Below is a list of questions regarding Cranfield Masterships that we are commonly asked. If you cannot find the answer to a specific question on this page then please contact the Masterships Team.

General questions

Will I need to sign a contract?

Your employer will need to sign a contract with Cranfield, known as a Mastership Agreement. Cranfield's legal team provide this document to the employer key point of contact after you have been offered and accepted your place on the programme. You, Cranfield and your employer will also sign a commitment statement, setting out the expectations of each party. Copies of these documents can be found on the Cranfield website.

How do I know if my company pays the apprenticeship levy?

Your HR department should be able to tell you this. Levy paying employers are those employers who have a wage bill of over £3 million (English percentage).

Can I still do an apprenticeship if my company does not pay the apprenticeship levy?

Non-levy paying companies can pay for apprenticeships by something called co-investment. Applicants from non-levy paying employers may not be accepted as there is a financial limit to how many apprentices from these types of organisations that Cranfield can accept. Please ask your employer to contact Cranfield.

Changes in circumstances

What happens if I have a period of leave from work, for example, maternity leave?

Any period of leave from work under 4 weeks does not need to notified or recorded.

If you are absent from work for a period of 4 weeks or more, then this must result in a break in your apprenticeship. This is because your apprenticeship is directly linked to your role within your workplace as well as your studies carried out in Cranfield. If you are absent from work then you will be unable apply what you are learning at Cranfield, within your workplace, which is one of the fundamental aspects of an apprenticeship.

If an apprenticeship is paused for any period over 4 weeks, then the planned end date must be extended by the amount of time that the apprenticeship was paused. The commitment statement will be revised, reissued and must be signed to reflect the pause. This will result in you finishing your apprenticeship later than the original planned end date, possibly resulting in you having to join a different cohort.

Periods of leave could be for reasons such as:

  • Maternity/paternity leave,
  • Illness,
  • Medical treatment,
  • Other personal issues.

What happens if I withdraw from my apprenticeship?

Please contact your SAS Lead in the first instance. If you are withdrawing from your apprenticeship for any reason, your SAS Lead will provide you with a form to complete and will notify the Masterships Team. If you are withdrawing due to redundancy, please look at the ‘What happens if I am made redundant?’ FAQ below

What happens if I am made redundant?

In the unfortunate event you are made redundant, Cranfield can help you to find you a new employer. This will involve you approaching and engaging with our Careers Team. The options available to you to continue with your apprenticeship will depend on when, during your apprenticeship, you were made redundant.

> 6 months remaining on apprenticeship

If you have more than six months remaining on your apprenticeship when you are made redundant, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) will fund your apprenticeship for up to 12 weeks whilst you find alternative employment. If you are not employed at the end of the 12 weeks, ESFA will stop funding and we are required to withdraw your apprenticeship. You may be able to continue your academic study by other funding resources but you will no longer be enrolled on the degree apprenticeship. In this circumstance, you will study solely towards the MBA qualification.

If you find a new employer and they agree to fund your apprenticeship, a new contract and commitment statement will need to be signed. The new employer will assume the outstanding fees for your apprenticeship, minus any amounts paid by the ESFA during any period of unemployment (up to 12 weeks).

< 6 months remaining on apprenticeship

If you are made redundant within six months of the final day of your apprenticeship, you may continue your training without being employed under an apprenticeship agreement. The ESFA will fund 100% of the remaining costs of your apprenticeship up to the funding band maximum. You are still required to seek alternative employment during this period.

If you find a new employer and they agree to fund your apprenticeship, a new contract and commitment statement will need to be signed. The new employer will assume the outstanding fees for your apprenticeship, minus any amounts paid by the ESFA during any period of unemployment. As soon as you are notified that you are being made redundant, please contact the Masterships Team.

What if I change employer?

If you change employer but wish to continue on your apprenticeship, you will need to complete an employer transfer form and return to the Masterships Team. From this, we would contact your old and new employer to arrange the transfer of your apprenticeship. We would inform your old employer of the amount that we would claim from their levy account (this would be up to the date you leave that employment). We would contact your new employer and require them to sign a contract and commitment statement (you would need to sign this new commitment statement also), we would ask for details from them such as who will be conducting reviews with you and supporting you through your apprenticeship. We will also ask them to connect to us on the apprenticeship service (which allows the transfer of funds from their levy account).

