Employers or Supervisors

What are Apprenticeships?

Modern Apprenticeships (MA's) are work-based training programmes geared towards helping new recruits or existing employees gain invaluable skills and industry recognised vocational qualifications.

MA's offer young people, over the age of sixteen years, paid employment, combined with the opportunity to train for jobs in a wide range of areas.

Apprenticeship Frameworks for apprenticeships are designed by Sector Skills Councils working with business representatives from the relevant industry sector to develop the course content.

Because they genuinely understand your business, the training will be relevant for your industry sector.

MA's are an exciting way of gaining skills and qualifications that will help staff to start or develop a career without having to study full-time and are available in a wide range of occupational areas.

They can also offer existing staff the opportunity to develop within their job role.

There are more than 240 apprentice frameworks covering most occupations and sectors, listed on the Skills Development Scotland (SDS) web pages.

  • Over 80% of those employers who employ apprentices agree they make their workplace more productive.
  • 81% of consumers favour using a company which takes on apprentices.
  • Employers who take on a 16-18 year old apprentice only pay their salary. The Government will fund their training.
  • There are more than 200 different types of Apprenticeships available offering over 1,200 job roles.
  • 92% of employers who employ apprentices believe that Apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce.
  • 83% of employers who employ apprentices rely on their Apprenticeships programme to provide the skilled workers that they need for the future.
  • One in five employers are hiring more apprentices to help them through the tough economic climate.
  • Depending on the sector and job role an Apprenticeship can take anything between one and four years to complete. It is a package of on-the-job training and qualifications.

Apprentices must be employed for at least 30 hours per week.  Employers will be required to cover the apprentice wages and the associated employment costs.  In most cases where an apprentice is between 16 and 20, OSDU will be able to support the training and qualifications required of the apprentice framework.

As Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes, most of the training is ‘on the job’ – in the department. In some cases there is an additional off the job element educational element this can be provided by a local college or by a specialist learning provider, or everything may be delivered internally.

Apprentices will be subject to the same induction process as all University staff members; this will include introduction to the job role and the organisation as well as relevant H&S requirements.  In addition to the standard induction the apprentice will attend a qualification induction where they will be introduced to the framework and qualification requirements.

Our Modern Apprentice Coordinator will support and guide you throughout the recruitment and selection process. They will work with you to:

  • help you decide which Modern Apprenticeship is right for you;
  • explain the way that Modern Apprenticeships might work for you and if funding is available;
  • agree a training plan with you and your apprentice;
  • assist in the recruitment and selection or support your existing staff into Apprenticeships;
  • manage the training and evaluation; and
  • ensure that national quality standards are met and deliver integrated, coherent training.


Modern Apprenticeships offer a unique and cost effective way to grow your own workforce both the skills you need now and in the future.  The combination of on the job training of the specific skills you need with off the job learning provides theoretical knowledge and practical skills in a work place context.

Apprenticeships can also help to improve retention and engagement, apprentices who have trained with the organisation feel valued through this investment and stay with the organisation.

Apprenticeships enable you to attract high-quality recruits with drive and ambition.  Apprentices tend to be eager, motivated, flexible and loyal having made an active choice to learn on the job and a commitment to a specific career.

Other business benefits experienced by universities employing modern apprentices are:

  • Filling skills gaps and attracting greater numbers of young people across the organisation therefore reducing the age profile.
  • Increasing productivity, improving competitiveness and creating a committed competent workforce.
  • Development of employees with a rounded learning experience allowing them to work flexibly
  • Supporting succession planning by providing the mechanism for knowledge transfer from experience members of staff
  • Raising their profile as an employer of choice in the local community
  • Introduction of fresh thinking and new ideas, developing a young outlook and keeping in touch with young people

The apprentice is an employee of your department.  The employing department is therefore responsible for all employment costs of the apprentice. 

However, apprenticeships are generally the most cost efficient method of delivering staff development as the investment is very quickly reclaimed as the apprentice becomes a more productive member of your team.

Although apprenticeships vary in length, all apprentice contracts are offered as two year fixed term posts.  At the end of the two years those on longer frameworks such as ‘time served’ trade apprentices are subject to individual arrangements.

Effective from August 2014 the salary and on costs for University apprentices are:

  Employee Salary Total salary costs
(incl. NI and Pension)
Year 1  £10,512 £13,275
Year 2  £12,481 £15,972

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) subsidises the Modern Apprentice programme by contributing towards the cost of training.

To be guaranteed funding eligibility, the Modern Apprentice must be 20 years of age or less on their start date with the University.

Having identified an apprentice opportunity the recruitment process follows standard University procedures in terms of ATA approval and creation of further particulars for the post.

