Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find answers to the questions we get asked the most about apprenticeship standards.
Why are Registered Nurse or Allied Health Professional Apprentices Supernumerary?
All Apprentices must have an apprenticeship agreement. This sets out how long you’ll employ them for, the training you’ll give them, their working conditions, the qualifications they are working towards. The apprentice agreement covers all the hours they are employed and undertaking the training (both on and off the job) toward the competence in the named occupation. In the case of healthcare professional programmes such as nursing and allied health professions, the position can be slightly confusing because during the ‘training’ which includes the practice placements the apprentices must be supernumerary. This effectively means that when the individual is undertaking any practice learning hours as part of their apprenticeship agreement they must be in addition to the usual staffing arrangements. Both the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) provide guidance on this matter:
For Nurses the NMC state:
“Programme providers must ensure that students are supernumerary during all practice learning. Supernumerary means that the student will not, as part of their programme of preparation, be contracted by any person or body to provide nursing care”. (NMC 2010)
For Allied Health Professional the guidance from HCPC is as follows:
Although the term supernumerary is not specifically used within HCPC guidance due to the nature of AHP placements, however the HCPC standards for education and training specify: “There must be an adequate number of appropriately qualified and experienced staff at the practice placement setting” (HCPC 2009 5.2) and “the practice placement settings must provide a safe and supportive environment” (HCPC 2009 5.3). This ensures that learning, teaching and supervision are designed to encourage “safe and effective practice, independent learning and professional conduct” (HCPC 2009 5.4). By implication, AHP students are therefore extra to the established workforce in a specific placement location.
If an employer wishes to employ the apprentice nurse or AHP part time in some other role these hours are not supernumerary. However, these hours would be outside of the apprenticeship agreement and require a separate contract of employment e.g. as a Senior Healthcare Support Worker. These hours would not be counted toward practice learning hours required for programme (apprenticeship) completion.
What is the difference between an Apprenticeship Framework and an Apprenticeship Standard?
The key differences are outlined below. These elements are non-negotiable:
Apprenticeship Frameworks Apprenticeship Standards Written by Framework Developers (eg Skills for Health); informed by employer groups Written by employers (sometimes supported by Sector Skills Councils or other stakeholders) Statutory documents written in line with the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE) and to a fixed template Standards are written to a fixed template as outlined in the apprenticeship builder Issued and managed by Issuing Authorities (eg Sector Skills Councils) Managed by employers. Approved by the Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education; become Crown Copyright Qualifications-based approach Qualifications can only be included if trailblazers can evidence that a qualification is required for registration, regulatory or license to practice purposes or if the Apprentice would be significantly disadvantaged in the job market without a qualification Employee Rights and Responsibilities and Personal Learning and Thinking Skills n/a Maths and English
If not already achieved prior to starting the apprenticeship
Level 2 Apprentices: must achieve Level 1 English and maths
Level 3 (and above) Apprentices: must achieve
Level 2 English and maths
Maths and English If not already achieved prior to starting the apprenticeship
Level 2 Apprentices: must achieve Level 1 (similar to D to G at GCSE) English and maths and take the test for Level 2 (similar to A* to C at GCSE)
Level 3 (and above) Apprentices: must achieve Level 2 English and maths (similar to A* to C at GCSE)
For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement the apprenticeships English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3 (below GCSE level) and British Sign Language qualification are an alternative to English qualifications for whom this is their primary language
n/a End point assessment:
The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education requires that all apprenticeships contain an independent end-point assessment. This is a holistic assessment of the knowledge, skills and behaviours that have been learnt throughout the apprenticeship. The requirements for this are set out in the assessment plan that is developed alongside the Standard. Read more here.
Apprentices receive an overall grade for their apprenticeship (eg pass, merit or distinction) based on their performance during the end point assessment.
Why do some Apprenticeships no longer require the apprentice to complete a qualification?