IMPORTANT NOTE (as of 05/04/2019, valid until 01/05/2019): At the moment, we are unable to accept any new employers who are not levy payers. This means that if a company does not pay the Apprenticeship Levy, then we would be unable to support the apprenticeship. This is because training providers are provided with an allocation of funds from the government that covers the co-investment amount where the training provided is for apprentices from non-levy paying companies. The allocation for Cranfield may be increased in the future, however, until this is confirmed, we are unable to take apprentices from non-levy paying employers. If you read this beyond the valid date specified above, please contact the Masterships Team for an update on this if required.

What happens if I reduce my working hours or work part-time?

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) state that the amount of minimum hours that an apprentice is required to work to undertake an apprenticeship in the standard duration is 30 hours. Apprentices can work fewer than 30 hours per week but the apprenticeship must be extended to take this into account. The ESFA provide a calculation that is used to determine by how long the apprenticeship duration should be increased. The calculation is:

30 (hours) / xx (hours worked per week) * yy (months: duration of apprenticeship or pro rata if changed is affected midway through apprenticeship) = new remaining duration

If you currently work, or plan to reduce your hours to, fewer than 30 hours per week, then please contact the Masterships Team. We would revise and reissue your commitment statement to reflect the new planned end date, which will need to be signed. This may not result in you having to join another cohort, it could mean that you just have longer to complete your apprenticeship and thereby, in relation the rest of the cohort, having a delayed EPA.

PebblePad - getting started

How should apprentices use PebblePad?

Apprentices should start using their PebblePad as soon as possible. Curating evidence and writing journal entries will be much more manageable if it is done consistently over the duration of the apprenticeship. A good working practice would be to complete journal entries on a module by module basis. Upon the completion of a module, review which Knowledge, Skills and/or Behaviours (KSBs) are mapped to the module and identify areas and instances where you, the apprentice, are applying these in your work place. You can then write a journal entry and pull together evidence that supports your narrative. Completing this after each module will result in you developing your portfolio consistently and will not be faced with a large amount of work towards the end of the apprenticeship.

What is an asset and a resource?

Assets are items/artefacts that you upload into PebblePad such as PowerPoint slides, meeting minutes, video material, or things you create yourself in PebblePad using their pre-built resources, such as activity templates.

Resources are items that we have created for you to create your own copy; the Workbook is a resource until you work in it and save it. It will then become an asset which you can continue editing.

Can I work offline?

Not in PebblePad as it is fully online system and requires an active internet connection at all times in order for you to save your work.  However, you can download the PebblePocket app which enables you to upload assets while offline.

I would like to be able to see my Google Drive/Dropbox documents within my PebblePad account - how can I do this?

In your PebblePad account, select ‘Settings’, then ‘External Services’. You can now select the external account you wish to link, and follow the instructions. You will then see these drives in your asset store, under ‘Stores’.

Can I use the PebblePad templates to record activity or meetings?

Yes – you can fill these in for your own personal use and add them into your Masterships portfolio. Once you have filled it in you can upload it into your portfolio as evidence like any other asset.

Can I print my assets in case someone wants a paper copy?

Yes. Any asset can be printed by opening the asset and clicking on 'I want to... Print'. The asset will be turned into a PDF.

I want to tidy up my Asset Store - can I move documents into folders?

There is no filing system in PebblePad, but you can ‘hide’ assets from the main asset store. To do this, click on the asset to select, then click on ‘Organise’ (bottom right of task bar), click on ‘Move’, then ‘Hidden’. Instead of folders, PebblePad uses tags to organise work. The benefit of tags is that you can add multiple tags to any asset or resource.

I am finishing my course at the University shortly - can I take my PebblePad account with me?

Yes. From the main PebblePad screen, select ‘Tools & Resources’, then ‘Free Alumni Account’ and follow the instructions.