Once the ATA has been fully approved OSDU will:

  • Arrange to advertise the post.
  • Gather the responses and complete the initial sifting process.
  • Arrange initial interviews with applicants meeting the minimum criteria
  • Short list for second and final stage of interview process
  • Attend final interview and arrange relevant skills test with the department
  • Assist in final selection
  • Request references
  • Liaise with HR for production of formal contracts etc

Apprentices bring a youthful exuberance to the workplace. They have chosen to learn on the job and have made a commitment to their chosen career it is therefore imperative that we provide the appropriate levels of responsibility and support to allow them to develop in their job role. Many of the young people are coming straight from school with little or no prior experience of the world of work and will need some support and a degree of pastoral care to make the sometimes difficult transition from school/college to work.

We have appointed the apprentice what happens now?

Once you have appointed your apprentice they become an employee of the department and a member of your team.  On the whole apprentices should be treated the same as any other new member of staff in terms of introducing them to the department and their job role.  You will receive a copy of the employee induction checklist and should consult the departmental induction guidance.

They will also be invited to attend the next staff induction seminar.

Once your apprentice has been in post for a week we will arrange for them to complete the relevant registration documents with their assessor or a member if the OSDU team. This will involve a visit to the OSDU offices and should take around an hour to complete.

Within the next couple of weeks the SVQ assessor will arrange a meeting with you and your apprentice to review the SVQ qualification identify relevant units and develop an initial training plan.
The final part of the induction process will involve an introduction to the qualification and how the process of assessment will work.  This will usually be completed by the apprentice’s assessor who may be from OSDU, their own department or a local college.

What should we be doing to support our apprentice?

Many of our apprentices are straight from school and new to the world of work.  The Modern Apprentice coordinator will provide on-going support for all apprentices.  In terms of conduct and workplace policies many apprentices will not know a lot of the things that we might take for granted.  They may also be easily influenced by behaviour they see around them.

It is recommended that the apprentice is appointed a mentor out with the line management relationship who can provide guidance and feedback on workplace expectations and procedures.  Choosing the right mentor means they can also lead by example in the kind of behaviour and performance expected.  This has the added benefit of providing existing staff to develop mentoring skills.

Should any difficult or situations arise the MA coordinator should be consulted and can if required act as an advocate to deal with any issues before the need for more formal action.  It is important however that any performance or behaviour issues are picked up early rather than waiting for them to become a problem.

All apprentice frameworks have three main elements:

SVQ Level 3

The occupational SVQ/NVQs for the sector at Level 3 are the core of every framework. Some frameworks may specify progression routes, which allow apprentices to work towards a Level 2 initially, and then progress to the Level 3 and sometimes a Level 4 SVQ.

The SVQ’s are competence based qualifications and are assessed in the workplace.  Your apprentice will be asked to gather evidence of performance and will also be observed carrying out specific tasks in their job role.  The appointed assessor will visit the department every two or three weeks to examine evidence collected.

Most of the training required to develop the skills being assessed will take place on the job in the workplace although apprentices will be invited to attend some off the job training at apprentice workshops.

Core Skills

  • Communication
  • Working With Others
  • Numeracy
  • Information Technology
  • Problem Solving

The levels of individual core skills is set in the sector devised frameworks but are usually at SCQF level 4 or 5.

Additional components

To encourage employees' development and broaden training, some Modern Apprenticeships also contain additional components that vary from industry to industry. They may include additional units from other SVQs, industry-specific qualifications, or academic qualifications such as Higher National Certificates and Diplomas.

To ensure success the apprentice needs to be placed at the heart of the programme.

In addition to providing a suitable learning environment for on the job skills apprentices should have an allocated mentor, someone who can provide the apprentice with further advice and guidance outside the formal line management responsibility.  This has the added benefit of offering existing staff the opportunity to develop new skills.  Where it is not possible to appoint a mentor within the department OSDU can assist in finding a suitable person from other areas.

Having identified a suitable opportunity please contact our MA coordinator, Susan Lynch (s.e.lynch@strath.ac.uk) to discuss your requirements.  Recruitment then follows the usual process.

Further Information:

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has produced a guide for employers entitled "Apprenticeships that Work" looking to offer apprenticeships, whether for the first time or with a view to improving their existing offering.  It aims to offer objective support to employers within different organisational sectors and sizes, across the UK, addressing some of the issues and questions involved and ensuring they have the support they need to take on an apprentice.

The guide has been developed by a working group including representatives from employers including Rolls Royce, Siemens, Capgemini Marks and Spencer and West Sussex Council, as well as trade unions, the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

Topics include:

  • How to integrate apprentices into your workforce
  • Getting buy-in from the rest of your organisation
  • Relevant employment legislation
  • How best to support apprentices