Human Resources

Recruitment & probation

Apprenticeship Guidelines


An Apprenticeship is a framework of work-based learning and accredited training, enabling individuals to learn the skills necessary for their chosen career path while earning at the same time. An Apprentice is an individual who undertakes a formal, accredited training programme in a work based environment. Due to UK Government support and investment, apprenticeships now exist in a wide range of skills and the ‘earn while you learn’ model is increasingly popular among school leavers. Engineering and technical apprenticeships, well established for many years, have now been joined by apprenticeships in for example, Business Administration, IT, Facilities Management and Hospitality.

Find out more by following the Apprenticeships, traineeships and internships link in the sidebar.

Investing in our staff

The strategic aim of the University Apprenticeship framework is to ‘grow our own’ talent, by developing a skilled and motivated workforce to provide essential skills in the future. Apprenticeships also enable the University to contribute positively to the local community and economy whilst developing the skills base within it.

As apprenticeships are a strategic investment in key skills, they are best considered as part of a resource plan over a 2-3 year timeframe, taking into account skills requirements, age demographics, growth in existing services or academic subjects, development into new areas and staff turnover. While there is no guarantee of long term employment after the apprenticeship is completed, the expectation is that the School or Professional Service will enable the apprentice to remain with the University in a suitable role to make the apprenticeship a worthwhile investment.

The University also wants to ensure there is a valued work based route to professional status for aspiring technicians including those who are currently under-represented within the sector such as women, people from a minority ethnic background, the disabled and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The University framework in a nutshell is:

• School or Service identifies apprenticeship opportunities as part of annual budgeting
• HR administers the recruitment and selection process in conjunction with the recruiting manager
• Staff Development advises on appropriate learning providers and delivers the Apprentice Progression Programme to each year’s cohort
• Success measured by appointment to substantive posts, retention rates and impact on age profile

In making a case for apprenticeship(s) in their areas, key questions include:

• What are the priority skills requirements?
• How does this fit with succession planning?
• What range of tasks would you be able to give to an apprentice?
• Who would supervise and mentor them?

If you are a manager and would like to employ an apprentice, please use the guidance on this page. You can also contact your HR Partner for further advice.

In April 2017, the apprenticeship levy was introduced by the government. This will be managed centrally for the university and will be approximately 0.5% of the pay bill. The aim of the levy is to incentivise organisations to recruit more apprentices, as the only way of recouping the levy cost is through apprentice training. It also means that reporting apprentice numbers is critical and the way this will be done is covered later in these guidelines.

More information about the levy can be found via the link:

Find out more by following the Pay Apprenticeship Levy link in the sidebar.

Eligibility - Who can be an Apprentice?

Apprenticeships are available for applicants of all ages, although are mainly intended to support the employment, learning and development of recent school leavers. The amount of Government funding available depends on the age of the applicant and on the level of any previous government funded training undertaken.

The individual can be a new or existing employee and will meet the following eligibility criteria to qualify for UK Government funding in their apprenticeship:

• Over 16 years of age*
• Living in England
• Not in full time education
• Must accept a contract of employment offered after a recruitment and selection process (this is a university requirement)

*For University apprenticeships involving driving duties, the minimum age is 18 for insurance reasons.

Apprenticeship Levels

There are three different levels of Apprenticeship.  

a) Intermediate Apprenticeships (equivalent to five GCSEs grades A-C)

Apprentices work towards work-based qualifications such as an NVQ Level 2, Key Skills and often a relevant knowledge-based qualification such as a BTEC. The apprenticeship is normally 2 years in duration and is suitable for learning intermediate skills in Hospitality, Facilities Management, IT and Business Administration. Candidates will require GCSEs in English and Maths at grade C or above as a minimum.

b) Advanced Apprenticeships (equivalent to two A-level passes)

Advanced apprentices work towards work-based learning qualifications such as an NVQ Level 3, Key Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge-based certificate such as a BTEC. To start this programme, candidates should ideally have five GCSEs or equivalent (grade C or above) or have completed an Apprenticeship at Intermediate level. Engineering and technical subjects are typically taught in an Advanced Apprenticeship over 3 years.

c) Higher Apprenticeships (equivalent to either a Foundation or Bachelor’s degree)

Apprentices on the Higher Apprenticeship programme work towards work-based learning qualifications such as an NVQ Level 4 and, in some cases, a knowledge-based qualification such as a Foundation Degree. To start a higher apprenticeship, individuals need to have entry qualifications typically at level 3 such as A-levels, advanced level diploma, NVQ level 3 or an advanced apprenticeship. Higher Apprenticeships are not currently supported at Loughborough; please contact your HR Partner if you are considering this option.

Please also note Degree Apprenticeships are outside the scope of this framework.

Entry Qualifications

Entry qualifications as well as the length and selection of the most appropriate apprentice framework will be agreed for each apprenticeship dependent on the role and the needs of the School or Service. 

Job family, grade and conditions of service

Apprentices are University employees. They receive a fixed term training contract for the period of the Apprenticeship, which will highlight their additional responsibilities to complete their agreed course of learning, qualifications and work-based training to the required standard in the agreed time. They will be assigned to either the Technical, Administrative or Operational job family with the relevant Conditions of Service as appropriate for their type of apprenticeship.

Apprentices will work a maximum of 37 hours per week, of which 7 hours per week will be typically for day release at College. Apprentices are not permitted to work overtime or take up paid employment in any other University department or associated partner.

