Apprenticeships toolkit

For employers

Apprenticeships

Progression

Have a plan for how apprentices can progress after their training.


The right apprenticeship can be a powerful vehicle for social mobility when it is linked to concrete progression opportunities, either with the same employer or in the wider industry.

  • What further development opportunities are available to apprentices?
    Consider offering progressive apprenticeships from Level 2 up to create a continuous learning and leadership pathway tailored to each role. Alternatively, find out if there are courses, leadership training, coaching, volunteering or other personal and professional development opportunities by external providers you could offer your apprentices.
  • What job opportunities are available to apprentices after the training?
    Don’t limit your thinking to only new roles apprentices could move into – sometimes existing positions can be re-designed to suit an apprentice once they have finished their training. Explore all options. If there are none or limited opportunities with the current employer, see if you can establish partnerships with other organisations in the industry that might be interested in hiring an apprentice after they have finished their training.
  • What is your progression policy?
    Articulate clearly what behaviours contribute to progression and provide specific guidelines on good practice. Reduce informal ways of being promoted that favour people from privileged backgrounds – such as personal networks, access to a senior guide or hidden knowledge of opportunities such as temporary promotions. Formalise this in a progression policy and train your managers on how to follow it.
  • How are you modelling a learning culture?
    Make information about training opportunities clear and easy to access for all staff and ensure there is time within work schedules to engage in learning and training. Regularly talk about training opportunities and the importance of learning, including in all-staff forums.
  • How are you enabling learning?
    Actively protect apprentices’ 20% off the job time for studying and emphasise that this is considered working time. Have a budget ring-fenced to provide development opportunities at all levels and allow apprentices time to engage with additional training. Offer additional support for remote learning as it can present a challenge for people used to classroom learning. Equally support those who struggle with studying as part of a big group and may require a different format to do their best work.
  • How are you supporting apprentices in figuring out their next steps?
    Link apprentices up with a careers coach, mentor or alumni early into their training to explore all options available and get ready for the next step. You could use the occupational maps by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education as a starting point.

“I was left feeling very uncertain, not knowing whether I’d be able to afford rent after my apprenticeship because I didn’t know whether I’d have a job afterwards.”
– Apprentice workshop participant

  • How are you supporting apprentices through their end point assessment?
    Make sure all line managers are aware of the end point assessment process, timelines and requirements. The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education’s apprentice panel have produced excellent guidance on how to prepare and support apprentices during this stage.

​“I only told my employer I’m dyslexic one week before the exam because I thought they wouldn’t keep me otherwise. The online exam was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
– Apprentice workshop participant

Do

Make sure you offer training opportunities in a way that works for your staff, particularly people who work on the frontline and might not be spending much time on email or internal portals. Show your staff how further training will help them progress in their career and gain new skills. Monthly meetings with line managers are an ideal place to advertise upcoming training and encourage people to sign up.