Can I complete a workbook on my tablet or phone?

Yes. PebblePad v5 will work on any desktop or mobile device using a web browser.

Are there any size limitations when uploading a file into PebblePad?

There are no size limitations when uploading a file into Pebble+, unless any have been set by your university or organisation. All files are compressed and formatted during the upload process.

Can I share my portfolio with someone other than my reviewer?

Yes. There is no limit to the amount of people that you can share your portfolio with using the ‘I want to share’ option.


PebblePad - security

Can/should I use names and/or identifiable information in my portfolio?

If the evidence data is protectively marked, highly confidential or commercially sensitive then do not upload it into PebblePad. We recommend that in this situation, use non-identifiable descriptions as a reflective summary in the portfolio and make reference to any external supporting material.

If our evidence is marked internal use only, and appreciating we shouldn't upload this to PebblePad, can we submit the evidence in some other way?

If you wish to use any information that is deemed sensitive and shouldn’t be shared in the format it is in shouldn’t be used. Even submitted another way, this information would still be shared with the EPAO. Therefore, any sensitive information should be redacted and non-identifiable information should instead be used. If this can’t be achieved, then you shouldn’t use that information.

How is information security dealt with as we are likely to be uploading some documents with company sensitive information?

PebblePad state that 'PebblePad is a Personal Learning Space, with each person having ownership and control over their account. As we take your privacy and security very seriously, nobody, including an administrator, can see inside another person’s PebblePad account without using the account username and password. In order to maintain your privacy you must keep your login details strictly confidential'. Only Cranfield admins, PebblePad support staff and your nominated employer can see the workbook submitted for assessment.

I assume that any assets uploaded are treated as confidential and will not be shared with any third parties. Will this information be provided in writing if my employer requires it?

Yes – absolutely the only people that have access to your portfolio are your employer and Cranfield. Your modules often contain information about your employer or your organisations, and we do not share these with anyone externally. If you do need this in writing, please contact the Masterships Team and we can provide this for you.

Portfolio evidence

How do I know if my evidence is good enough?

Annex 4 of the Assessment Plan (Senior Leader Apprenticeship Standard) details what the End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) will be looking for the apprentice to demonstrate during the EPA for either a pass, merit or distinction. A copy of the assessment plan can be found either on the Institute for Apprenticeships website or in PebblePad.

Can I use an assignment that I completed as part of my MSc/MBA as evidence in my portfolio?

Assignments may be used where they reflect how you have applied learned KSBs into your workplace.

Are the reflections in addition to the current journaling that I am completing?

Reflections and journal entries are the same thing. We ask you to reflect on your experiences which inform your journal entry.

If I get the evidencing wrong, would I fail the whole MSc or just the apprenticeship part?

The MSc is one element that needs to be achieved to successfully complete the apprenticeship. The apprenticeship is not separate from the MSc, but rather the overall qualification achieved. You are required to have achieved the MSc in order to progress to the EPA.

Where do I keep my own external CPD logs with accrediting bodies (IOSH in my case); can I cut and paste these in?

If what you are intending to use demonstrates your achievement of the KSBs in the apprenticeship standard and relates to a time whilst on the programme, you can use examples that you are inputting in your CPD log.

20% off-the-job activity

What is 20% 'off-the-job activity'?

The 20% off-the-job activity is training that takes place within your contracted working hours and must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship standard. It must help lead towards the achievement of your apprenticeship, teaching new knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) relevant to the apprenticeship standard. A policy document can be found on the UK Government's website that specifies what is and is not classified as off-the-job activity.

What sort of activities can be counted as part of the 20% off-the-job activity?

The policy document referred to above provides full information, however, some examples of what off-the-job activity typically involves are:

  • Time spent on MSc training at Cranfield;
  • Time spent working on apprenticeship portfolio/journal;
  • Research time;
  • Time spent on action learning group projects;
  • 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.

When do I need to complete timesheets from?

Timesheets are used to track an apprentice’s 20% off-the-job activity. Tracking of this should be started at the beginning of the apprenticeship.

