You might already know the basics, but how does an apprenticeship work, once you get down to it? It’s a work-based programme of study, sure, but what exactly counts as ‘study’? Does it involve classrooms?
Here, you’ll find the answers to all your training-related questions, with a handy table of contents if you’ve got one burning question in particular. Oh, and most of this information will be specific to how we run apprenticeships, because some details do depend on the provider.
So, without further ado…
The first thing you need to know about apprenticeships is that your learning is split into different learning modules. These modules will focus on teaching you all you need to know for a particular occupation, and for certain qualifications, there will also be optional modules if you’re specialised in a particular area.
For example, for Business Administrator, the modules look like this:
- Record and Document Production
- IT Skills
- Project Management
Or at least, those are the main ones. Also, the modules are split into skills, knowledge and behaviours. For example:
- Decision Making (skill)
- Stakeholders (knowledge)
- Professionalism (behaviour)
For a complete breakdown of all the skills, knowledge and behaviours for an apprenticeship, you might want to look at the Institute for Apprenticeships’ website.
For most modules, you’ll be learning through a mix of practical training and theory assignments. For example, for the ‘Record and Document Production’ module above, you might be taught how to produce documents by your line manager, while also researching why proper procedure here is important.
Any research tasks will be set by your tutor in your learning sessions. These will be one-to-one or group learning (depending on your learning needs), and will cover both workplace visits and online sessions (through video conferencing software like Zoom). Your tutor is there to guide you through your apprenticeship in general, as well as teach you how off-the-job training works.
For the majority of your apprenticeship time, you’ll be doing your job, whatever that happens to be. For the other 20%, though, you’ll engage in what’s called off-the-job training. In short, you’ll spend 20% of your working hours learning skills, knowledge and behaviours outlined by the apprenticeship.
Examples of off-the-job training might include:
- Theory learning (role playing/simulation exercises, online learning, lectures)
- Practical training (shadowing, mentoring, industry visits, participation in competitions)
- Time with your tutor and time spent writing assessments/assignments
For more ideas on what might count for your off-the-job training, click here to request our guide.
What doesn’t count as off-the-job training?
There are a handful of things that don’t count towards your off-the-job hours. These include:
- Training for things that you already know (it has to be new learning, in other words)
- Time spent studying for Functional Skills Maths and/or English
- Training that’s outside your normal working hours
- Training that isn’t directly related to the apprenticeship
- For example, while a baker might learn maintenance for machines used in the kitchen, this wouldn’t count as off-the-job training, since it’s not something tested by the apprenticeship. Instead, it’s just a skill needed by this particular employer.
Thankfully, with Apprentice Team Ltd, you always have your tutor to call on if you’re not sure. It’s their job to help you learn, which includes showing you how your recorded learning log works.
Let’s talk about that, shall we?
The Recorded Learning Log (RLL)
Your RLL is where you note down any training relevant to your apprenticeship. The column titles are Date, Activity Type, Activity Details, Evidence, and Duration. A few things to keep in mind:
- Your tutor will show you how to fill out the RLL, if you’re unsure about any of the columns.
- The ‘Evidence’ column basically means “what skill/knowledge/behaviour is this activity evidence for?”. It’s usually more the concern of your tutor, so don’t worry about it too much.
- For the ‘Duration’, just type in how long you spent on the task (in hours). So if you completed an assessment in two hours and a quarter, you’d write it in as 2.25.
And that’s pretty much all you need to know about the RLL. Keep on top of it and it’ll be a handy bit of evidence later on.
End-Point Assessment (EPA)
With off-the-job training and modules covered, you should have a pretty decent understanding of how your apprenticeship will go the vast majority of the time. Eventually, though, your apprenticeship will near its end, and that means it’s time to think about the End-Point Assessment (EPA).
The exact nature of the EPA depends on the qualification. For example, for the Level 3 Business Administrator apprenticeship, the EPA goes like this:
- Portfolio-Based Interview
- Knowledge Assessment
- Project/Improvement Presentation
Whereas for the Level 2 Customer Service Practitioner apprenticeship, the EPA consists of just these two assessment types:
- Practical Observation
- Professional Discussion
How exactly these work is covered on the relevant qualification page, but their purpose is to test if you’ve got the skills, knowledge and behaviours required for the apprenticeship standard. They’ll be backed up by your portfolio (which is partly what the RLL is for), and you’ll be given full support by your tutor to make sure you’re ready.
Unsure about something?
If you could still use a little more information about something in particular, we’re here to help. Head over to our contact page if you’d like to give us a call, email us, or even send us a message on social media. One of our advisors will be back to you as soon as we can.