Apprenticeships are the gold standard in vocational training for employers and employees, equipping businesses, schools and staff with the skills most needed for their organisation. Apprenticeships are nationally-recognised frameworks, designed to compliment and support the business objectives, improve productivity in the workplace and develop the core skills of the employees. Apprenticeships offer a funded training solution to UK Businesses and schools, bridging the skills gaps and offering desirable qualifications to both new and existing staff members.

Apprenticeships are made up of the following elements:

  • Specialist, accredited qualification specific to your employees job role
  • Functional Skills in English
  • Functional Skills in maths
  • Functional Skills in Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
  • Employment Rights and Responsibilities (ERR)
  • Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS)

Guide to Apprenticeship Requirements

Do GCSEs Expire?

A controversial rule set in 2009 stated that if  GCSEs were taken over 5 years ago, they would need to be re-done or equivalent qualifications would need to be undertaken in order to start an apprenticeship.

However on April 6th 2015 this rule was scrapped. As long as potential candidates can show evidence of GCSEs in English and maths, they will not need to qualify further in these subjects in order to start an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship level Recognised prior learning (RPL)
Level 2

GCSE Grade E or higher in English, Maths and ICT

O Levels Grade C or higher in English and Maths

Key Skills English, maths and ICT

Other qualifications and relevant modules may be accepted

Level 3

GCSE Grade C or higher in English, Maths and ICT

O Levels Grade C or higher in English and Maths

Key Skills English, maths and ICT

Other qualifications and relevant modules may be accepted

Level 4/5

No prior learning required although a skills scan will be carried out to assess capability levels

If you don’t have GCSEs or equivalent

GCSEs are not compulsory. If you have people in your team who are looking to start an apprenticeship and don’t have prior (relevant) qualifications, your training provider will require you potential apprentices to undertake functional skills training. If your team members don’t have recognised prior learning these are the qualifications they will be asked to take during their apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship level Training offered to those without RPL
Level 2

Functional Skills L1 in English and Maths

(ICT may be needed if relevant)

For some subjects a level 2 functional skills qualification in English may be needed

Level 3

Functional skills L2 in English and Maths

(ICT may be needed if relevant)

Level 4/5

No prior learning required although a skills scan may be carried out to assess capability levels

Conclusion

In short, if your potential apprentices have taken GCSEs or equivalent in the past and  can show proof in the form of a certificate, they may be exempt from taking additional functional skills qualifications, however if they don’t have any qualifications, don’t let this put you or your team off. Many of our learners start out with little or no qualifications and are surprised at how well they get on with their functional skills training.

Apprenticeship eligibility

Potential apprentices must:

  • Be 16 years old or over
  • Have a contract of employment
  • Be working 16 hours or more
  • Be a resident of the European Union for 3 years or longer
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