Help and Advice

Helping you bridge your skills gap

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How will it benefit my company?

Allowing your staff to undertake an Apprenticeship shows that you are interested in their development and personal growth, which in turn can raise morale, help retain staff and lead to increased company profits. It can lead to staff being more efficient because it makes the individual analyse their job role and ways of improving their performance.

What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a skills development programme completed alongside a new or current job role. Apprentices gain the technical knowledge, practical experience and wider skills they need for their immediate job and future career. An apprentice gains this through a wide mix of learning in the workplace, formal off-the-job training and the opportunity to practice new skills in the workplace.  There must be a genuine job available after they have completed their apprenticeship. 

Apprenticeships are designed with the help of the employers in the industry, so they offer a structured programme that takes you through the skills you need to do a job well. The apprenticeship is delivered in partnership with a learning provider. There are targets and checks to make sure that your employer is supporting you and you are making progress. 

To get your career off to a good start you usually need a mixture of qualifications and experience. By doing an apprenticeship you can get both – combining on the job training with study, meaning you can earn while you learn. 

Apprenticeships are open to all age groups above 16 years old whether you are just leaving school, have been working for years or are seeking to start a new career. You just need to be living in England and not taking part in full-time education.  There may be different entry requirements depending on the apprenticeship. 

With some apprenticeships you can even get a degree. Apprenticeships can take between 1-4 years to complete, duration normally depending on the level. 

As an apprentice you’ll be able to: 

  • Work alongside experienced staff
  • Gain job-specific skills
  • Earn a wage
  • Study towards a related qualification

There are two different types of apprenticeship available: 

  • Apprenticeship Standards: – each standard covers a specific occupation and sets out the core skills, knowledge and behaviours an apprentice will need.  Each standard has an assessment plan and an end point assessment.
  • Apprenticeship Frameworks: a series of work-related vocational and professional qualifications with on-the-job and off-the-job training
What is an end point assessment?

An end-point assessment is a holistic and independent assessment of the knowledge, skills and behaviours which have been learnt throughout an apprenticeship standard. The requirements for end- point assessment are set out in the assessment plan for the specific standard. Frameworks have different assessment arrangements and do not require end-point assessment. Apprentices will not be able to achieve an apprenticeship standard without satisfying all the requirements of the assessment plan, including the end-point assessment. 

How is the Apprenticeship funded?

The apprenticeship standard or framework you will undertake is funded by either a levy-paying employer, through their apprenticeship levy, or through co-investment by the Government (90%) and non-levy paying employers (10%).

Can a learner undertake an Apprenticeship if they are in seasonal or temporary employment?

For an Apprenticeship you should be a permanent employee working a minimum of 30 hours per week. This is due to the length of time needed to complete programme. If an apprentice works fewer than 30 hours a week the provider must extend the minimum duration of the apprenticeship (pro-rata) to take account of this.  ETS will look at all individual circumstances to asses if an apprenticeship can be achieved. There may also be occasions when funding is available through other projects.

Can a learner do an Apprenticeship if they are not employed full time?

Yes, as long as they are permanently employed and contracted for 30 hours or more per week. ETS can provide full cost recovery courses for employees working less hours to undertake a competency based qualification or short accredited course.

If the learner did not gain any GCSEs can they still do an Apprenticeship?

Yes.  Learners will be able to undertake Functional Skills in English and / or Mathematics and / or ICT (where appropriate), if they do not hold a GCSE A-C/9-4 or equivalent qualification.  All potential learners undertake an Initial Assessment with ETS to establish if they have any additional support needs to enable completion of the Apprenticeship. 

What are Functional Skills?

Functional Skills prove competence of skills required for any occupational role and are transferable skills that can be used in the workplace. 

There are three Functional Skills that are required for most apprenticeships frameworks and standards:  

  • English 
  • Mathematics 
  • ICT (not required for certain apprenticeship frameworks or any apprenticeship standard) 
Do they have to do Functional Skills Assessments?

Anyone undertaking an Apprenticeship must attend workshops and undertake assessments in the elements that they must complete.  Learners, who have previously gained certain GCSE grades, Functional Skills, Key Skills etc, may be exempt from undertaking the relevant functional skill. ETS will check for Recognition of Prior Learning when the learner produces their previous certificates. ETS will work with the learner throughout the apprenticeship to embed maths, English and digital skills to develop their skills in this area regardless of the requirement.

How much time will be spent studying?