In exceptional circumstances where an apprentice has caring responsibilities, a part time apprenticeship can be agreed for a minimum of 16 hours per week. It would be expected that the duration of the apprenticeship would also be extended to ensure that apprentice can complete the programme successfully.

Current employees can be considered for an apprenticeship on the contractual terms offered.

Job description and person specification template

Template Job Descriptions and person specifications for Intermediate and Advanced Apprenticeships are available on this page to assist you in defining your apprentice role.

Please ensure that your description describes the type of apprentice you are employing – e.g. Engineering Apprentice, Business Administration Apprentice, IT Apprentice. This will assist the university’s reporting requirements in relation to the apprenticeship levy and in assigning the correct Conditions of Service.

Start date, salary and probation

As apprentices undertake formal study at a learning provider, it is recommended that they start at the University during August to enable a full induction programme to be completed before they begin their study programme in September.

The starting salary will depend on the type of apprenticeship; the following framework must be followed to ensure fair and consistent salary treatment.
All apprentices aged 16-18 or aged 19 or over in their first year of apprenticeship, are legally entitled to a minimum hourly rate of £3.50/hour.  Thereafter hourly rates increase with age:

The University is an employer of choice in the region and has therefore elected to pay the following hourly rates for an apprenticeship during 2017/18.  The rates will be reviewed annually to ensure we remain compliant with National Minimum Wage rates.

The below rates have been reviewed recently and are with effect from 1 August 2017.

2-year Intermediate Apprenticeship for apprentices aged 16-20

Year Apprentice code Hourly rate Salary
1 AP21 £4.58 £8,805
2 AP22 £5.69 £10,957

3-year Advanced Apprenticeship for apprentices aged 16-20

Year Apprentice code Hourly rate Salary
1 AP31 £5.09 £9,784
2 AP32 £6.10 £11,740
3 AP33 £7.12 £13,697


  1. 1. If the apprentice is aged 21-24 during the second or third year of their apprenticeship, the minimum  hourly rate will be £7.05.
  2. 2. If the apprentice is aged 25 or older during the second or third year of their apprenticeship, the  minimum hourly rate will be £7.50

 The following codes will be used under these circumstances and will be applied following a review in  HR.

Year Apprentice code Hourly rate Salary
2 or 3 and aged 21-24 AP2R1 or AP3R1 depending on length of apprentice contract £7.17 £13,795
2 or 3 and aged 25 or older AP2R2 or AP3R2 depending on length of apprentice contract £7.63 £14,675
  1. If you wish to appoint an apprentice aged 21 years or older, please consult your HR Adviser or Partner to determine the appropriate starting salary.
  2. Progression to Years 2 and 3 of the apprenticeship is subject to satisfactory performance, attendance and completion of learning milestones as confirmed with the learning provider.
  3. An apprentice is subject to a 6-month probation period.

Recruitment and selection

You may advertise and fill your apprentice vacancy using the standard university website and procedures, or you can use the learning provider website. This is normally free of charge and they may be happy to shortlist for you against your essential criteria. If you require any advice on recruiting an apprentice, please contact your HR Partner.

Training and development

Study options

Day or block release to attend the course of study associated with the apprenticeship is part of the employment contract. It forms part of the apprentice’s working time and is included in the 37-hour working week.

Funding for training

The learning provider provides the apprentice’s training and will apply for the appropriate government funding. Our preferred provider is Loughborough College however if you require an apprenticeship learning framework not supported at the College, please contact your Staff Development Partner for assistance in identifying an alternative provider.

The funding amount is dependent on age:

• Age 16 to 18 – Up to 100% of the course costs up to advanced level apprenticeship qualifications,  e.g. higher diplomas.  This is the government’s priority group for Apprenticeships.
• Age 19 to 23 – Up to 50% of their course costs with employers making up the costs
• Age 24 years and older – Funding is limited and employers may have to meet part of or the full cost

Development, Supervision and Mentoring

All apprentices will be automatically enrolled on the Apprentice Progression Programme (APP) creating a cohort each year. The programme is run by Staff Development and focuses on personal and professional development, making the transition from education to employment, understanding how a University works and various networking and team building activities.  It enables the Apprentices to share their experiences and knowledge in a lively and supportive environment that will also stretch and develop their individual skills. The programme is in addition to mandatory Health and Safety, technical and probation training. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to arrange mandatory training.

Apprentices are assigned a supervisor and a mentor and, in accordance with government guidelines, these must be separate colleagues. Supervisors and mentors will receive training from Staff Development in the management of apprentices, to ensure they are confident and well equipped to deliver the role and able to meet the expectations placed upon them by the University.

At the start of an apprenticeship a supervisor will be assigned and will organise the programme of work based training, which will enable the apprentice to complete any agreed qualifications. Ideally a copy of the programme should be issued to the apprentice on their appointment. The programme should be reviewed at least twice a year by the apprentice and the supervisor and amended if necessary. It is likely that the college assessor assigned to the apprentice will also review all learning records to ensure the apprentice is receiving appropriate and adequate work based learning.

The supervisor and mentor both have a vital role in supporting the apprentice, not only with their work based skills development and pastoral care, but also with evidencing opportunities and tasks to meet the agreed learning outcomes, as dictated by their specific framework. 

Conduct, attendance and performance issues

Where there are issues with conduct, attendance or performance, the university and learning provider will work together to deal effectively with these following the relevant University policies and procedures.


Reviewed: Carolyn Kenney - August 2017