Digital Skills Apprenticeships
Industry Specialist Trainers

0333 4444 227
hello@commun-it.org.uk

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Apprentice FAQs

  • Can I take a holiday during an apprenticeship?

    Your training is part of your work and is underpinned by your job contract. Therefore, your employer still handles things such as holiday under normal employment law.

    Before committing to an apprenticeship, you must make yourself aware of any specific requirements that cannot be adapted for you e.g. compulsory training sessions that cannot be scheduled again.

    If you have started training, you should inform your trainer as early as possible that you will be away and they can instruct you as to how to make up for lost time.

    Apprenticeships are vocational training therefore any job can continue during an apprenticeship – the key is to put all preparations in place so that scheduling and delivery formats are discussed and agreed up front.

  • How do I choose which Apprenticeship Standard I should pursue?

    Apprenticeship Standards have been designed collaboratively by training providers and employers. They are focused on a set of job roles, all of which require the knowledge, skills and behaviours that the apprenticeship training delivers or prepares you for.

    If you answer yes to the below two questions for any particular apprenticeship standard, then you should consider it:

    • Do I want to do this job and progress in this line of work?
    • Do I want to learn these knowledge, skills and behaviours?
  • How do I progress my career using an apprenticeship?

    The key to career progress has not changed. You must excel first in your job role so that you can move onto adding even more value in your organisation. The apprenticeship format ensures all your achievements and wins are celebrated and recognised, but it is up to you to make them happen. You should always actively seek out what results are expected from you at work and deliver them. You can read more in our guide on how to build a strong work ethic.

    As an apprentice, you receive an increased amount of support with your career aims from Commun-IT, the training provider. You can speak to us about your goals, you can raise concerns, you can ask for assistance and guidance and most importantly, you can learn how to overcome any obstacle in the workplace or in your personal life. A job with no setbacks is a great place to be.

  • How is an apprenticeship examined or tested?

    Apprenticeship Standards may have knowledge exams. In those cases, you receive a certificate per exam and they are normally booked in after your studies for the respective exam are complete.

    The application of your knowledge and skills is primarily recorded by your work output from assignments that your trainer sets, and your tasks in the workplace. There is typically a desired format in which you should present your work, which collectively is called your portfolio. It should contain evidence of you having covered every aspect of your apprenticeship standard.

    It can be difficult to prove your behaviour standards yourself, therefore your trainer and your employer will observe you, write witness statements, references and perhaps other documents to give your Assessor evidence of these things.

    Finally, the Assessor will observe you at work and also interview you.

    In some courses, a synoptic project is required. This is a project that you are given to complete under exam conditions, but it is ‘open book’. You are able to look at your previous work and use the internet. 

    The assessment comes at the end of an apprenticeship and is called an End Point Assessment (EPA). Your employer must decide that you are ready for it before the training provider can enter you. If a portfolio is required, this must also be completed before you are entered or within a limited time frame afterwards (but before your final assessment).

  • How much time can I spend training?

    This is set out in an agreement with your employer. Training can be weekly, monthly, block release or a mixture. You must spend 20% of your time on training activities, some of which is direct contact with your trainer and attendance is required.

    You can read about time management for apprentices here.

  • How much will I be paid?

    The gov.uk website displays the National Minimum Wage for Apprentices as £4.30 per hour as of April 2021, for the first year of employment.

    The apprentice wage makes it possible for employers to still give paid job opportunities to unqualified staff. The employer does however, undertake a commitment to spend their own time and resource (both do cost the employer money) to help you get qualified and pass your course.

    In your own career development, it is important to gain an understanding of your value as an employee. You must learn to record your results (deliverables) and achievements both quantitatively and qualitatively, as they serve a basis for negotiating your pay and the opportunities made available to you.

    If you really are motivated to reach your peak performance, read our article on “Intrapreneurship”.

  • How old do I have to be?

