Eligibility and compliance

In order to use funds from the apprenticeship levy scheme, the apprentice must be eligible for funding as stipulated by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). Both the employer and training provider have a responsibility to check an individual’s eligibility for an apprenticeship.

In addition to apprentice eligibility, there are a number of measures which must be met in order for the employer and training provider to be compliant, in order to utilise and claim levy funding for apprenticeship training.

The below are some of the main points for eligibility and compliance; full detailed information is available from the ESFA.

Apprentice eligibility

To be eligible for an apprenticeship, an individual must:

  • Have the right to work in England;
  • Work 50% of their contracted hours in England;
  • Have an eligible residency status;
  • Be able to complete the apprenticeship in the time available;
  • Not be undertaking another apprenticeship;
  • Hold an acceptable English and maths qualification (by gateway).

Compliance measures

  • The employer must provide the apprentice with appropriate support and supervision to carry out their job role and complete their apprenticeship;
  • The apprentice must not contribute financially to training;
  • Regular reviews of the apprentice’s progress must be carried out;
  • Prior learning must be declared and taken into account in the cost and duration of the programme (minimum 12 months in duration);
  • A contract and commitment statement must be in place (these are provided by Cranfield and must be in place by registration);
  • A further apprenticeship agreement must be in place between the employer and apprentice (an example can be found on the UK Government's website);
  • Apprentices must spend a minimum of 20% of their working hours in off-the-job training.

What is eligible residency?

There is a comprehensive explanation of what the ESFA define as eligible residency and who is eligible for apprenticeship funding. This includes:

  • Those with unrestricted right to live in the United Kingdom,
  • EEA citizens (with conditions),
  • Individuals with immigration applications (with conditions).

Please read the full information available regarding eligible residency if in any doubt.

What support and supervision is the employer expected to provide?

As an apprenticeship is a job with an accompanying skills development programme and combines educational learning with workplace training and learning, the employer is required to play an active role in supporting the apprentice throughout their apprenticeship.

Typically, the apprentice will have a reviewer, usually the line manager, who will meet with them regularly, usually at least once every 10 weeks, to discuss their progress on the apprenticeship. These review meetings can also be used to identify and discuss any exposure that the apprentice may need to other areas in the company, in order to provide adequate learning opportunities to apply the Knowledge Skills and Behaviours (KSBs) as set out in the apprenticeship standard.

The reviewer should also monitor the apprentice's portfolio to ensure that they are applying the KSBs in the workplace and providing sufficient evidence.

Can we use our company's contracts?

Employers are required to use Cranfield's contract and commitment statement. A copy, for reviewing purposes, can be found on the Cranfield website.

The Cranfield Legal Team will be in touch with the employer key point of contact, after the apprentice has accepted a place on the apprenticeship.

What is 20% off-the-job activity?

For an apprenticeship to be compliant, an apprentice must spend at least 20% of their contractual hours in training, removed from their normal work. The training must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship standard, teaching new KSBs required to reach competence in the particular occupation.

20% off-the-job training

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

Off-the-job training is a statutory requirement of the ESFA and a record of this must be kept. It is partly planned as the time the apprentice spends at Cranfield, in lectures for example, counts. Off-the job-training must be recorded by the student and there is a tool in PebblePad to facilitate this.

Off-the-job training could include:

  • The teaching of theory: lectures, role playing, simulation exercises, online learning or manufacturer training;
  • Practical training: shadowing, mentoring, industry visits and attendance at competitions;
  • Learning support and time spent writing assessments and/or assignments.

Off-the-job training does not include:

  • English and maths (up to level 2);
  • Progress reviews or on-programme assessment needed for an apprenticeship standard;
  • Training which takes place outside the apprentice’s paid working hours;
  • Training to acquire KSBs that are not required in the standard.

How many off-the-job training hours does my apprentice need to do?

The total figure for off-the-job training hours is calculated from the apprentice's contracted hours, after deducting annual leave entitlement, over the length of the apprenticeship. A spreadsheet has been provided to the apprentice in PebblePad to calculate this figure.

As a general rule of thumb, this would equate to one day per week if the apprentice worked a standard five day week. However, the apprentice isn't required to undertake the off-the-job training in this format, i.e. one solid day per week. Instead, the apprentice could undertake a few hours here and there, so long as it was recorded and over the duration of the apprenticeship the total figure covers the amount required.

How does the apprentice prove they have completed off-the-job activity?

A tool has been provided in PebblePad for the apprentice to record the hours they undertake as off-the-job activity. As this can be activities such as writing assignments, time spent in lectures etc, the assignments and attendance registers can be used as proof. There is the facility to upload proof of 20% off-the-job activity into PebblePad.

What sort of work within the workplace could count as off-the-job activity?

Any work that the apprentice would not normally undertake as part of their role and which supports the achievement of the KSBs as set out in the apprenticeship standard can be counted. For example, you could put the apprentice in charge of a project which they would not normally have been involved in. This also may provide opportunities for exposure to other areas which they may not have otherwise been exposed to, in turn providing opportunities to apply the newly learnt KSBs.

English and maths requirements

In order to complete an apprenticeship, apprentices on Level 7 apprenticeships in England are required to provide evidence of attainment in English and maths in the form of an accepted qualification at level 2 or above. This is a statutory requirement stipulated by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) for all apprentices in England on apprenticeships which are level 3 or above.

This is not an entry requirement to the apprenticeship, however, apprentices without a level 2 English and maths qualification will need to achieve this prior to taking the End Point Assessment (EPA). Cranfield will support apprentices to achieve this.

You can see the list of acceptable qualifications and equivalents by visiting the UK Government's website and opening the document entitled ‘Apprenticeship standards: list of acceptable current and prior qualifications for English and maths requirements in apprenticeship standards at level 2 and above’. Please ensure you select the ‘Level 3 Apprenticeships’ tab for the correct list of acceptable qualifications. If the qualification is not listed, unfortunately it will not be accepted by the EPA organisation at gateway.

Further information can be found on the Information for Apprentices page.