Parents & Guardians

Supporting an apprentice

Frequently Asked Questions by

Parents & Guardians

There are many more options available to young people now than ever before. Therefore, making an informed, collaborative decision is very important. Supporting a learner through their apprenticeship journey can make all the difference, but not sure where to start or what is involved ... below we have answered key questions all about apprenticeships, but if you can't find the answer you're looking for please get in touch.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a work-based training programme. Apprentices are paid, employed members of staff who perform their role whilst also learning and training to achieve a nationally recognised qualification at the end of the apprenticeship.

Throughout an apprenticeship, an apprentice will develop and demonstrate the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSB's) needed to perform effectively in a particular occupation, which is defined in the apprenticeship standard.  The apprentice gains these KSB's through:

  • Formal off-the-job training provided and structured by Straight A.
  • On-the-job training provided by their employer - training which equips the apprentice to complete their day-to-day role.
What apprenticeships do Straight A Training Offer?

Straight A Training specialise in the following sectors: Business, Hospitality and Catering, Facilities Management, Learning and Development, Leadership and Management and Marketing.

We deliver apprenticeship standards at levels 2 - 5 (2 being equivalent to GCSE's, 5 being a foundation degree). 

To view the list of apprenticeship standards we offer please click here.

How do apprenticeships work?

An apprentice is employed by a company within the sector that they have chosen to do their apprenticeship with. This company pays their wages, gives them employee rights and provides 'on-the-job' training to perform their role in the workplace (the exact details of the role and training are dependent on the job, on the apprenticeship standard they are working towards and on the sector/industry they are working within). 

Straight A Training provide and support the apprentice with their 'off-the-job' training.  All apprentices are assigned a dedicated tutor from Straight A, who will work with them for the duration of the apprenticeship on a one-to-one basis.

All off-the-job training is completed during the apprentice's normal working hours for the purpose of achieving the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSB's) within the apprenticeship standard. Off-the-job training can include the teaching of theory, practical training, shadowing, mentoring and time spent completing learning support activities and writing assignments.

Is there an age limit on apprenticeships and any prior qualifications needed?

Young people must be 16 years old before starting on an apprenticeship.  

The government have stated that all young people must stay in some form of education or training until at least their 18th birthday, becoming an apprentice complies with this. 

For the majority of apprenticeships there are no formal qualifications needed, however some employers may ask for GCSE Maths and English at a grade 4 and above or A-C. If the apprentice does not have the qualifications at these grades Straight A will work with them to complete Functional Skills Level 2 in both English and Maths. 

A few apprenticeship standards Straight A offer do involve mandatory qualifications, the details for these are stated on the apprenticeship standards page

What will a young person gain?

Apprentices receive valuable training and experiences to progress and succeed in the workplace whilst working towards a nationally recognised qualification.

They benefit from hands on experience and skills development with access to industry professionals and invested managers. An apprenticeship can build invaluable steps to permanent employment, promotions or higher education. 

Apprentices will also learn the practical skills of life such as managing their own money, the routine of the working week and building relationships at work.

The qualification the apprentice will earn is dependent on the level and type of apprenticeship standard they choose.  Apprenticeships have the equivalent educational levels:

  • Intermediate - Level 2 - GCSE
  • Advanced - Level 3 - A-Level
  • Higher - Level 4 & 5 - Foundation degree

Straight A are committed to ensuring young people are aligned with the right apprenticeship standard to benefit the individual's career progression and social mobility. Whilst also ensuring the apprentice will be a good fit for the employer (if recruited).

To view the full list of apprenticeship standards Straight A offer click here.

How much will an apprenticeship cost?

For the apprentice nothing!

The apprentice's employer is accountable for covering the cost of the apprenticeship. How much they pay depends on whether they pay into a government scheme called the Levy Fund. For employers that don’t pay into the Levy Fund they contribute 5% and the government covers the remaining 95%.

With no student loans being required, apprenticeships are a very attractive option for giving young learners a great start to their working career.

How is the apprenticeship delivered and what is EPA?

All learning takes place online; Straight A use an e-portfolio, (One File), therefore communication and correspondence is constant and can be undertaken via this method as well as telephone, WhatsApp, virtual Teams meetings and face to face meetings.  Tutors support and work with apprentices to build a robust relationship, to teach them throughout the programme and to prepare them for their End Point Assessment (EPA).  Straight A supports the learning by working with the apprentice and their line manager to continuously put the apprentice's learning into place and practise within their job role.