The competence based element in the apprenticeship is based on collecting evidence including, work produced by the learner, observations from training facilitators and discussions that prove the learner’s competency. A guideline of two hours a week would ensure the learner completes the apprenticeship in the time allocated.  

Off-the-job training is defined as learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of the apprenticeship. This can include training that is delivered at the apprentice’s normal place of work or away from the apprentice’s normal place of work, but must not be delivered as part of their normal working duties.  

The off-the-job training must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship framework or standard and could include the following:  

  • the teaching of theory  
  • online learning  
  • practical training 
  • shadowing  
  • mentoring  
  • learning support and  
  • time spent writing assessments/ assignments. 


Apprentices must achieve a minimum of 20% off-the-job training as part of the apprenticeship programme.

How often and for how long does the training facilitator visit?

The training facilitator will carry out face-to-face visits every 8-10 weeks and remote visits in-between, every 5 weeks. During this time they will assess the work you have provided, review previous targets, and together plan the next steps. This time will also allow you to discuss with the training facilitator any issues about your programme that you may have. You will also be remotely supported in between visits.  

If the learner has already completed an Apprenticeship, can they do another one at the same level?

It depends on the Apprenticeship previously achieved, and whether there is a skills need for another programme. We would arrange a one-to-one Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) session with the individual to assess the need.

Can a learner use the evidence from previous Apprenticeships, NVQs or qualifications?

Evidence, which is not more than 3 years old, can be used if the qualification if it meets the criteria of the new qualification and the learner can demonstrate current competence allowing Recognition of Prior Learning or Credit Transfer.

Will the Apprenticeship train my staff?

The Technical Certificate/knowledge workshops provide underpinning knowledge and codes of practice for each qualification. Functional Skills develop basic practical English, Mathematics and IT skills. The QCF Diploma/Certificate/standard assesses competency in the job role drawn from a real working environment. The whole framework/standard encourages the learner to reflect on their abilities, their performance and to identify areas for continuous improvement. Each element is integrated into the whole framework/standard.

Can a non-British citizen do an Apprenticeship?

Yes, but they must have permanent residency and have lived in Great Britain or another Country within the European Union for at least 3 years.

Who needs to be at the sign up appointment?

The learner and their employer/supervisor/mentor/coach as it is essential that someone who knows the learner’s job role is available to sign agreements and complete the IAG on behalf of the company and to be involved in the learning experience at the start. It is essential that the employer/supervisor/mentor/coach attends all the teaching, learning and review appointments so they are involved in their learners progression.

As an Employer, how much do I need to be involved?

ETS encourages all employers/supervisors/mentors/coaches to support their learners through the duration of their qualification.

All day release dates for workshops are agreed with the employer upfront. These then appear on the Individual Learning Plan. These dates can only be changed in extenuating circumstances.

At each teaching, learning and review visit, it is beneficial if the learner’s employer/supervisor/mentor/coach is available to discuss progress and agree targets to be completed before the next assessment visit. This also gives the employer the opportunity to review learning that has taken place by the learner and to review off-the-job training.

My staff prefers short courses. What do ETS offer?

ETS offer a range of one day seminars in Continuous Professional Development, Management Development, and ICT. Courses cost £75+VAT per half-day per delegate.

ETS are also able to offer short accredited courses such as the BTEC, Functional Skills, Technical Certificate, Health & Safety and First Aid.

Am I eligible?

You can apply for an apprenticeship while you’re still at school. To start one, you’ll need to be:

 ETS Cross Bullet Point16 or over by the end of the summer holidays

ETS Cross Bullet Pointliving in England 

ETS Cross Bullet Pointnot in full-time education The government has highlighted the importance of training to develop the country’s skills base and competitiveness as a result of this it has allocated funding to support training for eligible candidates.

 ETS Cross Bullet Point You must be a resident in the EU for three or more years

 ETS Cross Bullet Point You must not have completed the same apprenticeship

What is the National Minimum Wage?

National Minimum Wage

The minimum wage a worker should get depends on their age and if they’re an apprentice. The National Minimum Wage is the minimum pay per hour almost all workers are entitled to. The National Living Wage is higher than the National Minimum Wage – workers get it if they’re over 25. It doesn’t matter how small an employer is, they still have to pay the correct minimum wage.