    Apprenticeships are available to anyone aged 16 and above. The purpose of an apprenticeship is training, therefore its suitability is based on training needs, not age.

    People of all ages including 50+ undertake training for their current or new job role. There are particular benefits in the apprenticeship format, which make it one of the most attractive choices for career progression and education. Read more in our comparison of apprenticeships to other types of education and training.

  • What are the main benefits of an apprenticeship?
    • You can work, learn and earn, all at the same time. It does not get better than that when it comes to developing yourself in all areas whilst affording sustenance and a social life.
    • You have two expert sources of knowledge. The workplace gives you the real world hands-on view of what that job is like to do and how to be the best. The training provider makes sure you are equipped to grow your knowledge and skills by yourself by understanding the academic basis for everything you are expected to do. Both places also provide additional support and guidance for your personal and career development. Therefore, an apprenticeship is like a launchpad for your future.
    • An apprenticeship has flexibility. You can arrange the sort of training schedule that helps you do well, by agreeing this up front with your employer. They will represent your preferences when they discuss their own preferences with us. You might before to train just a few hours a day rather than a full day for example, so that you get to work everyday too. Much is possible.
    • You can make a lot of friends and build your professional network so that in future, they can connect you with other opportunities. You should aim to earn everyone’s respect and be seen as a genuine worker and team member – you should not be expecting any special treatment, but rather aim to get a proper and real experience of the job. A real experience is what other academic based courses in university for instance, often cannot give you.
  • What if I already have a job but want an apprenticeship qualification?

    The job role must be valid for the qualification and suggested job roles are listed in our course descriptions for each of our courses.

    You must be in a job to do an apprenticeship, therefore if your current role is eligible for the qualification (job description, contracted hours etc.), you might be able to ask your employer to sign you up as an apprentice in their organisation. This would mean that 20% of your working hours would be dedicated to training and not working on the job. You can request assistance from Commun-IT if you need to have this discussion with your employer.

    For a Commun-IT apprenticeship, your work hours per week should be 31 or higher. If the job is not relevant to the Qualification Standard, you must find a job that is. You can check our vacancies here, and/or have us contact you if a suitable vacancy arises by filling in this form.

    You are not prevented from having another job separate from your apprenticeship job. If you wish to undertake an additional job such that you can pursue an apprenticeship qualification, you can do so. However, if you are not performing your job properly as a apprentice, or you are lacking in your training, both the training provider and the employer have a right to end your apprenticeship.

  • Who will train me?

    For your off-the-job training with your training provider, you will be assigned to a trainer for your course. They will sometimes train you in a group class and sometimes directly. They can also observe you at work and attend meetings with your employer. They will also receive support from other staff at Commun-IT to help you. Specialist modules in your training might be delivered by a different trainer too.

    For your on-the-job training, you can ask your workplace to provide a mentor for you. This does not have to be your manager. A mentor can support and guide you. However, your manager may also perform this duty. Your employer may make other training arrangements for you that are necessary for your role such as First Aid.

Employer FAQs

  • Can I have more than one apprentice?

    For a non-levy organisation, up to 10 members of staff can be trained at the same time using Government funds for apprenticeships. There is no time like the present to prioritise staff training and keeping digital skills relevant and useful to your business, whilst funds are available due to being under-utilised.

    You can read more about the levy and how it works here, but the quickest way to get started with hiring or placing staff on apprenticeships is to fill in this form.

  • Does the employing organisation or line manager have additional work to do?

    Upon programme commencement, a representative from the organisation must be a first point of contact for all apprenticeship matters. This person must ensure the organisation supports the apprentice as required by the Education & Skills Funding Agency, and they should partake in quarterly meetings at the very least, but managers are typically much more proactive.

    It is employer commitment and involvement that leads to the best training experience for the apprentice. It is highly recommended that your organisation appoints a mentor (not necessarily their manager) so that the apprentice can talk more regularly with a work colleague or superior about their development.

