An apprenticeship standard sets out the skills, knowledge and behaviours required of apprentices. They also show what an apprentice will be doing in their day-to-day job role.

Groups of employers, called ‘trailblazers’, develop apprenticeship standards. They started development in 2015 as part of the UK Government’s apprenticeship reforms and replaced the old system of frameworks, which was phased out completely in 2020. Apprenticeship standards represented a shift from assessment to learning and put the employers in control by allowing them to map out a clear career path for an apprentice based on the skills and knowledge required in particular industries. 

Apprenticeship standards mandate the 20% off-the-job training requirement. Therefore, training providers should work with employers to plan the learning activity that takes place outside of the apprentice’s time spent working. 

Most apprenticeship standards don’t include mandatory qualifications, but employers and training providers tend to offer qualifications so that apprentices have a recognised outcome. Apprentices must also undertake an independent assessment at the end of their training to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and behaviours, ensuring this is in line with those outlined in the apprenticeship standard. 

Apprenticeship standards represented a shift from assessment to learning and put the employers in control.

What about the different levels of apprenticeship?

There are separate apprenticeship standards for similar jobs, as even some job titles sound similar, the skills, knowledge and behaviours required will different. For example, the apprenticeship standard of Adult Care Worker is a Level 2 apprenticeship whereas the apprenticeship standard of Lead Adult Care Worker is a Level 3 apprenticeship.  

Each apprenticeship standard will set out which level of qualification it matches to, the typical length of the programme and also the maximum amount of funding an employer can receive per apprentice on that standard. 

Choosing an apprenticeship standard 

Employers should conduct a review of what skills, knowledge and behaviours they require from apprentices and match these with the apprenticeship standards available. Then, employers should use the search function on Find A Training Provider to discover the training providers that are able to provide training for apprentices on that particular standard. 

A conversation will take place that covers the topics of how training will be delivered – on-site or in block or day release – and also on how the training will be audited and recorded. Employers are able to filter by type of training provided, if they already have a preference  prior to searching. Employers are also able to search by location on Find A Training Provider.