Apprenticeship Standards can only include a qualification where the qualification is required for registration, regulatory or license to practice purposes or if the apprentice would be significantly disadvantaged in the job market without a qualification. Even if a qualification is included in a standard it is considered part of ‘on-programme’ delivery and does not count towards the end point assessment. Apprenticeship standards are designed to deliver apprentices that are ‘work ready’ ie able to apply for a job. A-levels are designed to deliver students who are ‘progression ready’ ie able to apply to university or other academic courses. This means that an A-level student may need additional skills and training to become work ready and an apprentice may need additional skills and training to become progression ready. To be eligible to deliver apprenticeship training organisations must be listed on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP).
Why have the requirements for English and Maths increased?
The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education set the minimum requirements for all apprentices. The following is non-negotiable and applies to all apprentices undertaking Apprenticeship Standards (unless they have already achieved these levels prior to starting their apprenticeship):
- For level 2 Apprenticeships, apprentices must achieve level 1 English and maths (similar to a GCSE at grade D to G) and take the test for level 2 (similar to a GCSE at grade A* to C) prior to taking their end-point assessment
- For level 3 to 7 apprenticeships, apprentices must achieve level 2 English and maths (similar to a GCSE at grade A* to C) prior to taking their end-point assessment
- For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement the apprenticeships English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3 (below GCSE level) and British Sign Language qualification are an alternative to English qualifications for whom this is their primary language
Who will manage the end-point assessment?
Employers will select an organisation from the Register of Approved End Point Assessment Organisations. This register is managed by the Education and Skills Funding Agency. The End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) creates assessments in-line with the requirements in the Apprenticeship Standard End Point Assessment Plan written by the Trailblazer. The assessor involved in making end point assessment decisions is an employee of the EPAO and must not have been involved with any on-programme delivery for the apprentices being assessed.
How often will Apprenticeship Standards be reviewed?
Standards need reviewing and revising to ensure they continue to meet changing needs. The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education is developing a two-stage review process, starting with a Route Review (a review of occupations in a route and their relationship to one another), and then progressing to the more detailed scrutiny of a Pathway Review.
How will end point assessments be standardised?
Every health apprentice must be assessed in line with the End Point Assessment Plan which accompanies the Apprenticeship Standard. Many standards are using Ofqual to provide external quality assurance of end point assessment of health apprentices. This means that end point assessment organisations must meet Ofqual standards which are described in the ‘General Conditions of Recognition’. See more here. For integrated degree apprenticeships and the degree within non-integrated degree apprenticeships, the usual Higher Education (HE) quality assurance processes apply.
- How are the funding bands determined?
- Where can I find a list of approved providers for a standard?
The apprenticeship is ready for delivery, why can’t I register apprentices?
Once an apprenticeship standard has been approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, universities/training providers will have to apply to the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers to become a registered apprenticeship training provider. Usually there is a slight delay between an apprenticeship standard being approved and offered as an apprenticeship by the universities/training providers. This is because they need some time to prepare the course content and set entry requirements etc.
Will previous qualification or employment experience count towards an apprenticeship?
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) or Accreditation of Experiential Learning (APEL) is something you will need to discuss with your training provider to see if there is a possibility of acknowledging prior learning or experience as part of the apprenticeship. Download guidance document here.
What is the minimum duration of an apprenticeship standard?
The minimum duration of an apprenticeship standard is 12 months, but the length of the apprenticeship will differ from standard to standard. Typically, degree apprenticeships are 36 – 48 months. Please note that the apprentice must have at least 12 months of new learning even after APEL.
I am interested in a standard, when will it be ready for delivery?
The apprenticeship will be ready for delivery when the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education has approved the standard, end point assessment plan and assigned a funding band. Trailblazers don’t run to fixed timescales, and so it is difficult to predict when the standard might be ready. Typical timescales for a Trailblazer development is 9 – 12 months. By signing up to the HASO newsletter here you can be kept up to date on the progress of the standards you are interested in.
I have a question about Frameworks
Click here to download the SASE Frameworks document, where you will also find Certification FAQs.
Which EPAO is registered to offer EPA for each standard?
Visit our standards page to view individual lists of registered EPAOs.