Thought that apprenticeships were just for school leavers or were recruited into companies?

Many businesses do not realise that adult employees are training through the apprenticeship programme. In 2014, 151,680 apprentices were aged 25 or older, with 2,480 aged 60 or more. There is huge policy interest in apprenticeships but what does this mean for businesses?

Apprenticeship standards

Over the past few years, a growing number of employer networks have formed to define the skills, knowledge and, in most cases, the behaviours required by particular jobs. These networks, called Trailblazers, produce documents known as the Apprenticeship Standards. They then design an assessment scheme to ensure that Apprenticeships deliver the skills and abilities outlined in each Standard.

Positively, the new Apprenticeship Standards very directly reflect the skills that employers need, because it is they who have collectively defined the Standards. This should mean that workers trained to the new Standard are guaranteed to be able to gain work in their chosen role for any employer regardless of where they trained. In addition, in many sectors, their training will ready them for professional registration which, if pursued, will add a further string to their bow!

Why is this ideal for upskilling your current team?

There will be a team of industry experts to support you and your employee – you could consider this free consultancy as the qualifications are vocational which means that real problems and issues in your business will be solved leading to increased productivity and efficiencies (great for the bottom line!).

They stay on the same terms and conditions of employment and you must allow them to attend courses during the working day.

There are two options for existing staff:

Higher Apprenticeships 

Higher Apprenticeships offer a work-based learning programme and lead to the following nationally recognised qualifications:

• Level 4 and 5 – equivalent to a higher education certificate, higher education diploma or a foundation degree or

• Level 6 – equivalent to a bachelor degree

Higher Apprenticeships are currently available in the following sectors: Business & IT, Construction, Creative, media & the arts, Customer service & retail, Energy, Engineering & electrical, Finance, Health & care, Hospitality & travel, Manufacturing, processing & logistics, Public services and Vehicles & transport.

Over 40 different subjects are currently covered, representing hundreds of job roles.

Degree Apprenticeships 

Degree Apprenticeships are designed by industry to bring together the very best in higher and vocational education. Apprentices achieve a full Bachelor’s or Master’s degree as a core component of the apprenticeship.

On a Degree Apprenticeship, your employee will be tested on your academic learning, as well as wider skills and ability to do a job. Your employee will be assessed either using a fully-integrated degree co-designed by employers and higher education institutions, or using a degree plus a separate end-test of professional competence.

The Government is committed to expanding the number, range and quality of apprenticeships that offer training to degree level and many more are currently being developed and will be available as industry demands them. If you are interested in finding out wether this could be a solution for your business my recommendation is to contact Cornwall’s Skills Hub for free advice.

The Skills Hub can help you decide if an apprenticeship is right for your business and support you in finding funding and find the right training provider.

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Written by: Mel Colton-Dyer
Mel is Chief Operating Officer of the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, delivery partner of the Skills Hub.



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