All apprenticeship standards culminate with an EPA. It's the final assessment that apprentices have to pass to gain their qualification.  The assessment process and length vary by each standard, but it is always performed by an End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO), often an independent Awarding Body. Straight A make the necessary arrangements between the apprentice and the appropriate EPAO for each standard.

Assessment methods vary from multiple choice tests, practical observations and professional discussions to work-based projects and portfolios. Click here to view the apprenticeship standards Straight A offer and the associated assessment information.

How many hours will they work?

The apprentices' working hours will be stipulated by their employer and will be specified in their employment contract / apprenticeship agreement.

All apprentice employment contracts / apprenticeship agreements will include employee rights such as a salary, holidays, pension etc.

All off-the-job training is completed during the apprentice's normal working hours for the purpose of achieving the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSB's) within the apprenticeship standard. The minimum requirement for apprentices working 30 hours (or more) per week is an average of 6 hours (20%) of off-the-job training per week, for the duration of the apprenticeship. This is a requirement as per the funding regulations and Straight A work with employers to check if this is being adhered to. 

There are regulations about how many hours apprentices can work and being paid overtime. Straight A can give guidance and advice to parents/guardians and apprentices on subjects such as this please just get in touch.

What will they be paid?

The apprentice's employer will decide the rate of pay.

The government minimum rate of pay for an apprentice depends on the apprentice's age and what year of the apprenticeship they’re in. However, for all apprenticeships apprentices have to be paid for:

  • Their normal working hours
  • Training that is part of the apprenticeship (at least 6 hours of their normal working hours)
  • Study towards English and Maths if this part of the apprenticeship

An apprentice's normal working hours will be specified in their employment contract / apprenticeship agreement.

Straight A can give guidance and advice to parents/guardians and apprentices on subjects such as this please just get in touch.

How long do apprenticeships last?

The length of the on programme learning and associated end point assessment process is determined by the specific apprenticeship standard.

A fully funded apprenticeship will take a minimum of 12 months on programme learning. Some apprenticeship standards take 15 months or 18 months. Visit our Apprenticeship Standards page to learn more about each individual qualification or get in touch to discuss them. 

What will they need to do at home? How can I support them?

Please support apprentices by discussing the training and development activities that they are currently undertaking and encourage them to complete any work set by their Straight A tutor.

What will happen after the apprenticeship?

As an apprenticeship training provider, Straight A are very involved in our apprentice's career progression.

The apprentice's employer may offer them a permanent position or a promotion, they may wish to consider higher education, or other new opportunities with their new acquired qualification and experience. Every apprentice's situation is individual, but we are committed to ensuring they are on the right journey for them. 

Is safeguarding included as a part of apprenticeships? What is safeguarding?

Safeguarding is defined as protecting people’s health, wellbeing and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect.

It is the responsibility of Straight A Training to proactively promote safeguarding understanding for all our learners, employers, parents, carers or guardians.  Straight A Training is fully committed to safeguarding the welfare of all stakeholders by taking all reasonable steps to protect them from harm and accepts it's corporate responsibility for the well-being and safety for its stakeholders including children and vulnerable adults.

Straight A Training ensures full compliance with the ‘Keeping children safe in education’ guidance released in September 2021, which was updated in 2022. 

Straight A actively encourage the participation and support of parents, guardians or carers for learners aged 16-18. All learners are required to provide details of an emergency contact. With consent a parental representative is contacted by Straight A to establish a relationship, promote positive safeguarding and also to offer support for any potential concerns.

To read our Safeguarding Strategy please click here.

Who at Straight A Training is a Designated Safeguarding Lead?

The nominated safeguarding representatives Jayne Raftery and Lucy Edwards can be contacted via email or phone 07899 074344 07824 318287.

Learners with any concerns in regards to safeguarding issues raised or their own safety at any stage of their apprenticeship have the opportunity to access a comfortable reporting line/process and/or speak to their Tutor, this is reiterated through information and advice sessions and monthly discussions. They also have access to the Straight A Training safeguarding team, on 01276 469020 or at Alternatively, the nominated safeguarding representatives mentioned above can be contacted directly.