  • How do I attract the best candidate to my job vacancy?

    You can either recruit directly yourself, and use our Guidance for Apprentice Recruitment, or hire our Source Apprentice (SApp) managed service.

    Source Apprentice (SApp) Managed Service

    A Commun-IT specialist can help solidify your recruitment strategy to attract high quality talent. We find candidates with a proven willingness to learn at the pace of the job role and training requirements. 

    Once we provide you with a vetted shortlist of candidates, you can invite your selection to an interview. Successful candidates must be given a contract under normal employment law, after which we can onboard them as a learner, and yourself as their employer onto our systems. Read more about recruitment here.

  • How do I ensure high quality work from an apprentice?

    When it comes to guiding an apprentice’s knowledge and skills, we as the training provider ensure they are on track to satisfy their Qualification Standard. In terms of their behavioural development, this starts with your leadership.

    Is your workplace and team set up in a way that the people working in it are led, supported and appraised for continuing development? If you have a concern about what responsibilities there are in managing apprentices: Firstly, you should treat them like a member of staff. Read more here.

    To get off to the best start, you can always read our guide on How to set tasks for apprentices and get the best result. Also consider upskilling and training your current staff, even Executives and Directors, to lead to a stronger and better performing team.

  • How is an apprentice paid?

    Apprentices are a member of staff under normal employment law. They should be paid through payroll and given payslips as usual. Their salary should be the best package that you can offer them.

    You can also utilise the Apprentice Wage of £4.20 per hour for the first year if you require. The Government has made reduced costs an opportunity for businesses to be able to afford unqualified staff who are in Government funded training.

  • How is an apprentice’s time spent?

    Employees working 31 hours or more will have enough time to complete any Commun-IT programme, where 20% of their time is dedicated to guided off-the-job training.

    The schedule of an apprentice’s time is something that you as the employer must define with us, such that we can make sure the apprentice will attend their guided training hours. These run as fixed classes and attendance is a requirement.

    The remaining 80% of the apprentice’s work hours are spent on-the-job i.e. under your direct instruction. You can read more about how to support an apprentice in making the best use of their time here.

  • What are key benefits of apprenticeship training?
    • You can agree a bespoke training package with Commun-IT, therefore the apprentice will always have your business aims in mind and complete the tasks that have been agreed.
    • You can employ apprentices at different levels, from school leavers and university graduates, to people who want to further their careers or try a new job role.
    • You can hire someone new or upskill an existing employee; either way you bring new skills into your organisation in a way that they are applied promptly.
    • As an employer, you can get funding from the government to help pay for apprenticeship training either 95% or 100%.
    • There are also cash incentives for placing staff on apprenticeships.
    • Hiring an apprentice is a productive and effective way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.
  • What are the costs of an apprenticeship?

    It depends on the age of the learner. The government funds either 100% or 95% of training costs. The 5% employer contribution, if applicable, is paid to the training provider.

    There are also government cash incentives if you place new or current staff on apprenticeships. We have a guide on Apprenticeship Training costs here.

  • What have employers said about their apprentices?
    • 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation.
    • 78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity.
    • 74% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service.
  • What is the ideal age for someone to do an apprenticeship?

    Age affects the management of a programme but not its relevance. The apprentice simply needs to be in need of the skills the qualification delivers. Therefore, any employee who will be employed for the full duration of the qualification can undertake an apprenticeship. Apprentices are trained and challenged not only on the knowledge and skills for the job, but the behaviours that make them efficient and good workers.

    Apprenticeships are here to keep staff trained for evolving businesses and changing markets. This is also known as continual professional development (CPD) and is typically required for businesses that require digital skills. Outdated workforce skill levels cause stagnation and poor productivity. Training can not only increase skills but also confidence and motivation.

Get in Touch if you have any Questions

If you have a learner enquiry please be sure to use your learn email account and email learn@commun-it.org.uk. For any other matters, please contact us on the details below.  Thanks

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