How is the 20% figure calculated?

The total figure for off-the-job training hours is calculated from your contracted hours, after deducting annual leave entitlement, over the length of the apprenticeship. A spreadsheet has been provided in PebblePad to calculate this figure.As a general rule of thumb, this would equate to one day per week if you worked a standard five day week. However, you aren't required to undertake the off-the-job training in this format, i.e. one solid day per week. Instead, you could undertake a few hours here and there, as long as it was recorded and over the duration of the apprenticeship, and the total figure covers the amount required.

Can I use activities outside my paid hours towards the 20% off-the-job activity?

No. All off-the-job training must take place during paid hours. The exception to this is if the employer gives time off in lieu (TOIL) for time spent on your apprenticeship when you would not normally be working. An example of this would be where apprentices are required to attend Cranfield on a Saturday.

What happens if I cannot spend 20% of my contracted hours on off-the-job activity?

The 20% off-the-job activity is a compliance requirement for any apprenticeship. Speak to your manager if you believe you are not being allowed sufficient time to achieve this requirement, as your employer signs at the beginning of your apprenticeship to agree that you will be supported to achieve it. As your training provider, you are encouraged to speak to us should you feel that you are not fulfilling the 20% off-the-job activity component for any reason.

English and maths requirements

Why do I need to upload evidence of maths and English if I have already met the entry requirements of the MSc/MBA?

This is not an entry requirement for the MSc/MBA. It is a statutory requirement for the apprenticeship that is stipulated by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) for all apprentices in England on apprenticeships which are level 3 or above. In order to proceed through gateway to the End Point Assessment (EPA), 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. The list of accepted qualifications can be found on the UK Government's website.

Do I still have to provide evidence of an English and maths level 2 qualification if I have A levels/degree/MSc etc?

English and maths are accepted at a higher level, for example a degree or A levels, providing that it has 'English' and/or 'maths' in the title of the qualification, and/or maths is the predominant element of the qualification (for maths). Other higher qualifications which do not meet this requirement will not be accepted, for example MSc Engineering etc.

What is acceptable evidence for English and maths?

Acceptable evidence is a full certificate or e-certificate, a statement of results issued by an awarding organisation, a screenshot of the awarding organisation’s system showing the qualification has been achieved/awarded, or a copy of the personal learner record.

Where do I get my maths and/or English certificates?

Apprentices should contact their school and/or examining body to request a copy of missing certificates. The school should be able to provide information on which examining body they used. Cranfield cannot locate these on your behalf.

How do people with overseas qualifications evidence the English and maths requirements?

If you studied overseas, your qualifications will be acceptable where there is clear evidence, from NARIC (via a certificate/statement of comparability), that the qualification is an equivalent level to the minimum requirements for English and maths and there is additional comparison information that confirms the qualification is an equivalent of GCSE English and/or maths (A* to C). Please visit the NARIC website for further information and to request a certificate/statement of comparability.

Progress and reviews

Do I upload documents completed as part of my reviews as they happen?

Yes, upload documents as the events occur. This will save you masses of work towards the end of your apprenticeship.

What reviews should take place and how frequent should they be?

You should have regular meetings with your line manager or similar within your workplace. This is to ensure that you are being provided with the right opportunities within the workplace to apply your newly learned Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSBs). At various points throughout your apprenticeship, you will have tripartite reviews which are carried out jointly with Cranfield University. These reviews will provide feedback as to academic progress, and how much progress has been achieved within PebblePad. Further information can be found on the Reviews page.

How do I identify a chosen employer reviewer that has the correct skills? Has my place of work provided a commitment to this?

When your employer signs the commitment statement, one aspect they are agreeing to is to support you through your apprenticeship. Reviewers are usually line managers as they, generally, have the understanding of your role and can provide opportunities to help you achieve the KSBs in the apprenticeship standard.

My line manager changes frequently - is this a problem?

