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Apprenticeships explained

Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes; they can provide routes into a variety of careers within the NHS and across all employment sectors. They are an excellent opportunity to earn, gain work experience and achieve a nationally recognised apprenticeship; some also incorporate qualifications up to degree level. . They enable individuals to gain experience, skills and knowledge in an apprenticeship relevant to the occupational area of work and to become fully competent in the chosen job role/career.

Development and approval of apprenticeship standards

The Institute for Apprenticeships is a public body sponsored by the Department of Education. It has a range of functions that include ensuring high-quality occupational standards are in place and responsibility for approving every standard. The occupational standard describes the knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) needed for someone to be competent in the occupation’s duties. It also details any qualifications that must be passed and how it aligns with professional recognition where applicable.

If you want to know more about how standards are developed and the range of apprenticeships within the NHS and across all sectors you can view these and the occupational standard from the Institute of Apprenticeships website (opens in a new tab) The institute also plays a key role in advising government on a number of related issues; this includes how people of all ages and backgrounds have the opportunity to maximise their potential and contribute to improving social mobility.

Different levels of apprenticeship

There are currently four levels of apprenticeships available; these are described below including their equivalent educational/academic levels

Apprenticeship levels
nAME Level Equivalent educational level
nAME Intermediate Level 2 Equivalent educational level GCSE
nAME Advanced Level 3 Equivalent educational level A Levels
nAME Higher Level 4,5,6, and 7 Equivalent educational level Foundation degree and above
nAME Degree Level 6 and 7 Equivalent educational level Bachelor or Master's degree

Every apprenticeship level includes:

  • Knowledge based qualification – also known as a Technical Certificate
  • Competence based assessments and/or qualification
  • Off the job training and learning interventions; depending upon the apprenticeship this may involve time away from the workplace with a training provider/college/university; it can also include development experiences in your role that contribute to the learning outcome of the occupational apprenticeship standard. This can include observing other work, shadowing, project work, reflections and time for portfolios, observation assessments with an external assessor who visits the workplace. This will contribute around 20% of the time of the apprenticeship. Some apprenticeships such as the Nursing Apprenticeship will have around 40% of the apprenticeship at university and in practice placements.
  • Functional Skills. These require different levels of attainment depending upon the apprenticeship level. The functional skills includes maths, English and for some programmes information communication technology (ICT). There are minimum requirements to access an apprenticeship as well as developing functional skills during the apprenticeship as required by the apprenticeship standard
  • There is an End Point Assessment (EPA) that ensures an apprentice can do the job they have been training for. The EPA is separate to any qualifications or assessment that the apprentice may undertake during the programme.
  • Achievement of formal qualifications alongside the apprenticeship and EPA also applies for some higher level apprenticeships (e.g. science, nursing, AHPs) as well as registration with the relevant regulatory professional body

Benefits of being an apprentice at CUH

  • Earn a salary while you learn
  • Gain an apprenticeship and access to qualifications
  • Apprenticeship course fees paid by CUH = no college or university debt
  • Get paid holidays and bank holidays
  • Receive training and support in post
  • A career pathway in one of the most vibrant, innovative and exciting NHS Trusts in the country
  • Receive support and regular review sessions from our dedicated Apprenticeship team you will be designated a mentor to help guide your apprenticeship
  • Learn job-specific skills
  • Gain exposure to the vast array of job and career opportunities at CUH and the NHS

Further links for apprenticeships and careers in the NHS

To find out more about the range of apprenticeships please read further information on our Apprenticeships main webpage

If you want to find out more about the wide range of NHS careers visit NHS Careers in Health (opens in a new tab) Also see our CUH Careers pages for further information about our roles here.

If you want to know more about the range of apprenticeships opportunities available nationally and locally within the NHS and across all sectors you can view this on the National Apprenticeship Service (opens in a new tab)