National Apprenticeship Wage

From 1st of April 2018 the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rate for apprentices is £3.90 per hour. This applies to 16-18 year old apprentices and those aged over 19 in the first year of their Apprenticeship. For all other apprentices the national Minimum Wage appropriate to their age applies. The minimum wage for apprentices applies to time spent on the job plus time spent training. Although an Apprentice minimum wage applies this is only a guide and employer often pay more. The Apprenticeship Pay Survey 2016 estimated the average gross hourly pay received by apprentices in Great Britain was £6.70 an hour for level 2 and 3 apprentices which is equivalent to nearly £14,000 per year.

Current rates

These rates are for the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage. The rates change every April.


Year April 2019
25 and over £8.21
21 to 24 £7.70
18 to 20 £6.15
Under 18 £4.35
Apprentice £3.90
What Holiday am I entitled to?

Almost all workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday per year (known as statutory leave entitlement or annual leave). An employer can include bank holidays as part of statutory annual leave.

Bank or public holidays do not have to be given as paid leave. An employer can choose to include bank holidays as part of a worker’s statutory annual leave.

Organisational Needs Analysis (ONA)

ETS offers all organisations the opportunity of accessing a free ONA. An ONA can provide solutions to business issues that confront an organisation, whether that concerns skills, performance, managing change or leadership. The ONA will assess the factors affecting the business and propose solutions. An ONA can assist ETS in proposing tailor made solutions for your organisation.

The ONA process will analyse the following areas:

ETS Cross Bullet Point The background, history, current targets and issues

ETS Cross Bullet Point Key markets, products and services

ETS Cross Bullet Point Organisation structure

ETS Cross Bullet Point Any major future changes

ETS Cross Bullet Point Staff development/skills, leadership issues

An ONA may reveal factors that are impacting an your organisation that have not been previously considered. ETS want to be able to offer you the best solutions for your business to prosper

Information, Advice and Guidance

Introduction to our IAG Service

ETS has been accredited with the matrix Quality Standard since 2004. The matrix Standard is the government quality standard for any organisation that supports individuals, enabling them to make informed choices about their future.

The matrix standard recognises ETS’s commitment to exceptional external and internal service whilst demonstrating our commitment to continuously improve.

ETS also holds the prestigious Customer Service Excellence Award, the government’s standard is awarded to public organisations that are efficient, effective, excellent, equitable and empowering, with the customer always and everywhere at the heart of service provision.

The service is designed to assist all our customers, learners and employers, to make informed decisions about training opportunities, improving job prospects and/or skills, obtaining qualifications or just making the most of the current job role.

What we offer

  • A free, confidential, impartial, unbiased and objective IAG service covering training opportunities and the skills and qualifications needed for employment, career progression or development and CPD.
  • Written information on all courses and opportunities that we offer
  • Support during any course of training to assist the individual’s learning, personal development and career opportunities.
  • Advice and services to enable effective training for all
  • Telephone and internet services providing information, advice and guidance.
  • Signposting and referral service to other quality learning providers and sources of information where we are unable to provide the information and advice or training required.

What you can expect from us

  • ETS staff will be professional and knowledgeable and will receive on-going professional development to ensure that the information they give you is up to date and current.
  • We are happy to respond to your enquiry by telephone, email or to offer individual appointments
  • We tailor our services to meet individual needs
  • If we are unable to respond to your requests immediately, a written response will normally be sent within 5 working days
  • We will respond to telephone calls within 2 working days
  • We will acknowledge or reply to your emails within 2 working days.

What we need from you

  • As much relevant information as you can give us so that we can answer your enquiry in full
  • Prompt contact if you have any questions or concerns about the training we are providing
  • To attend all interviews which have been arranged with IAG staff
  • Inform us if you need to cancel or re-schedule
  • Be honest and open with us to enable ETS staff to work with you to ensure you meet you goals
  • To treat our IAG team with respect.


To enable us to provide the best possible service we keep a record of learner’s details, training records and contact data. ETS treats all personal information about you in confidence. It will only be passed on with your consent or where legally required (eg for contractual purposes). ETS is registered under the data protection act and will take all reasonable steps to safeguard all personal data.

This record can only be accessed by authorised staff or representatives who need to see the information as part of their role.

Equal Opportunities

ETS promotes inclusion, diversity and fair treatment in training for all sections of the community

ETS welcomes enquiries from all individuals regardless of age, ethnic origin, disability, gender, marital status, background or religion or beliefs.

Feedback, comments and complaints

To assist us to continually improve our services and to ensure that we continue to meet a wide range of client needs, ETS value your suggestions, comments, compliments or complaints.

Our complaints procedure clearly defines how complaints, comments and compliments should be made and how these and any other unresolved issues are dealt with.

All complaints are dealt with in the strictest confidence.