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BIIAB Update: How to support an apprentice in your business

Taking on an apprentice can not only be a cost-effective way of growing your team but can also enable you to tackle revolving door recruitment by growing your own managers or head chefs of the future.

Apprenticeships have been available and have been well received for many years. Recently in England, the system has changed significantly, particularly the role of the employer or line manager in the apprenticeship.  

The purpose of the following information is to help employers to understand their role and how they need to support the successful completion of apprenticeships in their business. 

What is involved in an apprenticeship?

Your apprentice will undertake an apprenticeship learning programme, based on an apprenticeship ‘standard’ that relates to a specific job role. This standard must be able to be fully covered, by the work that they currently do and where required they must undertake additional work outside of their job role. The duration of the apprenticeship will vary depending on the level and content of the standard chosen. This will vary between a mandatory minimum duration of 12 months to 24 months or beyond. In addition, 20% of their apprenticeship learning programme must be completed ‘off the job’.     

Once the apprenticeship learning programme has been completed, a series of checks will be conducted to establish whether the apprentice is ready to pass through ‘the Gateway’. Once these checks have been successfully met, the apprentice will be tested formally by an independent assessor in an activity called the End Point Assessment (EPA). This activity can take a number of formats for example knowledge test, observation, project interview or presentation in order to test in examination conditions, whether the apprentice meets the requirements of the knowledge, skills and behaviours described in the standards.   

The tutor/coach from the training provider or college will give you advice on which standard and level meets your needs and the needs of the apprentice. They will also help with the training and performance reviews throughout the apprenticeship learning programme and preparing the apprentice for their End Point Assessment.   

What will you and your team need to do to support the apprentice?

As an employer or line manager, you will need to support your apprentice throughout the apprenticeship, you can achieve this in the following ways:

  • Understand the apprenticeship standard and the training programme that your apprentice will need to undertake for the duration of their apprenticeship
  • Ensure the apprentice is in the right job role to meet the apprenticeship standard; where required, provide your apprentice the opportunity to undertake activity outside of their normal job role in order to meet all the required parts of the standard
  • Participate in the initial planning stage with the apprentice’s tutor/coach
  • Agree timescales and the structure of the apprentice’s learning programme   
  • Help to agree learning targets and goals with the apprentice and the tutor/coach
  • Allocate or take the role of a workplace mentor to support and coach the apprentice on a daily basis
  • Ensure the apprentice is treated fairly at all times and any barriers to learning are managed
  • Allow the apprentice time off the job to complete their learning activities, thereby meeting the required 20% off the job training requirements
  • Provide training to the apprentice in addition to any training delivered by the tutor/coach, this could include any pre-existing training that you already offer as part of their induction or ongoing development and performance management
  • Help the apprentice to generate evidence for their End Point Assessment, should the EPA be an assessed portfolio or project that can be completed during their apprenticeship programme
  • Provide access to any resources and equipment required for the apprenticeship training or End Point Assessment and ensure it has been safety checked
  • Attend regular review meetings to discuss the apprentice’s progression, activities undertaken and any future training needs
  • Make the judgement as to whether the apprentice is ready to undertake their End Point Assessment and meet the requirement of ‘the Gateway’. Be present at the End Point Assessment planning meeting and provide support where required 
  • Allow the apprentice time off the job to attend all components of their End Point Assessment
  • Review assessment and grading reports provided by the End Point Assessment Organisation

What will be the benefits to your organisation?

Taking on an apprentice may appear daunting, but your training provider or college will support you every step of the way. Together you will help your apprentice to be successful, gaining valuable skills, experience and knowledge along the way. 

An apprentice who successfully passes their apprenticeship programme will also add value to your business:

  • they will be able to work independently without the need for continuous support or supervision
  • they will be able to work effectively and productively, making fewer mistakes
  • they will understand the implications of their actions and show a greater understanding of your business
  • they will feel valued by the investment in their development and may provide a role model and mentor for future apprentices.

For more information on Apprenticeships go to: https://www.biiab.org