Ideally, your reviewer will be someone who has a good understanding of your role and what you want to achieve by undertaking the apprenticeship. You will be expected to have regular reviews with your line manager to report on progress made throughout the duration of your apprenticeship. It may be that you identify someone else who is able to offer you guidance and support, but it will likely be your line manager who can provide learning opportunities and exposure to areas where you can develop KSBs which you may not otherwise have had the opportunity to do so.

Is there any guidance or training available for line managers with regard to how they carry out reviews?

A guide for reviewers is available on PebblePad in the Atlas section. Your reviewer can access this by logging onto PebblePad with their login credentials.

Employer FAQs

An employee wants to apply for a place on a Cranfield Mastership - what are the next steps?

The process for any of our Masterships is for the applicant to hit the ‘apply now’ button on the web page of their chosen course. It is important for the applicant to clearly indicate that they will be utilising apprenticeship levy funds on the application. Usually the school will then interview the applicant, and they may have to sit some admission tests, depending on what qualifications the applicant already holds. Provided they are successful at this stage, a place will then be offered. On accepting the place, a contract and commitment statement will be generated by the Cranfield Legal Team and sent to the employer of the applicant. This is sent to the main point of contact that the student indicates on the application form. This will need to be completed and returned to Cranfield's Legal Team.

One to two weeks before registration, you will receive an email asking you to send a cohort request to Cranfield. Please see FAQ below regarding sending a cohort request to Cranfield for further information. The Masterships Team will only send this back to you for confirmation after registration day. This is to ensure that we only connect to companies who have apprentices that have registered for their programme.

Will we need to sign a contract?

You, as the employer, will need to sign a contract with Cranfield, known as a Mastership Agreement. Cranfield's Legal Team provide this document to the employer point of contact after the apprentice has been offered and accepted their place on the programme. You, Cranfield and the apprentice will also sign a commitment statement, setting out the expectations of each party. Copies of these documents can be found on the Cranfield website.

How do I know if my company pays the apprenticeship levy?

Your HR department should be able to tell you this. Levy paying employers are those who have a wage bill of over £3 million (English percentage).

How do we pay for an apprenticeship if we do not pay the apprenticeship levy?

Non-levy paying companies can pay for apprenticeships by something called co-investment. Applicants from non-levy paying employers may not be accepted as there is a financial limit to how many apprentices from these types of organisations that Cranfield can accept. Please contact Cranfield for further information.

What is PebblePad?

PebblePad is the system used by apprentices for their portfolio. Apprentices can upload their evidence to PebblePad and monitor their own progress against the apprenticeship standard. Reviewers can also monitor the apprentice's progress via PebblePad, as long as they are set up to do so and the apprentice has shared this information with the reviewer. The apprentice can also record their 20% off-the-job activity in PebblePad.

How do I connect to Cranfield on the Digital Apprenticeship Service?

To make use of your levy pot and to pay for apprentice training, you will need to connect to Cranfield University as your provider on the Apprenticeship Service website. Once you have sent your request to us, we will add your apprentices to your cohort. A new cohort request will need to be made for each new intake of apprentices.

Cranfield’s UKPRN: 10007822

To create a cohort request:

Log on to the Apprentice Service website.

1. Select the Apprentice tab at the top of the page, click on Start Now.
2. Select the organisation from the list that pays the apprentice’s salary. You may only have one organisation listed here, click on Continue.
3. Enter Cranfield’s UKPRN number (10007822), click Continue.
4. Select Cranfield University is your training provider, click on Continue.
5. On the Start Adding Apprentices page, select 'I would like my Training Provider to add apprentices'. Click on Continue.
6. You can send us a message to say hi, and that you are ready for us to add successful apprentice applicants. Please include details of those who will be applying as apprentices and add the details of the key contact in your organisation for all your apprentices. This could be someone in HR, L&D, or your Apprenticeship Manager, for example. Click on Send.
7. That’s it, you have now submitted your request to connect to us as a provider. We will do the rest and will be in contact with you shortly to confirm your request.
8. When we add apprentices to your cohort, you will need to confirm them on the Apprenticeship Service site; you will be notified by email to do this. If you have any questions regarding this, or would like to discuss it in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact the Masterships Team.