Key documents relating to all staff apprentices

Employee apprentice information and resources

End Point Assessment Methods Explained - short video produced by the Institute for Apprenticeships

Apprentices and Employers: Preparing for End Point Assessment - A short video produced by ESFA

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Contact us
Claire Cross Employee Apprenticeships Manager
Telephone: 01206 872596