Apprenticeships explained

For employers

Frequently Asked Questions by


Whether your company has experience with apprenticeships or are just starting out, Straight A are here to support you as an employer and equip you with the correct information and advice.  

Below we have answered key questions about apprenticeships, but if you can't find the answer you're looking for please simply get in touch.

How do apprenticeships work?

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) they need 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 you the employer. Training which equips the apprentice to complete their day-to-day role.
How do apprenticeships benefit my business?

Apprenticeships benefit employers and organisations in many ways.

These are some key statistics taken from the National Apprenticeship Service Survey:

  • Effective training - 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation.
  • Increased productivity - 78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity.
  • Improved product/customer service - 74% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service.

Other key benefits include:

  • Cost effective training through the government funding scheme.
  • The opportunity to grow and develop a motivated, skilled, qualified and committed workforce.
  • A workforce who are constantly learning and applying new skills through the role-specific development standards.
  • The ability to tailor the apprenticeship training to the needs of your business.
  • The advantage of attracting new talent or ability to retain, develop and upskill existing employees.
  • The assistance of reaching people from diverse backgrounds helping to open up opportunities for all and equally to give diversity to your workforce.
What apprenticeships do Straight A Training Offer?

Straight A 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.

Why should I use Straight A Training as my training provider?

Employers can only spend their levy funds on apprenticeship training delivered by an approved training provider. As an approved training provider Straight A are subject to the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) quality arrangements and Ofsted inspections. 

We have over 24 years experience in delivering quality training and apprenticeships and were rated as 'Good' by Ofsted in our most recent inspection in 2020.

With an in-depth knowledge of funding Straight A can help employers to identify learning needs and then deliver cost effective, and funded or bespoke learning.

We are experts in our field and pride ourselves on ensuring we identify the right apprenticeship standard to benefit the individual's career progression and social mobility but also importantly the training needs and goals of the employer.

What is the process for taking on an apprentice?

If you are looking to recruit an apprentice Straight A can help you find the right apprentice for your business. Simply get in touch via phone, email or live webchat on our contact page and we will discuss the process with you.

If you have an existing employee you would like to start on an apprenticeship standard, please get in touch to discuss your individual requirements. 

Straight A have strong and robust relationships with all employers we work with. We provide a range of services from helping with recruitment needs and funding knowledge to setting up a DAS account and the process of onboarding an apprentice, including completing their Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).


Who is eligible?

Apprenticeships standards have been designed for every level from school leavers (aged 16+) to university graduates, people who want to further their career or change career direction completely (there is no upper age limit!)

Apprenticeships can be used to recruit for a role or used to upskill an existing employee.

For the majority of apprenticeships there are no formal qualifications that apprentices need, however you can stipulate if you would prefer for recruited apprentices to have GCSE Maths and English at a grade 4 and above or A-C. If apprentices do not have the qualifications at these grades Straight A will work with them to complete their Functional Skills Level 2 in both English and Maths.

To discuss the individual situation for your company/organisation please contact us by clicking here and we can advise the best route based on your requirements.

How does the apprenticeship funding work?

All employers can get help paying for apprenticeship training. The amount is dependent on whether you pay the apprenticeship levy or not.

In 2017 the UK government introduced the Apprenticeship Levy meaning all employers paying a wage bill of more than £3 million per year are required to pay 0.5% of their payroll each month as a levy tax. This levy can then be reinvested back into your workforce in the form of Apprenticeship training.

If your wage bill is less than £3m annually, you do not pay into the levy.  You are able to co-fund apprenticeships by paying just 5% of the cost.  The UK Government pay the remaining 95% to fund your apprentices. If the apprentice is aged 16-18, and your organisation has less than 50 employees the government will pay 100% of the funding.

Straight A have an in-depth knowledge on funding, the levy rules and the process for setting up an account through the DAS (Apprenticeship Service) site where levy pots are managed. We will work with you to navigate through these processes and support you with a dedicated plan to make best use of the funds available. Please get in touch here to discuss your individual requirements.

How are the apprenticeships delivered?

All learning takes place online; we 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 apprentices and their line managers to put the necessary learning into place and practise within their job role, and to achieve the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSB's) of the apprenticeship, and ultimately EPA.

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.

How much time does the apprentice need to complete their work?

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 their apprenticeship. This is a requirement as per the funding regulations.

An apprentice's 'off-the-job' training is defined as learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment but within contracted work hours for the purpose of achieving the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSB's) within the apprenticeship standard.  Off-the-job training is provided and structured by a dedicated Straight A tutor on a one-to-one basis. Off-the-job training can include the teaching of theory, practical training, shadowing, mentoring and time spent completing learning support activities and writing assignments.

Employers are responsible for all 'on-the-job' training in order for the apprentice to perform their day-to-day role in the workplace.

How are the apprenticeships assessed?

All apprenticeship standards culminate with an End Point Assessment (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.

What are my responsibilities as an employer and how can I support an apprentice in the workplace?

As an employer your responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Ensuring there is a genuine job required with a contract that will last at least the length of the apprenticeship (the time required is dependent on the specific apprenticeship standard). 
  • The job role must allow the apprentice to develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours set within the specific apprenticeship standard.
  • All legal requirements in terms of Health and Safety, Equal Opportunities and working hours are adhered to.

As an employer you can support and help an apprentice to succeed in many ways:

  • Allow the learner to complete their 6 hours (20% of work hours) of off-the-job training during their contracted work hours. This is non-negotiable as per the funding regulations. 
  • Teach and demonstrate job specific skills on-the-job. 
  • Support learners by giving them a mentor and/or ensuring their line manager understands the extent of the apprenticeship programme.
  • Be available for feedback reviews. An integral part of the apprentice's learning journey is the completion of tripartite apprenticeship progression reviews. These take place once every 3 months and include the apprentice, their manager and their tutor at Straight A.